Q: One of the glass panes in my door is broken. Is it possible to fix that one pane, or do I have to buy a new door?

— Mary, Marion, Ohio

A: Tom Silva replies: These panes of glass in a door are called lights, and it's usually possible to repair just one. If the lights are held in with glazing compound, start by scraping the glazing compound out around the pane that's missing or broken. (If it's not broken and you want to replace it for some other reason, then you will have to break it.) It goes without saying that you should be very careful and wear gloves when taking the glass out.

After breaking the glazing free, all you have to do is scrape the edges with a narrow paint scraper or utility knife — whatever it takes to get the glazing compound out. I don't think there's any one special tool for it that works much better than another. Scrape it out really clean.

If it's an exterior door you'll want to prime the raw wood before you insert a new piece of glass. Cut the pane of glass roughly 1/8 inch less than the opening. You then apply a new bed of glazing compound, very thinly, and push the glass into the new glazing compound. Use glass points to hold the glass in place. These are little triangles that you push into the wood to steady the glass. You should be able to get them at your local hardware store. Finally, apply glazing compound around the edges of the glass, covering the points.
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