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A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Replace a Window Pane in a Wooden Frame

A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Replace a Window Pane in a Wooden Frame

Updated: 04.18.2024

By Nina Tsoy

Unfortunately, broken window panes are a common occurrence, especially in older homes. They can be caused by a variety of factors, such as hail, wind, or even a stray baseball. While replacing a window pane may seem like a daunting task, it’s a relatively simple DIY project that can be completed in a few hours.

In this blog post, our expert team at Apex Window Werks walks you through the step-by-step process of replacing a broken window pane in a wooden frame. We’ll also provide tips on how to do the job safely and efficiently.

What to Do with Broken Glass Panes in a Wood Frame Window

What to Do with Broken Glass Panes in a Wood Frame Window

Why Replace Just the Glass?

Before diving into the step-by-step process, let’s explore why replacing broken window panes can be a wise decision:

  • Cost-effective: Replacing a single window pane is much more affordable than replacing the entire window sash or frame, especially if the wood is in good condition.
  • Preserving historic charm: For older homes with original wood frame windows, replacing only the glass helps maintain the windows’ historic integrity and character.
  • Eco-friendly: By repairing rather than replacing the entire window, you minimize waste and conserve resources.

When to Consider Full Window Replacement

While replacing broken glass panes is often a practical solution, there are instances where full window replacement may be needed:

  • Severe frame damage: If the window frame or sash is badly damaged, warped, or rotted, replacing the entire window may make more sense.
  • Energy efficiency issues: If your windows are drafty, single-pane, or poorly insulated, upgrading to modern, energy-efficient replacement windows can significantly improve your home’s comfort and energy savings.
  • Aesthetics and functionality: If your windows are outdated, no longer match your home’s style, or have operational problems beyond simple glass replacement, it may be worth considering investing in new windows.

Window Pane Replacement in a Wooden Frame: Detailed Tutorial

Window Pane Replacement in a Wooden Frame: Detailed Tutorial

Broken glass is a safety risk. Learn how to replace window glass in a wooden frame safely and effectively with this step-by-step guide.

Tools and Materials Needed

Before starting, make sure you have the necessary safety gear:

  • Safety glasses to protect your eyes from broken glass shards.
  • Protective gloves to shield your hands from cuts.

For the window glass replacement project, you’ll need:

  • Putty knife or wood chisel
  • Hammer
  • Pliers
  • Heat gun (optional)
  • Glazing compound
  • Glazier’s points (also called glazing points or triangles)
  • Linseed oil
  • Newspaper or drop cloth
  • Replacement glass cut to size
  • Primer and paint (if necessary)
  • Replacement window pane (cut to the exact size of the opening)
  • Caulk gun
  • Silicone caulk
  • Latex glazing putty (optional)

If you’re uncomfortable using a heat gun, you can use a hair dryer instead. However, a heat gun will simplify the process.

Step 1: Removing the Broken Glass

Step 1: Removing the Broken Glass

The first step is to remove the broken glass from the wood window frame.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Carefully remove any large pieces of glass by hand. Be sure to wear your safety glasses and gloves to protect yourself from cuts.
  • Once the large pieces of glass have been removed, use a putty knife to carefully scrape away any remaining shards of glass and old putty.

Be careful not to scratch the wood frame of the window.

Step 2: Removing the Old Glazing Compound

Once the old glass has been removed, you’ll need to remove the old glazing compound. The glazing compound is the putty-like material that holds the glass in place.

There are two ways to remove the old glazing compound:

  • Heat method: If the glazing compound is hard and brittle, you can use a heat gun to soften it up. Once the glazing compound is soft, you can use a putty knife to scrape it away.
  • Chemical method: If the glazing compound is soft and pliable, you can use a chemical stripper to remove it. Chemical strippers can be found at most home improvement stores. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when using a chemical stripper.

Be sure to remove all of the old glazing compounds from the window frame. Otherwise, the new window pane won’t sit flush in the opening.

