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Whether it’s from a stray baseball, an accidental bump, or even a spontaneous break, windows are going to break every now and again. But don’t worry! Unlike most damage to your home, this is a quick and easy fix.
A broken window doesn’t always mean professionals need to get involved. In fact, most single-pane glass windows are easily repairable. All you need are some basic tools and a few hours.
If you’ve got a broken window pane that needs repairs, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the process.
Window Pane vs Entire Window
The window pane is the piece of glass in the window. The window includes the glass pane, the hinges, the handle, and the frame. Most window manufacturers know that the glass is the easiest part of the window to break. So they make it possible to replace that without having to replace the whole window.
The processes for repairs to single-pane and multi-pane windows are very similar. The key difference is that multi-pane windows will have smaller pieces and need more precise repairs.
Temporary DIY Window Pane Repair
Sometimes it’s not possible to make your window repair immediately. Whether you’re going to do it yourself or hire professionals, you might need a temporary fix to keep the window pane together until someone has time to fix it.
If the window pane is broken, but all the pieces are still together, duct tape is your best option. Duct tape along the cracks or breaks and along where the pane connects to the frame. Make sure you do this on both sides.
If the glass is completely broken use cardboard or plastic bags and duct tape the hole shut using the same method. As long as you’re careful around the window and don’t open or close it, this should keep it in one piece until it’s time to repair it.
Long-Term DIY Window Pane Repair
If you’ve got some basic tools and two to four hours, you can attempt to replace the window pane yourself. Most windows have the same system of fitting the glass into the frame, so you can complete the following steps.
Get Ready for the Window Pane Replacement
Don’t start your window pane replacement until you’ve ensured you’ve got all the tools you’ll need. You don’t want to find yourself halfway through the replacement and realizing there’s something else you need.
Make sure you’ve got the following tools and materials before you begin:
- Safety equipment (goggles, gloves, old towels to catch glass shards)
- Putty knife or chisel
- Pliers or a flat-head screwdriver
- Heat gun
- Glazing tool
- Spring clips
- Glazing compound
- Linseed oil
Make sure you measure and get the new glass pane before you remove the broken one. You don’t want to remove the old pane and then find out there’s a delay before you can put the new one in.
Remove the Glass, Clips, or Old Putty, and Glazier’s Points
Make sure you’re wearing safety equipment for this step. Remove the glass piece by piece from the frame. Make sure to clean up any broken glass that lands on the ground.
If you’ve got vinyl windows, use a screwdriver or pliers to remove the spring clips. Wooden frames use putty or a glazing compound, so use a heat gun to make it softer for easier removal, then remove it with a putty knife or chisel.
Remember to be careful when removing the clips or old putty since you can damage the frame if you remove them incorrectly. Next, you remove the glazier’s points, which are the metal triangles in the corners of the frame. Most of the time, you can use these again.
Prepare the Window Frame
This step is vital if you’re replacing a pane in a wooden window. Sand down the wood and paint on some linseed oil. This will help keep the glazing compound pliable, which gives you more time to install the glass.
Using your glazing tool, apply a thin coat of glazing compound to the window frame. You don’t want too much excess compound, but it should be thick enough to cushion the glass once it’s installed.
Install the New Glass
Install the glass into the frame. If it’s a vinyl or metal frame, put the glass in place and reinsert the spring clips.
If it’s a wooden frame, press the glass into the glazing compound. Hold it in place while you insert the glazier’s points back into the corners of the frame. Press new glazing compound into the space between the glass and the frame.
Use the glazing tool to smooth the new glazing compound down. The compound should also cover the glazier’s points. The compound needs time to set, so wait at least a week before painting over it.
When to Call Professionals
If the damage to the window pane has impacted the window frame too, you should call a professional. While replacing a window pane is doable, a window company should be responsible for handling the replacement of a window.
Even if it is only the window pane, if you don’t have time or don’t want to attempt to DIY the repair, that’s okay! This is especially true if the window pane is large or the frame is delicate. In that case, you definitely want someone with experience to take charge of the replacement.
But if you’ve got any doubt, you’re better off hiring a professional window installation company to help you.
Replacing a Glass Window Pane
Part of living in a house with windows is dealing with them when they break. Luckily, replacing glass panes is pretty easy! Since most window frames use the same mechanism to fit the pane into the frame, these steps should work for any window pane replacement.
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