Window glass replacement how to guide
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Window glass replacement how to guide

Aug 15, 2023

If you’re dealing with a broken or cracked window pane, knowing your way around window glass replacement can save time and money.

In the case of single glazing, it’s possible to just replace the glass of your window and not the entire frame, which you may want to do if your frames are relatively new or don’t otherwise warrant replacement.

Here’s how to replace your window glazing.

You can usually replace just the broken or damaged pane for single-glazed windows in timber frames. The process is fairly simple when dealing with a like-for-like swap in the case of a cracked or broken pane.

You can also sometimes upgrade to double- or triple-glazed panes if the existing frame can handle the dimensions of the new unit, although this will vary on a case-by-case basis and require advanced woodworking skills, or professional help.

If your window is double- or triple-glazed, you’ll generally have to replace the entire unit (the entire assembly of glass, frame and sealant). uPVC frames also aren’t suitable for DIY replacement panes.

Before replacing your window, you need to have the right tools for the job.

Here’s what you should consider obtaining before changing a window:

The following four steps are for single-glazed windows. The first step is to remove the existing glass from the frame.

Window putty is a flexible adhesive that forms an airtight seal around windows. You’ll need to remove any old putty from around the frame.

It’s now time to prepare the new glass to fit into the frame.

Finally, you can lay the new pane in the frame and seal it with putty and caulk sealant.

Replacing double- or triple-glazed window units is a slightly different process to swapping out single-glazed panes. It is generally accepted that replacing double- or triple-glazed windows is best left to a professional, ideally one with FENSA accreditation.

Again, always wear gloves and protective eyewear, and take the appropriate steps to secure the area around the window.

Start by measuring the dimensions of the existing pane to ensure you order the correct size for the replacement. You can usually find these measurements by removing the window trim or beading that holds the glass unit in place.

Once you have the replacement unit, you’re ready to begin the installation process.

While swapping out window panes to repair or upgrade windows is possible to do yourself without prior experience, it can be a trickier job than you might expect. Professional installation ensures a neat, airtight finish.

Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of replacing glass yourself or hiring a professional.

How much does replacing glass windows cost, both in terms of materials if you’re carrying out the replacement yourself and labour for professional installation?

While DIY replacement saves labour costs, hiring a professional can offer peace of mind and a guaranteed quality finish.

Depending on the job’s complexity, you can expect to pay a tradesperson anywhere from £100 to £500 for their labour, which may or may not include the cost of materials.

Simple single-glazing jobs come in at the lower end of the spectrum. In some cases, a very simple job, such as replacing a small single-glazed pane, will cost £50 or so and will be about an hour’s work.

Here are some additional costs to keep in mind:

Given the complexity and the risks involved in replacing glass, hiring a professional for window glass replacement might be the best route for most people.

Professional installation ensures a good-quality, airtight fit that provides security, insulation and longevity.

If you’re replacing double-glazing, consider upgrading to triple-glazed units. These offer superb energy insulation and aren’t vastly more expensive than double-glazed units.

The cost of replacing window glass can vary based on several factors. If you decide to do it yourself, you may spend between £50 and £100 just for the materials, including the glass pane, putty and other necessary supplies.

Should you decide to hire a professional glazier, the cost could range from £100 to £500, depending on the type of glass you choose and the labour costs in your area.

Glass for window replacement includes tempered, double- or triple-glazed units, which are typically more expensive than standard glass panes.

Safety is paramount when replacing window glass. It’s essential to use safety gear, including thick gloves and goggles, to minimise the risk of injury.

Care must be taken while removing old or broken glass and handling the new pane. If you’re not confident in your ability to safely replace the glass, it might be best to hire professionals.

Never handle glass without gloves, and wear goggles to prevent shards and glass chips pinging into your eyes.

It certainly can be. The time it takes to replace a windowpane can vary.

If you have moderate DIY skills, you might be able to complete the project in two to four hours, provided you don’t run into any unforeseen issues. Professional window glass repair services local to you will often finish the job much quicker.

Sam Jeans

Sam is an experienced writer whose expertise lies in home improvements and renewables, as well as technology, where he is especially interested in the world of machine learning and AI. He has written for Vested, Age Times, and the Royal Mint.

For the Independent Advisor, Sam writes about windows and solar panels.

Essential equipment for replacing window glassStep 1: Remove the broken or old glassStep 2: Clear out the old putty and glazingStep 3: Measure and prepare the window frameStep 4: Apply new putty and install the new glass panePros of DIY glass window repairCons of DIY glass window repairCost of glassCost of equipment and materialsLabour costs for professional installationAdditional costs