Step 3: Preparing the Window Frame

Step 3: Preparing the Window Frame

Once the old glazing compound has been removed, you’ll need to clean and prepare the window frame for the new glass.

  • Use a damp cloth to clean the wood window frame. Be sure to remove any dirt, debris, or old paint.
  • If the window frame is damaged, you may need to repair it before installing the new glass. Apex Window Werks offers wood window repair services, so if you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, you can always give us a call.

Step 4: Installing the New Window Pane

Now that the window frame is clean and prepared, you can install the new window pane.

  • Apply a bead of silicone caulk to the rabbet groove (the groove in the window frame that the glass sits in).
  • Carefully insert the new window glass pane into the opening.
  • Once the window pane is in place, use the glazier’s points to secure it. Glazier’s points are small, triangular pieces of metal that are used to hold the glass in place. To install the glazier’s points, simply tap them into the rabbet groove with a hammer. Space the glazier’s points evenly around the perimeter of the window pane.

Apex Window Werks sells high-quality glazier points, so be sure to pick some up when you’re getting your replacement window pane. You can also get in touch with our professionals and they’ll provide you with exceptional windowpane installation.

Step 5: Applying New Glazing Compound (Optional)

Step 5: Applying New Glazing Compound (Optional)

Once the window pane is secure, you can apply a new layer of glazing compound. Glazing compound will help to seal the window and prevent moisture from entering.

There are two types of glazing compounds:

  • Latex glazing putty: Latex glazing putty is a water-based putty that’s easy to work with.
  • Oil-based glazing compound: Oil-based glazing compound is a traditional putty that’s more durable than latex glazing putty. However, it’s also more difficult to work with.

If you decide to apply a glazing compound, here’s how to do it:

  • Use a putty knife to apply a bead of glazing compound to the rabbet groove.
  • Smooth the glazing compound with a putty knife. Try to create a nice, even seal.
  • Allow the glazing compound to dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Important Things to Note

Here’s a quick list of important things to remember to achieve a top-notch, well-sealed window pane replacement:

  • Measure twice, cut once! Ensure a snug fit with accurate measurements of the window opening.
  • Handling old windows: Glass in older windows can be more fragile. Handle with care.
  • Don’t have the tools or confidence? Experienced technicians can handle the job for you!

When to Call a Professional

While many homeowners can replace a broken window pane in a wooden frame with patience and the right tools, there are situations where calling a professional is the best choice:

  • Limited DIY experience: Safety and a proper fix are important!
  • Unique windows: Stained glass, etc., are best left to experts.
  • Time is of the essence: Pros ensure quick, efficient repairs.

Preventing Future Glass Breakage

Preventing Future Glass Breakage

While accidents happen, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk of broken window panes in the future:

  • Install window guards: If you have young children or pets, consider installing window guards or safety films to prevent accidental falls and glass breakage.
  • Avoid slamming windows: Encourage gentle handling of windows to prevent excessive force that can crack or break the glass.
  • Address structural issues: If your windows are prone to sticking, warping, or other operational issues, address these problems promptly to reduce strain on the glass.
  • Maintain your windows: Regular maintenance, such as painting, caulking, and repairs, can help extend the life of your windows and prevent breakage.

Final Thoughts: Empowering Your Window Pane Solutions

Replacing a broken window pane is a simple DIY project that can save you money. Follow the instructions carefully, and you’ll have a new window pane installed quickly. Not only will you solve the immediate problem, but you’ll also prevent drafts and potential moisture damage that can lead to bigger issues in the future.

At Apex Window Werks, we specialize in restoring and repairing historic wood windows, offering expert glass replacement services. We have over 15 years of experience and we’ve completed nearly 15,000 jobs! If you have any questions or encounter issues, don’t hesitate to reach out to our professional team. We’re here to help!

Nina Tsoy

Nina Tsoy

With over 15 years of experience in the window repair, replacement, and manufacturing business, Nina is in charge for strategic solutions and exceptional operational performance at Apex Window Werks. This allows her to offer innovative techniques and solutions to address any window-related problem, all while adhering to industry standards and best practices.

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