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How to Easily Replace a Window Pane in a Wooden Frame

Replacing a window pane in a wooden frame may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and steps, it can be done easily and efficiently. Whether you are looking to fix a broken pane or simply want to upgrade your windows, this guide will provide you with the necessary steps to get the job done.

To start, it is important to determine what kind of window you are working with and what type of glass is required. Building codes in your area may require tempered glass for storm windows and doors, but regular pane glass may be suitable for inside windows and doors. Be sure to check local codes and regulations before beginning the project.

Once you have determined the type of glass needed, the next step is to measure the precise length and width of the grooves in which the pane will fit. Have the new glass cut so it measures 1/8 inch shorter than the exact groove dimensions in both the length and width. With the right measurements and glass, you can now move on to the actual replacement process.

Understanding the Basics of Window Pane Replacement

Replacing a broken window pane in a wooden frame can seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be a straightforward process. Here are some basics to keep in mind when replacing a window pane:

1. Safety First

Before you begin, make sure you have the proper safety equipment. Gloves, safety glasses, and a mask are essential to protect yourself from glass shards and potential lead in the window. It’s also a good idea to have a helper to assist with removing the window and holding it steady while you work.

2. Removing the Old Pane

To remove the old pane, use a utility knife to cut the glazing around the broken windowpane. Be sure to wear gloves and safety glasses during this process. Once the glazing is removed, carefully remove any remaining glass shards.

3. Measuring for the New Pane

Measure the opening for the new pane, making sure to measure both the height and width of the opening. It’s important to measure accurately to ensure a proper fit.

4. Choosing the Right Glass

When choosing the new glass, consider the thickness and type of glass needed for the specific window. Double-pane windows require a specific type of glass, and the thickness of the glass will depend on the size of the window and the location of the pane within the window.

5. Installing the New Pane

Once you have the new pane, apply a thin layer of glazing compound around the edges of the opening. Then, carefully insert the new pane into the opening, pressing it firmly into the glazing compound. Finally, apply additional glazing compound around the edges of the pane to seal it in place.

By following these basic steps, you can replace a broken window pane in a wooden frame with confidence. Remember to prioritize safety and accuracy throughout the process, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed.

Identifying the Type of Glass and Measurements

Before you start replacing the broken glass pane, you need to identify the type of glass you need and take accurate measurements. Here are the steps you should follow:

Identify the Type of Glass

The type of glass you need depends on the location of the window and the purpose it serves. Here are some common types of glass:

  • Annealed glass: This is a basic type of glass that breaks into sharp pieces and is not suitable for areas where safety is a concern.
  • Tempered glass: This type of glass is stronger than annealed glass and breaks into small, rounded pieces that are less dangerous. It is commonly used in areas where safety is a concern, such as doors and windows near the ground.
  • Laminated glass: This type of glass consists of two or more layers of glass with a plastic interlayer in between. It is commonly used in areas where security is a concern, such as storefronts and banks.
  • Low-E glass: This type of glass has a special coating that reflects heat back into the room, making it energy-efficient. It is commonly used in areas with extreme temperatures.

Once you have identified the type of glass you need, you can move on to taking measurements.

Take Accurate Measurements

To take accurate measurements, you will need a measuring tape and a notepad. Here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Measure the width and height of the opening where the glass pane will fit. Take three measurements of both the width and height, and record the smallest measurement.

  2. Subtract 1/8 inch from the smallest measurement to allow for expansion and contraction of the glass.

  3. If the glass pane has curved edges, make a template of the curve using a piece of cardboard or paper. Place the template on the glass and trace around it with a marker. Cut the glass along the traced line using a glass cutter.

By following these steps, you can ensure that you get the right type of glass and the correct measurements for your replacement window pane.

Materials Needed for Replacement

Replacing a broken window pane in a wooden frame is a task that requires some basic tools and materials. Here are the tools and materials you will need:


Tool Description
Utility knife Used to cut the glazing around the broken window pane
Putty knife Used to remove the old putty
Glass suction cups Used to lift and move the glass pane
Chisel Used to remove the old glazing points
Hammer Used to tap the chisel and remove the old glazing points
Pliers Used to remove the old glazing points
Caulking gun Used to apply the new putty
Paint scraper Used to remove any excess putty


Material Description
Replacement glass pane Make sure to measure the size of the old glass pane accurately
Glazing points Used to hold the glass pane in place
Putty Used to seal the glass pane in place
Paint Used to paint the putty after it has dried

It is important to note that safety glasses and gloves should be worn when handling broken glass to avoid injury. Additionally, if the window frame is old, it may contain lead paint. In this case, it is important to take appropriate precautions to avoid lead exposure.

Removing the Old Window Pane

Before you start removing the old window pane, it’s important to take safety precautions to protect yourself from potential injuries.

Safety Precautions

  • Wear gloves, safety glasses, and a mask to protect yourself from broken glass and dust.
  • Make sure the area around the window is clear of any furniture or objects that could get in your way.
  • If you’re working on a high window, use a sturdy ladder and have someone hold the ladder steady for you.
  • If the window is painted, be aware that the paint may contain lead. Use a mask to avoid inhaling any lead dust.

