Glass Replacement DIY Guide

Glass Replacement Guide for Homeowners

Glass replacement in a home is a common need, whether it’s due to a broken window, upgrading for energy efficiency, or simply a desire for a new look. Here’s a step-by-step guide for homeowners on how to replace glass:

1. Safety First:

Always wear gloves and protective eyewear when working with glass to prevent injury. Ensure the area around the broken glass is cleared of any people or pets.

2. Measure the Window:

  • Width: Measure the width of the window opening from left to right inside the frame. Take three measurements: top, middle, and bottom. Use the smallest measurement.
  • Height: Measure the height from the top of the sill to the top of the window opening. Again, take three measurements: left, centre, and right. Use the smallest measurement.
  • If it’s a timber frame you’re safe measuring tight size and then minus 6mm. I like to minus less than 6mm more often than not but 6mm will almost always be fine for beginners.

3. Choose the Right Glass:

Depending on the purpose, choose the appropriate type of glass:

  • Single vs. Double Pane: Double pane windows are more energy-efficient.
  • Tempered vs. Non-Tempered: Tempered glass is stronger and, when broken, shatters into small granular pieces.
  • Tinted or Low-E: These types of glass provide additional energy efficiency and UV protection.

4. Remove the Broken Glass:

  • Lay a drop cloth or old sheet below the window to catch broken shards.
  • If the window is cracked but not shattered, place masking tape over the glass in a crisscross pattern. This helps keep the glass together as you remove it.
  • Carefully remove the broken pieces starting from the top.
  • For windows with putty or glazing compound, use a putty knife or chisel to remove it. For windows with wooden stops, gently pry them off with a chisel or screwdriver.

5. Clean the Frame:

Remove any old putty, glazing points, and any other debris from the frame. Sand lightly if necessary to smooth the surface.

6. Install the New Glass:

  • If using glazing putty, roll it into thin ropes and press it into the window frame where the glass will sit.
  • Carefully place the new glass pane into the frame.
  • Push new glazing points into the frame around the glass every 6 inches using a putty knife.
  • If the window had wooden stops, nail them back into place now.

7. Seal the Glass:

  • Roll more glazing putty into ropes and press them onto the glass edge where it meets the window frame.
  • Use a putty knife to smooth the putty, forming a seal around the glass. Ensure there are no gaps or bubbles.

8. Paint (Optional):

After the putty has dried (typically 7-14 days), you can paint it to match the rest of the window frame.

9. Cleanup:

Safely dispose of broken glass by wrapping it in newspaper or cloth and placing it in a rigid cardboard box. Seal the box and label it as “broken glass.”

10. Maintenance:

Regularly inspect your windows for any signs of wear or damage. Proper maintenance can prolong the lifespan of your windows.

Note: If you’re not confident in your ability to replace the glass safely, or if the window is in a hard-to-reach location, consider hiring a professional. They’ll have the necessary tools and expertise to complete the job safely and efficiently. For further help on hiring a glazier here’s a resource I did on my other website


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