Repairing broken or cracked glass in a window is a procedure that can strike fear in the hearts of many homeowners. But, replacing glass in a window is a straightforward process and may give you a chance to flex your home improvement skills. While veterans of other home improvement projects may feel confident taking on this task, it’s crucial to remember that the slightest inaccuracy can spell disaster.
An Exercise in Patience
Replacing a glass window requires a decent amount of time and a focus on detail. If the window frame is in good shape, not warped or showing signs of rot, replacing the glass shouldn’t be a complicated undertaking. Removing the window sash from the frame adds time to the project but makes completing the task easier. Using professional replacement glass services with proven expertise in glass design and fabrication helps ensure the job is completed correctly and reduces the chances of adverse outcomes in the future.
Gather Supplies Before Getting Started
This project involves working with glass, so investing in safety goggles and thick work gloves is a must to avoid eye and hand injuries. In addition, you will need a level to ensure the glass and the frame is straight and a measuring tape to determine the exact size of the window. Duct tape helps remove glass shards left in the frame, and a glazing compound and a putty knife are essentials for the job, along with sealant.
Cleaning the Window Frame
Before installing the new glass, the installer must remove the old glass from the window sash. Cover the area with duct tape to contain the smaller pieces of shattered glass before carefully removing any bits of glass still embedded in the opening. After confirming the structure is free of all bits of glass, it’s time to start removing the old sealant and glazing compound with the knife. The grooves holding the new window must be completely smooth and free of all debris. Otherwise, there will be problems sealing the new pane. Removing the wood molding will simplify this step.
With the damaged glass and surrounding molding removed, it’s time to measure the area for the new glass. The replacement glass should be cut one-eighth of an inch shorter in both directions. As a rule of thumb, it’s a best practice to measure the opening in two spots along the height of the space and two places along the length to ensure accuracy.
Replacing the Glass
It’s always a good idea to perform a test fit with the new glass in the frame, alerting you to any problems with the cut before the pane is permanently installed. After the positive test fit, roll a piece of the glazing compound into a rope, placing it inside the frame. The string should be one-half to three-quarters of an inch thick. Repeat this process on all four sides so that the glazing compound acts as a bed to rest against the new glass.
After placing the glass in the frame, check to ensure the glass lays flat against the compound, forming a seal. The next step is duplicating the process on the other side of the glass before carefully smoothing out and removing any excess compound from the glass. Once completely dry, you’ll want to complete any of the cosmetic touches like painting or staining.