Previously, we had already discussed about how to effectively replace the window sash cords. Now we have decided to go through the arguably easier process of replacing the window glass itself. But before we delve into the DIY process, we should make it clear – this tutorial is only for conventionally glazed-in, single pane windows. If you need to change double or triple pane windows, it is always a better option to call the professionals.
In any case, replacing a single pane window glass in a DIY manner is a cheap procedure. However, in a true Home Harmonizing tradition, we will briefly mention some pertinent points that one should go through before starting out with the project –
1) The project primarily deals with the replacement of glass panels (also known as glazing). Hence caution would be advised in dealing with the glass components (especially the broken ones). So, it goes without saying, you should always wear eye protection and goggles. And, also don’t rush to finish off things. Even a single moment of forcing your way can completely break your newer glass replacement.
2) Make sure on the type of glass replacement you want. Some local bye-laws and codes requires one to opt for tempered glass, for better protection against natural storms. On the other hand, plastic makes for a better alternative than regular glass due to its resistance to shattering. In any case, go to your local hardware store to have the glass piece cut into the exact dimensions you want.
3) A glazing compound is the pliable substance (generally putty) that is applied between the glass and the lower window sash for sealing against water. This substance always works better with a slight heat.
Finally, we come to the step-by-step process of replacing the window glass. The materials and tools needed for the endeavor are – new glass (or plastic), glazing compound, sandpaper, paint, primer, scraper, putty knife, pliers, chisel and paint brush.
Step 1 –
The very first step entails – removing the old glazing compound around the glass, between the window frame. You can use a putty knife or chisel or even a jackknife to chip off this sealed layer of putty. Be thorough with your process, so as to remove every trace of the old putty. However, don’t try to rush things and remove too much putty at one stroke. This may cause splits on the wooden sash.
This should also reveal the old glazing points (small metal triangles for holding the glass) that you can pull out with pliers. On effective removal of both these components, you should take your time to safely pluck out the broken glasses (with gloves).
Tip – Sometimes the putty can harden over a small space, which makes its removal difficult to achieve by just knives. In such cases, you can opt for a soldering tool (or heat gun) to slightly warm the layer. However, do take care not to use too much heat that can burn the window sash.
Step 2 –
Keep your chisel around, and try to smooth out any remaining obtrusive spots on the inner edge of the wooden sash. Do this gently, so as not to put a dent in the smooth wooden surface. Additionally you can also use sanding paper to further even out the surface.
Step 3 –
Then proceed onto apply a coat of primer or sealer on this bare wood section. Allow this coat to dry.
Alternatively, you can also use linseed oil for saturating the wood. This allows the new putty to remain pliable, thus making it more durable. But do check for the putty manufacturer’s recommendation on the container.
Step 4 –
Now take out a lump of the new glazing compound (putty) from its container, and roll and stretch it into a thin rope-like shape. Apply this ‘rope’ along the L-shaped channel of the wooden sash. Then use your putty knife to dab this putty layer into a uniform thickness of around 1/16-inch. This is done so as to cushion the new glass piece that is to be placed inside the sash.
Step 5 –
Carefully place the glass piece into the position, and gently press its edges against the previously laid out layer of putty.
Then place the new glazing points on the glass surface. You can try out a simple technique that doesn’t apply direct pressure on the glass. For this method, take a putty knife and tap on the glazing points to press them against the horizontal surface of the inner sash. This effectively holds the glass piece, while also avoiding any localized pressure points.
Tip – For smaller windows, you can opt for two glazing points on either side. And, for larger windows, you can place glazing points at every 8 to 10-inches distance.
Step 6 –
Repeat Step 4, this time over the edges of the ‘fixed’ glass piece. Consequently, the putty layer will cover the edges of the sash and the glass, and also conceal the glazing points. Uniformly smooth out the border of this putty layer with a knife from sash corner to corner.
Finally, it is time add the finishing touches to your DIY process. You can opt for a sash brush, and gently apply paint (as a thin layer) along the edges of the glass. This thin bead of paint should be having a thickness of around 1/16-inch. As for functionality, the paint layer further improves upon the sealing power of the previously applied putty. However, do give time for the entire setup to dry.