Reglazing Wood Windows

Reglazing wood window that are in disrepair only takes a few minutes. Reglazing your windows can also rejuvenate your house, while adding the fringe benefit of lower heating bills.

On older homes that have single-pane windows, the glass is held into the wooden frame by material known as a glazing compound. This compound seals out weather and cold air while protecting the glass pane as well. Over time the glazing can become brittle, cracked and broken. Sometimes it can even fall out of the window altogether, allowing cold air to leak through the window. Sometimes enough glazing chips away that the glass panes fall out.
Reglazing a wood window sash.

Use these step by step instructions to reglaze wood windows quickly and neatly.

1. Remove the old windows from the frame.

It is possible to reglaze the windows while they are sitting in their frames, however, it is much more difficult and time consuming. Clamp the window to a set of sawhorses so that you have a solid working surface.

2. Remove the old glazing from the windows.

Do this by scraping the glaze away with a putty knife. If a section seems a little more difficult, you can melt it using a heat gun. Then scrape the compound away. Be careful as it is easy to crack the glass when scraping.

Make sure and remove the entire old glaze, scraping the glass and wood clean. New glaze adheres better to a clean surface.

3. Replace any broken or cracked glass.

Measure any broken panels and have the local hardware store or glass shop cut a new panel for you. You want to use glass with similar thickness and clarity. Lay the new panels in the frame.

4. Check for missing glazing points.

You want to mount the glass in place by applying every few inches around the panel. If the glass is in good condition, you should check to make sure that there are enough points holding the glass in place. Too few points allow the glass to move, which can break the seal over time.

5. Prime the wood.

Seal the wood surrounding the glass panel using a primer. Allow the primer to dry completely. The can will tell you how long that should be for the type of primer you choose.
Smoothing glazing compound with a putty knife.

6. Apply the glazing compound.

Begin spreading the around the edge of the glass panel. Use a putty or to cover the glazing points thoroughly. One technique that many painters use is to dip the putty knife in paint thinner, and then use the blade to smooth out the surface of the glazing.

Allow the glazing to dry according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Wood window sash reglazed and reinstalled.

7. Cut away excess glazing putty.

No one, even professionals lay the glazing down perfectly. Use a razor blade cut away any excess glazing putty from the glass panel. Once you’ve done this you can mount the window back in its frame and carefully clean the glass.

8. Apply primer and paint.

The new glazing along with the window can be painted after the glazing has skinned over. This could take several days depending on the type of glazing used and the temperatures. Make sure to primer the new glazing with an oil based primer before painting.

Extra tips to make reglazing your windows go easier.

  • Use denatured alcohol or paint thinner to clean off any paint or glazing from your glass panels.
  • Avoid getting paint thinner one your skin as it can irritate or cause a reaction on your skin.


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