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How To Fix A Broken Window

by The Handyguys

in Audio Podcasts


The Handyguys discuss fixing windows, answering a question from a listener regarding the repair of glass on a modern vinyl window. But before dealing with that issue, the Handyguys discuss covering the glass with window films.

There are two major window film products. Many of you have probably seen the product that covers the entire window unit to block air leaks during the cold winter months. You put up the plastic sheeting with double-sided tape and heat it up with a hair dryer to pull it taut. These work fairly well for older leaky windows. Another product is the Gila window film that is applied to block UV rays and to provide interesting decorative looks for your windows. The Handyguys understand how the Gila film could aid a home in the heat of the southwest, but does this product really pay off in the north? Let us know what you think.

Bob from Tacoma, WA, asks the Handyguys how to repair a modern vinyl window that has been broken from an unknown projectile.Fixing a new vinyl window is a lot different than replacing the old wood windows we grew up with. You can’t just go down to the hardware store and get a new piece of glass. The new windows typically use a double (or triple) glass window unit with faux dividers that snap in between the glass or on the surface. Some older vinyl windows are not repairable when broken. Your only option is to completely replace the sash. Fortunately, with most newer windows, the glass is removable by removing the stops. The pictures below document this process. Listen to the podcast for more details.

Modern Vinyl Window Repair

Remove sash

Remove Sash Removing the sash part 2

Remove the stops

Removing the Stops continued Stops coming offRemoving the Stops continuedRemoving the Stops continued

Replace the glass

(Handyguy Paul is showing us on a window he already fixed, so no pictures of this part.)

Reinstall the stops

Replacing the stops

Wood Frame Window Repair

As far as fixing glass on a older windows, Brian gives us a lesson in glazing windows:

Gather your tools — a 5 in 1 tool, utility knife, scraper, heat (maybe).

Getting Ready

Remove old glazing

You may need to apply heat to get it out. A 5-in-1 tool is also helpful.

Remove old glazing

Remove glazing points with utility knife or needle nose pliers.

Remove old glazing points

Remove glass; scrape and remove glazing that glass was set in.

Frame clean and ready

Prime any bare wood with oil based primer or boiled linseed oil.

Prime the frame

Get new glass from hardware store, measured to size. You want glass to be about 1/8″ smaller than the opening to allow for expansion.

Now do everything in reverse.

Put a thin bed of glazing compound on sash to set glass onto. Brian always uses Dap 33. You must knead it to warm it up. Get your hands into it.

knead the puttyPut some putty on the frame where the glass will sit

Put glazing points around glass.

For smaller panes, you only need about one or two points on each side.

Insert glazing points


Reach into the can of Dap 33 and pull out about a golfball-sized wad of glazing; roll it into a ball and knead it around a little so that it is more workable. Then roll it in your hands to form a long snake.

Knead and roll out a worm of putty

Run the glazing around the edges of the of the glass.

Press putty into frame

Draw off excess.

Use a 1-inch stiff putty knife to draw off excess putty and make a smooth bead of putty around edges of the window mutton and the pane of glass. This takes a little practice.

Draw putty smooth with knifeRemove excess puttyCorners are hardestDone

And Brian has another story about a funny incident at the hardware store… fortunately there is no blood in this story.

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