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Replacing a Broken Window Pane

Last modified: 2020-08-07 | Approximate reading time 3 mins

Unfortunately, glass is fragile and at any moment, any one of your window panes could crack or even shatter, leaving that room exposed to the outside air. Damage can come from debris kicked up by the wind or simply from a stray rock, either making a hole in the glass or leaving cracks. Regardless of the damage, repairing it as quickly as possible is the best way to go.

When replacing a broken window pane, it is important to remember that this can be a painstaking job requiring both patience and attention to detail. At the core of this reparation is making sure that it is seamless and that you shouldn’t be able to tell the pane was ever replaced.

Tools for replacing a window pane

Before proceeding with the replacement of your window pane, it is essential to gather all the elements which you will need to carry out this task. This will save you extra stress, in addition to all the work you have to do.

You will need:

  • Plasterer's knife;
  • Heat gun (hot air);
  • Linseed oil;
  • Putty;
  • Glazier's hammer;
  • Glazier's spikes;
  • Replacement glass ready to use.
  • For your safety, it is strongly recommended that you wear the appropriate equipment for this type of work (gloves, mask and safety goggles).


Photo: Pixabay

Steps to take to change a glass pane

Step 1: prepare the work area

The first step is to prepare your work area. Most of the time, you can replace the glass pane while still in the frame. However, some may find it easier to work with the frame laid down on a table. Wearing protective gear, gloves, mask and goggles, first remove any shards of glass from the frame. Now, using the heat gun, you can proceed to soften the putty, making it easier to remove any glazing points that were there to keep the glass pane in place.

Step 2: remove the glass

Remove your window from the wall and place it on a flat surface (preferably a table to be comfortable). Check that the window is stable, then remove any glass chips. Using the heat gun, start softening the old sealant used to hold the glass in place and then remove it with a plasterer knife. Remove the broken glass and carefully clean your wooden frame with a damp cloth.

Step 3: apply the sealant

Apply a coat of linseed oil to the frame to make sure that the sealant adheres more easily. Roll the putty so that it softens into a thin rope. Place it in the rabbet of the wooden frame by flattening it slightly so that the material adheres better to the surface. This work can be done with a putty gun.

Step 4: place the new window

Take the new glass carefully and place the edges on the sealant, making sure to centre it. Once done, press the edges of the frame so that it adheres as much as possible. Be careful not to press too hard or put pressure on the centre of the frame as it may break.

Step 5: securing the glass

Once the glass is settled in the frame, it is recommended to place glazing points around the glass for better fixation. The recommended distance between each point is 15 cm (6 inches). Use a glazier's hammer to plant them in the rabbet so that they pierce the sealant.

Step 6: finalizing the work

Before finishing work, apply a seal around the glass. To do this, roll some putty into a rope so that it is about ¾ inch thick. It is best to keep a uniform size all along the rope. With your thumb, press the putty using linseed oil from time to time for better smoothness. Your new window is finally ready. You can put it back in place and enjoy a glazing like new!

The benefits of replacing your windows

There are many benefits to replacing an old window. First of all, your room will gain in brightness thanks to a new glazing, making it much more comfortable.

It is also important to note the benefits in terms of insulation. By replacing your window, you reduce thermal bridges. As a result, your energy bills will be less expensive because your rooms will be more airtight, which will reduce contact with cold and humidity.

Financial help

If you plan on repairing several windows, it would surely be better to call a professional to make sure that everything runs smoothly. Also note that several funding programs have been put in place for renovations, offering incentives to replace windows. You could take advantage of these programs when working with certified professionals. Be sure to investigate which programs are currently in effect in your area.

Author: David Ben-Zaken

Updated by Sara Belaid

Get 3 renovation quotes for your window repair project can help you get quotes for your window replacement project. If you submit your project to us, we’ll put you in contact with top-rated contractors. Fill in the form on the homepage (it only takes a few minutes), and you will get estimates from trusted professionals.

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