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How to do minor repairs on windows

If you learn how to make minor repairs on your windows you will be able to address your window problems immediately and save a bit of money in the process.

One of the most common situations involves replacing a pane of broken glass in a wood frame and then fitting a new pane of glass in its place.

How to Replace a Pane of Broken Glass

  • When you remove a cracked window pane you should always wear protective goggles and gloves.
  • Before you begin working on the window pane you should put a dustsheet beneath the window so that you will catch any loose pieces of glass. Then, to prevent the glass from fragmenting, you should stick masking tape over the pane that needs to be replace.
  • Once these safety concerns are addressed take a hammer and gently tap the glass so it is loosened from the frame. Carefully pull the pieces of glass out of the frame with your hands.
  • Next, take a chisel or putty knife and use it to remove any of the remaining glass and putty.
  • You should now see diamond shaped glazing points and pins. Remove these with a pair of pliers or pincers.
  • Lightly sand the frame and make sure that the surface is smooth.
  • Clean the rebate and apply a wood preserver and a primer before you install the new window pane.

How to Fit a New Pane of Window Glass

  • Take some putty and put it in your bare hands. Roll it until you get a smooth consistency. This will make the putty easier to work with.
  • Roll the putty into long strips that are about 3/8 inch in diameter. Push the strips into the rebate.
  • Position the new window pane very carefully into the rebate. Press it around its edges so that the putty will hold.
  • Take a pin hammer and carefully tap small pins or glazing points into the wood frame around the new pane of glass. This will keep the window pane in place. However, make sure that the pins or glazing points don’t touch the glass pane.
  • Next, push additional strips of the rolled putty around the window pane where it meets the rebate.
  • Get your putty knife out and trim away any excess pieces of putty.
  • Run the flat surface of the putty knife’s blade over the putty. This will give you a nice, smooth finish as it secures the seal.
  • Clear any putty smears from the glass using a paint thinner.
  • Wait for the putty to dry before you paint it.

Another common problem people have is trying to free a casement window that sticks.

How to Free Sticking Casement Windows

  • Your casement window’s tracks or joint might just be blocked with debris or paint. So first try running a knife along the edges to remove the debris.
  • If that doesn’t work, use candle wax to lubricate the window’s edge.
  • If neither of these attempts free your sticking window, start to pull the frame as if you were going to close it. Look at the where the frame and edge of the window meet. You should see what’s causing the window to stick.
  • Take a plane and shave down the spot that’s causing your window to stick.
  • If the window is sticking on the top edge or on the bottom edge you will need to remove the window before you plane it. However, if the problem is on the vertical edge then you will be able to plane it without having to remove the casement.

Sometimes a sash window sticks.

How to Repair a Stiff Sash Mechanism

  • If your sash window is sticking, check to see if there is any excess paint that’s clogging the track. If so, strip it off and oil the mechanism.
  • If this doesn’t work, you might have to replace the cords (which is not addressed in this article).

Sometimes a mortise fastener is misaligned and won’t hold your window in its closed position. When this happens you will have to remove and reposition the mortise plate on the mullion.

How to Adjust a Mortise Fastener

  • Remove the mortise plate with a screwdriver.
  • Reposition the plate. The fastener should connect with the mullion in the middle of the plate.
  • Use a pencil to trace around the outside of the plate and the central hole.
  • Mark the positions of your screw holes.
  • Drill pilot holes.
  • Take a chisel and chisel the central hole deep enough for it to accommodate the mortise.
  • Screw the mortise plate back onto the mullion, being careful to check the alignment as you work.

How To Do Minor Repairs On Windows,
part of our article series in the Windows & Doors category.
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