Replacing a windowpane yourself might seem like intimidating business, but it’s actually an easy project to accomplish. Plus, it will save you money and time if you don’t call a handyman. Just make sure to follow the tips below, and you’ll soon be switching out windowpanes like a pro.
Never forget that you’re dealing with broken glass. Take the appropriate precautions. Wear heavy gloves, especially when removing the old windowpane. Collect all the broken glass pieces and wrap them in newspaper. Label them “broken glass” and set them near or inside the trash. You can also take the broken glass to the nearest bottle bank and have them recycle it.
If you have trouble removing the glass in your window frame, try blasting it with a heat gun. It’ll soften the material used to install the glass in the first place, making the pane easier to remove. Once all remnants of glass are cleared from the frame, use a wire brush to scrape off any residue. You want a nice clean frame to start with; make sure you’re thorough.
If your window is old, consider applying a little linseed oil to the wood. It’ll condition the wood and make it more willing to bond to the new glazing material. Don’t overdo it; just a bead or two of linseed oil will suffice. Apply the oil with a brush and give it a minute or two to sink in.
Make sure you know exactly how much glass you’ll need. Triple-check your measurements; this is a moment when it pays to be as precise as possible. Try to match the new glass to the old glass in order to maintain continuity across all your windows. You might want to bring a shard of the old window – carefully wrapped, of course – to the hardware store so they can help you choose the best glass.
The new glazing material will need a little love before it’s ready to be manipulated. If you kneed the putty between your palms, it’ll become warm and pliable, making its application much easier. If you find it sticking to your palms, just wet your hands in the kitchen sink. If you’re still having trouble, dab at the putty with a paper towel to remove some of the oil.
Lay out a smooth, thin line of the glazing compound all around the window frame. You can do this with your bare hands; just use your thumb and the knuckle of your forefinger to make a small tube and squeeze the putty through it. Then, using your putty knife, smooth the putty flat in a fluid motion. Be careful when pressing the glass into the window frame. Never push too hard in any one place, and definitely don’t push in the center of the pane. This could result in the glass breaking and causing serious injury.