How to Replace a Broken Window Pane

Learn how to fix a broken window once and you have it in your arsenal of life skills forever. Read what's involved and the step-by-step directions to make this repair and what tools and material you need to do it yourself.

By Gene and Katie Hamilton

Tools Required

  • Heavy-duty leather gloves
  • Ladder
  • Putty knife
  • Safety glasses
  • Small paint brush
  • Wood chisel

Materials Required

  • Canvas drop cloth
  • Bucket and newspaper
  • Exterior primer
  • Glazing (glazier) points
  • Window glass
  • Window putty
  • Step 1 : Remove broken glass

    Protect the area around the window with a canvas drop cloth. Wear heavy-duty leather work gloves and safety glasses and carefully remove as much of the broken glass as possible. Drop the glass pieces into a bucket, then dispose of them by wrapping them in newspaper. Tape the newspaper shut and put it in the trash.

  • Step 2 : Clean out the rabbet and measure for replacement glass

    The hardest part of this repair is cleaning out the rabbet (the 90-degree notch) in the window frame that the glass sits in. You'll find glass fragments and glazing points--the small triangular steel wedges that hold the pane of glass in place--embedded in the putty. Use a wood chisel, old screwdriver or putty knife to remove the hardened putty and glazing points. In some cases, you may find it easier to soften the putty with a heat gun -- but be careful. Too much heat may damage the paint and create more repair work. Measure the height and width of the opening and then subtract 1/8 inch from these measurements. Order glass cut to fit at a glass or hardware store.

  • Step 3 : Prime the rabbet

    Apply an exterior-grade primer to the rabbet when it's cleaned out. The primer seals the wood and prevents the putty from drying out.

  • Step 4 : Install the new glass pane

    Press the glass pane into the opening. Hold it in place with a temporary glob of window putty. It will be removed after the glazing points are installed.

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