Step-by-Step Removal

  1. Lay a drop cloth or sheet under the window to catch any debris.
  2. Use a utility knife to cut the glazing around the window pane.
  3. Gently tap the center of the window pane with a hammer to loosen it from the frame.
  4. With gloved hands, wiggle free any pieces that remain embedded in the putty.
  5. Carefully remove the window pane from the frame and set it aside.

If the window pane is broken, be extra careful when removing it to avoid getting cut by any sharp pieces. If the pane is painted, be careful not to damage the paint on the frame when removing it.

By following these steps, you can safely remove the old window pane and prepare the frame for the installation of the new pane.

Preparing the Wooden Frame

Replacing a broken window pane in a wooden frame requires some preparation work to ensure that the new pane fits securely and is properly sealed. Follow these steps to prepare the wooden frame:

  1. Remove the old glazing compound: Use a putty knife to carefully remove the old glazing compound from around the edges of the frame. Be gentle to avoid damaging the frame or the remaining glass.

  2. Remove any remaining glass: If there are any pieces of glass still attached to the frame, carefully remove them using pliers or a glass cutter.

  3. Clean the frame: Use a clean cloth or brush to remove any debris or dust from the frame. This will help ensure that the new pane fits properly and is sealed correctly.

  4. Apply primer: If the frame is not already primed, apply a coat of primer to the exposed wood. This will help protect the frame from moisture and ensure that the new glazing compound adheres properly.

  5. Measure the opening: Measure the opening where the new pane will be installed. Make sure to measure both the height and width, as well as the depth of the rabbet where the glass will sit.

By following these steps, you can prepare the wooden frame for the new window pane. This will ensure that the new pane fits securely and is properly sealed, helping to prevent any drafts or moisture from entering your home.

Installing the New Window Pane

After removing the broken window pane, it’s time to install the new one. Follow these steps to ensure a successful installation.


First, measure the dimensions of the opening to ensure that the new pane is the correct size. Place the new pane into the opening and center it. Use shims to make adjustments if necessary.

Securing the Pane

Next, secure the pane in place using glazing points. These small metal pieces hold the pane in place while the glazing compound dries. Place the glazing points along the edge of the frame, about 2 inches apart. Use a putty knife to gently press the points into the wood.

Once the glazing points are in place, apply glazing compound around the edge of the frame to seal the pane in place. Use a putty knife to spread the compound evenly and ensure that there are no gaps. Allow the compound to dry completely before painting or finishing.

Remember to wear gloves when handling the glazing compound to avoid skin irritation. Additionally, make sure that the pane is placed securely in the frame to prevent it from falling out or breaking.

By following these steps, you can successfully replace a broken window pane in a wooden frame.

Applying Putty and Finishing Touches

Once the new glass pane is securely in place, you can begin the process of applying putty to seal it. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Take a small amount of putty and roll it into a thin, snake-like shape. Place it along the edge of the glass, pressing it down firmly into the wooden frame. Repeat this process until the entire edge of the glass is covered with putty.

  2. Use a putty knife to smooth out the putty, making sure that it is even and flush with the glass and frame. Be sure to remove any excess putty from the knife as you work.

  3. Allow the putty to dry for at least 24 hours before painting it. If you need to paint the frame, use a high-quality primer and paint to ensure that the putty adheres properly.

  4. Once the putty and paint are dry, use a razor blade to carefully remove any excess putty or paint from the glass. Be sure to work slowly and carefully to avoid damaging the new glass pane.

  5. Finally, clean the glass thoroughly with a glass cleaner and a soft, lint-free cloth. This will ensure that your new window pane looks great and performs well for years to come.

By following these simple steps, you can replace a broken window pane in a wooden frame and restore the beauty and functionality of your home’s windows.

Maintenance Tips for Wooden Frame Windows

Wooden frame windows add a classic touch to any home, but they do require some maintenance to keep them in good condition. Regular upkeep can prevent damage and prolong the life of your windows. Here are some tips to help you maintain your wooden frame windows:

Keep the Windows Clean

Cleaning your windows regularly can help prevent dirt and grime buildup, which can damage the window frame and make it harder to open and close the window. Use a soft cloth or sponge and a mild soap solution to clean the windows. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or tools that can scratch the glass or damage the frame.

Check for Damage

Inspect your windows regularly for signs of damage such as cracks, rot, or warping. Repair any damage as soon as possible to prevent it from spreading and causing further damage. If the damage is extensive, you may need to replace the window.

Paint or Stain the Frames

Painting or staining the frames can help protect them from the elements and prevent moisture damage. Choose a high-quality paint or stain that is designed for use on wooden surfaces. Apply a new coat of paint or stain every few years to keep the frames looking their best.

Seal the Windows

Sealing the windows can help prevent drafts and reduce energy costs. Use weatherstripping or caulking to seal any gaps around the window frame. This can also help prevent moisture from getting inside the frame and causing damage.

Use Proper Installation Techniques

If you are installing new windows or replacing old ones, make sure to use proper installation techniques. This can help prevent damage to the frame and ensure that the window operates smoothly. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully or hire a professional to install the windows for you.

By following these maintenance tips, you can keep your wooden frame windows in great condition for years to come.