How To Fix a Broken Window Easily and Inexpensively

  • 01 of 08

    Make Sure You Have the Right Type of Window

    A man fixing a broken window
    Henry Arden / Getty Images

    Broken windows sometimes require an expensive repair call from a glazier--or worse, an even more expensive visit from a replacement window company to replace the entire sash. As it turns out, it's easy and inexpensive to do this yourself. You just need a few simple tools and materials, some of which you may already have on hand.

    Note: The procedure shown here works on older, single-pane, unsealed glass windows. If you have an older (pre-1950s or 60s) house that hasn't been updated, you might have this kind of window. Or you might have one in a shed, outbuilding, workshop, etc. If you have double- or triple-pane windows (often called thermal or insulated windows), you'll have to have the glass replaced by a professional, or you can remove the entire sash and replace it with a new sash.

    Supplies Needed:

    • Thick leather work gloves
    • Safety glasses
    • Putty knife
    • Wood chisel or razor scraper
    • Fine-grit sandpaper
    • Linseed oil or clear wood sealer
    • Paintbrush
    • Tape measure
    • Replacement glass
    • Pencil (optional)
    • Metal straightedge (optional)
    • Glass cutter (optional)
    • Glazier's points
    • Glazing compound (putty)
    • Exterior-grade paint
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  • 02 of 08

    How to Fix a Broken Window: Step 1

    A woman working on a replacement window
    Jason Homa / Getty Images

    First, understand how a window pane is fastened into the frame. Under the visible glazing compound (which is usually painted) are glazier's points that have been tapped into the frame. These tiny metal triangles are basically like "nails" that hold the glass to the wood.

    Using a putty knife, pry up the glazing compound. It should come off in large chunks. Then, use the putty knife, pliers, or a thin flat-head screwdriver to remove the glazier's points. Wearing thick gloves (leather recommended), remove all of the broken glass.

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  • 03 of 08

    How to Fix a Broken Window: Step 2

    A man preparing a new window
    Susanne Walstrom / Getty Images

    Using a chisel or razor scraper, scrape down the section of the frame (the "L-channel") from which you removed the compound and glazier's points. Be careful not to gouge the wood. Sand the wood smooth with fine-grit sandpaper, then seal any bare wood with linseed oil or clear wood sealer applied with a paintbrush.

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  • 04 of 08

    How to Fix a Broken Window: Step 3

    A man carefully cutting glass with tools
    Wicki58 / Getty Images

    Now it's time to measure and cut the new window glass to size. You can have the glass cut for you at a hardware store or home center, or you can cut it yourself with a simple glass cutter.

    Measure the width and height of the window opening, using a tape measure and measuring to the outside edges of the L-channels. Subtract 1/8" from each measurement to use as the glass size.

    To cut the glass yourself, place it on a clean, flat work surface. Make marks for the cutting line with a pencil or permanent marker. Place a metal straightedge on the marks, and score the cutting line onto the glass with a glass cutter. A glass cutter has a small metal wheel for scoring the glass. Run the cutter along the straightedge while pressing the wheel down firmly. Make only one pass with the cutter.

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  • 05 of 08

    How to Fix a Broken Window: Step 4

    Hands applying pliers to glass
    Wicki58 / Getty Images

    Be sure to wear safety glasses and gloves for this step. Slide the glass along your work surface so that the scribed line on the glass is aligned with the edge of the surface. Holding the main portion of the glass with one hand, use the other hand to push down sharply on the "waste" portion of the glass to snap it along the scored line.

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  • 06 of 08

    How to Fix a Broken Window: Step 5

    A hand removing glazier putty with a scraper
    eag1e / Getty Images

    Roll out the glazing putty into long, thin "ropes." Push the ropes into each L-channel of the window frame where the glass will rest. Place the glass into the frame, resting it in the putty. Using your putty knife, push two glazier's points into the bottom of the frame. If you need extra force, gently tap the handle of the putty knife with a rubber mallet to drive in the points.

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  • 07 of 08

    How to Fix a Broken Window: Step 6

    A woman fixing glass with a putty knife
    Hero Images / Getty Images

    Install additional glazier's points, two per side for a total of eight per window pane. Roll more glazing compound between your hands into thin ropes and force these ropes into each side of the frame. Force the rope farther into the L-channel with your putty knife held at a 45-degree angle.

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  • 08 of 08

    How to Fix a Broken Window: Step 7

    A set of windows on a concrete wall
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    Let the glazing compound dry and harden, following the manufacturer's recommended drying time. Paint the putty and any exposed wood with exterior-grade paint.