Installing A Window

Step by step instructions for replacing a broken window pane safely.

Billy next door hit a home run, the wind knocked a tree branch into the window, or while washing the window you applied a little too much pressure. Whatever the cause the window is broken. That broken window does not have to cost you an arm and a leg to repair; you can do it yourself. The job, while not difficult, does require patience and time.

A few basic tools and supplies will help you do the job accurately and with the least amount of frustration. You will need a pane of glass to replace the broken one, window putty, a screwdriver or chisel, rags, heavy gloves, a trash can, glazier points, a hammer, a utility or putty knife, and a pair of pliers.

Remove the old glass and putty carefully working from the top down. Use the pliers to grip and pull the broken glass from the frame. Avoid cuts by wearing heavy gloves, and a long sleeved shirt. The groove in the frame, where the glass sits (called a rabbet) needs to be cleaned out also. Use the screwdriver to pry out the old putty, taking care not to damage the frame.

Clean the frame thoroughly, making sure that all dust, dirt, old putty and broken glass is removed. Now measure the size of the piece of glass you will need. It is a good idea to measure twice, so that you are sure what size glass you need. When getting your glass cut, reduce all your measurements by 1/16th of an inch, to allow for expansion during hot weather. When moving the new glass, have someone help you and watch out for wind gusts.

Now that you have the old glass out, and the frame cleaned, brush the rabbet with linseed oil, this will make it a little easier to slip the glass in, and will also prevent wooden frames from absorbing too much moisture from the putty.

Make thin rope from the putty, and press it against the shorter edge of the rabbet. If you have difficulty handling the putty because of moisture, then you might want to use a paper towel to blot some extra moisture from the putty. Place the putty all around the edge. Don't worry about excess, you will be trimming it later.

Carefully put the new glass in place; slide the bottom in first and then work your way up the sides and across the top. Make sure you apply pressure only to the edge of the glass. You don't want to crack the new glass before you have it installed.

Use the points to hold the glass in place; they should be about 6 to 8 inches apart all around the frame. You can usually press them in place with the tip of the screwdriver, or your fingers. Be careful not to slip and break the glass.

Now apply more putty on the edge of the glass; you are trying to seal any cracks and prevent the glass from falling out. Aim for a 45-degree angle, and a smooth surface. Wet the edge of your putty knife to help smooth, and prevent the drag of the knife from pulling up the putty.

Trim any excess putty using the knife. If needed, you can clean any excess putty off the window with paint remover. Use caution when doing this to avoid damaging the putty. Wait a week or 10 days before painting the putty. This will allow excess moisture to evaporate, and allow the paint to stick better. When you paint the putty, you want to overlap onto the glass a little to help create a good seal.

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