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Hey, you're in the home improvement zone--YOUR HANDYMAN ZONE!

Windows and Components Category

Improvement Project:

How to replace a broken window pane of a wooden window.

Tools / Materials (See Below for Applicability):

  • Replacement glass

  • Hammer

  • Putty knife/joint knife

  • Caulking gun

  • Glazing compound (in a can or caulking tube)

  • Glazier's points

  • Pliers (needle-nose pliers preferably)

  • Paint primer

  • Exterior paint (match existing paint)

  • 2 Paintbrushes

  • Tape measure

  • Pencil

  • Paper



While it may seem extremely difficult to replace a broken pane of a wooden window, all it really amounts to is putting in a replacement glass/window pane and securing it with putty.

Caution: Of course, when dealing with sharp objects, such as a window/glass, make sure you take precautions (wear all thick gloves--preferably thick leather work gloves--eye goggles, and other protective gear appropriate for this task).

Replacing a broken pane can be done in a few steps, and here's how:

  1. With the proper cautionary gear on, including gloves and eye goggles, gently drive a putty knife/joint knife with a hammer against the existing glazing compound and wood channels of the window so as to have this glazing compound removed from the whole window.

Using pliers--preferably needle-nose pliers--remove the glazier points of the window, which are the subtle metal-piece holders of the glass, all so that you are able to safely remove the glass at this time.

Removing a broken/cracked window/glass is a very dangerous activity.  To help minimize this hazard, take some precautions and utilize wise techniques: When removing broken glass, piece by piece, start from the top by removing the top pieces and working your way down with the removal of the pieces below.  This will help reduce the the chances of glass cutting your hands from up above.

  1. Now with all the glass removed, use the putty knife to remove all remaining parts of the existing glazing compound.

  2. As is necessary, paint over any untreated/unfinished wood of the window with a paint primer, using a brush.

  3. Now, using a tape measure, either measure the existing glass as a pattern or the opening of the window panes (being aware of and taking into consideration any applicable window crevice).  Write the measurements on a sheet of paper with a pencil.  Have the new glass cut to these measurements.

  4. Use a putty knife to apply the new glazing compound from a can all around the channels of the wooden window openings where the glass will be set in place.

Alternatively, use a caulking gun, cocked with a caulking tube of glazing compound, to more easily and deftly apply a thick rope of the compound all around the channels of the wooden window openings where the glass will be set in place.

With the glazing compound applied, firmly set into place each piece of glass in their respective openings of the window.

  1. Insert the glazier's points into the muntin positions they were before so as to secure the newly installed glass, using a putty knife as necessary.  The rule of thumb usually is to have at least two glazier's points for each side, spaced at least 4 inches apart.

  2. Apply glazing compound again, this time over all along the edge sides of the newly installed glass.  Again, you can use either glazing compound from a can with the help of a putty knife, or you can use a caulking gun that is cocked with a tube of glazing compound; with the caulking gun, you'd be able to easily and deftly apply a neat rope of the compound all along the perimeter of the glass in no time.  Make sure the compound stays neatly in place so as not be seen from the inside of the house.

  3.  Allow the glazing compound to cure per the glazing compound manufacturer's instructions.

  4. Use another paintbrush to apply touch-up paint as may be necessary to the exterior of the window.

That's what it takes to replace a broken pane of a wooden window.

Ed the Handyman


Your Handyman Zone Team


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