Tom Silva replacing glazing on an old window
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Expert Techniques for Reglazing a Window

Tom Silva shows how easy it is to fix a single-glazed wood sash

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Crack! An errant baseball, a hurled stone, or a falling branch is all it takes to end the life of a windowpane. And for most modern, double-glazed windows, that means a trip to the local glass shop for repairs.

But for old-fashioned, single-glazed wood sash, you can easily replace the pane yourself. It's one of the rare homeowner projects that doesn't require some practice to tool the putty," says Tom Silva, This Old House general contractor. "You want to end up with neat, crisp creases in the corners and straight runs in between."

This reglazing technique also comes in handy when the old putty itself cracks or falls out but the glass remains intact. (In that case, Tom removes all the old putty; it's too far gone to patch.) Whatever the glazing project, he recommends taking out the window sash and laying it flat on a workbench, if possible. "Trying to reglaze a sash that's still in it's opening takes longer, and it's far more difficult to do a good job."

Getting Started:

Tools
1 ½-inch putty knife: For tooling putty; should be flexible and clean.
5-in-1 painter's tool: For scraping out old putty.
Heat gun: For softening old putty.
1-inch paintbrush: For priming sash.

Materials
Glass: For pane dimensions, measure the opening from top to bottom and side to side, then subtract 1/8 inch from each measurement.
Aluminum foil: Protects undamaged glass from heat.
Glazier's points: Hold glass against sash. Tom uses push-type points with shoulders.
Glazing putty: Seals the edge of the glass against the weather. Tom uses an oil-based product in a can.
Exterior primer: Seals wood against moisture; extends putty life.

See photos (left) for steps.

Crack! An errant baseball, a hurled stone, or a falling branch is all it takes to end the life of a windowpane. And for most modern, double-glazed windows, that means a trip to the local glass shop for repairs.

But for old-fashioned, single-glazed wood sash, you can easily replace the pane yourself. It's one of the rare homeowner projects that doesn't require some practice to tool the putty," says Tom Silva, This Old House general contractor. "You want to end up with neat, crisp creases in the corners and straight runs in between."

This reglazing technique also comes in handy when the old putty itself cracks or falls out but the glass remains intact. (In that case, Tom removes all the old putty; it's too far gone to patch.) Whatever the glazing project, he recommends taking out the window sash and laying it flat on a workbench, if possible. "Trying to reglaze a sash that's still in it's opening takes longer, and it's far more difficult to do a good job."

Getting Started:

Tools
1 ½-inch putty knife: For tooling putty; should be flexible and clean.
5-in-1 painter's tool: For scraping out old putty.
Heat gun: For softening old putty.
1-inch paintbrush: For priming sash.

Materials
Glass: For pane dimensions, measure the opening from top to bottom and side to side, then subtract 1/8 inch from each measurement.
Aluminum foil: Protects undamaged glass from heat.
Glazier's points: Hold glass against sash. Tom uses push-type points with shoulders.
Glazing putty: Seals the edge of the glass against the weather. Tom uses an oil-based product in a can.
Exterior primer: Seals wood against moisture; extends putty life.

See photos (left) for steps.

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Where to Find It

 

Where to Find It

Removing the Glass
Photo by Kindra Clineff
Don gloves and safety glasses and cover the broken pane with a rag. Tap the center of the rag-covered pane with a hammer to loosen the shards.
With gloved hands, wiggle free any pieces that remain embedded in the putty.
If the sash is still in the window opening, or the pane has a crack or two but is otherwise intact, it's best to remove the putty first, then the glass.

Glazing compounds:
Dap33
DAP Inc.
Dayton, OH
888-327-8477
www.dap.com

Sterling glazing compounds and putties:
Sterling-Clark-Lurton Corp.
Malden, MA
800-225-4444
www.sclsterling.com

Caulkable compounds:Glaze-Ease 601
Advanced Repair Technology
607-264-9040
www.advancedrepair.com

Dap Latex Window Glazing:
Dap, Inc. (see above)

GE Special Projects Window Glazing:
GE Sealants and Adhesives
Huntsville, NC
866-875-4372
www.askgesa.com
 

 
 

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