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Window Glass Is Broken

Problem: Glass pane in window is broken, cracked, or scarred.

Background: Most local hardware stores offer glass replacement ser vices and can replace glass in wooden double-sash windows, horizontal sliding windows, casement windows, wood or aluminum storm windows or doors, or awning or jalousie windows. If you plan to re place the glass in a wooden window yourself, assemble a hammer, screwdriver, putty knife, and measuring rule or tape. Then add a small package of glazier’s points, window putty, and either a soldering iron or a small propane torch to your sup plies. (If you don’t have these materials, pick them up where you have your new glass cut.)

What to do: First remove the old putty, softening the old putty with either a soldering iron, small pro pane torch, or heat gun. Heat makes even ancient putty pliable and easy to remove. If you don’t want to in vest in any of these tools, you might get by with an old clothes iron, or by soaking older oil-based putty with linseed oil to soften it.
   Under the putty you’ll see small triangular glazier points used to hold the pane in place. Pry these points out with a screwdriver and remove the old glass. (Wear gloves and goggles to avoid accidental in jury.)
   Cutting your own glass to fit from larger sheets saves some money, but it does take practice to become accurate and avoid breakage. How ever, if you do cut your own glass, panes for most wooden windows should be cut 1/8 inch smaller than the opening, both in length and height. Cut panes for vertical-sash aluminum storm windows 1/32 inch smaller than the opening.
   Clean and sand the groove for the pane. If you are using oil-based glazing compound, apply a coat of linseed oil or thinned exterior paint around the groove. This keeps the window from absorbing oil from the compound. Then apply a thin layer of compound (just enough to act as a seal), and insert the pane. Fasten it in place with glazier’s points every 4 inches to 6 inches around the opening. Use a hammer and putty knife or screwdriver to drive them half way into the wood.
   If you are using oil-based compound, roll it into a rope about ½ inch in diameter, press it in place, and smoothen with a putty knife held at an angle. If you are using newer acrylic latex glazing compound, do not precoat the groove.  Simply dab it in place and smooth it down with your putty knife. You can paint over this type of putty in 30 minutes or so; with oil-based compound let it cure for a week or more before painting. Use exterior paint and make sure the paint touches the glass. This prevents cracks that can trap moisture from occurring.

Special advice: When buying replacement glass, you will have a choice of single- or double-strength glass. If the pane is 12 inches x 16 inches or smaller, you can use single-strength; if it is larger, buy the more expensive double-strength.

Helpful hint: Putting linseed oil on the putty knife can help you do a smooth, professional-looking job with oil-based putty. If you are using newer acrylic-latex putty, put ting water on the knife will help lubricate it. If you are using oil-based putty that is old and hard, put it in a glass container and microwave it for a short time to make it more pliable and easier to work with.




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