Do It Yourself: How To Fix Scratches In Your Home Windows

Repairing scratched glass can be as simple as applying toothpaste and a little elbow grease. The question is whether you should fix or replace.

Repairing scratched glass can be as simple as applying toothpaste and a little elbow grease. The question is whether you should repair or replace. Not only can repairs create a rainbow effect on glass, scratches weaken a window, leaving it vulnerable to shattering with just a little pressure in the right place.

As frustrating as it is, if you can catch a window scratch with your fingernail, it's likely too deep to repair without consequences. Buffing kits may leave concave bubbles that splinter the light as it shines through the glass. Depending on where the window is, this might not be a problem for you. Smack dab in the center of your front bay window usually requires a replacement.

LIGHT SCRATCH WORK

For a scratch you can see in the sun, but can run a fingernail over, toothpaste is really your best bet. Paste or cream works much better than gel. Clean the glass thoroughly. It's best to dry the area with a lint-free cloth. Smear a decent amount of toothpaste along the length of the mark, and wipe off the excess.

If you use a razor blade to scrape off the extra toothpaste, do yourself (and your window) a favor. Move only in one direction. "Sawing" back and forth across the glass can cause irreparable damage!

Once dry, take a soft cloth and buff your window clean. The scratch will disappear right along with the toothpaste.

Sometimes you'll have a scratch that's barely noticeable, but still bothersome. Don't worry about getting out the paste just yet. First, try buffing the window with a little furniture polish. Just be careful to avoid jagged materials - like newspaper - during cleaning. Your best bet is always a soft, dry cloth.



MODERATE SCRATCHES

Most window cleaning pros will tell you NOT to repair scratches like this on your own. If you run your finger over the mark and your fingernail falls into the groove, the window is too damaged to repair.

Still, for those die-hard do-it-yourselfers, you may have a possible solution. A second paste treatment, consisting of equal parts dry mustard and vinegar, may cure slightly deeper scratches. Apply as you would the toothpaste, and buff with a clean cloth. If your scratch is still noticeable after buffing it's time to take things to the next step - professional scratch removal systems.

PRO SYSTEMS

Several kits are sold on and offline to remove scratches from windows. Kits for automotive glass repair usually have everything you need to make them work. Unfortunately, they can be quite expensive, and without the professional know-how, you may not be able to use them to your advantage.

Look for systems that avoid abrasive components. Cerium oxide and the like only scratch the scratch out. The end effect is a less stable window. Homeowners - and their insurance providers - agree it's better to replace glass from the get-go than to wait until there's been an injury.

PREVENTING SCRATCHES

Hands-down, the easiest way to take care of a scratch is to keep it from showing up in the first place. Not everything is avoidable, but some of the most common causes of window scratching can be found here:

* Elements of construction - mortar, caulking, and stucco - stick to new window surfaces and create scratches when they're cleaned off. Several new products on the market protect the glass surface. Either sprayed or painted on, or applied at the factory, these films can be peeled off after construction and clean up is through.

* Newspaper, rough towels, and vigorous scrubbing can scratch a glass's surface. Not surprisingly, so can diamond rings. Clean windows with a soft, clean cloth. If lint or streaking is a concern, use lint-free towels and avoid wiping them down when the sun in shining on them.

* It's easy for dirt and debris to scratch a window during regular cleanings, too. When possible, rinse or hose glass off before wiping it down.

Windows create the model for which people judge your home. Spotty, cloudy, dirty or scratched glass gives off the wrong impression. Improve your sense of solitude and class by repairing or replacing damaged glass.

© High Speed Ventures 2011