What is Window Glazing?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Window glazing is the actual glass part of a window. Glazing is mounted in the window with the assistance of glazing putty and a frame that supports the glass and hold it in place. The act of replacing glass is known as “reglazing,” and there are a number of reasons to reglaze a window, ranging from the need to replace broken glass to a desire to outfit a window with more energy efficient glass.

Replacing or repairing a window pane is reglazing.
Replacing or repairing a window pane is reglazing.

The work of installing glazing was historically done by a glazier, a construction specialist who focused on installing glass. Glaziers are still used for reglazing projects in which the original frame is to be retained. Otherwise, it's more common to purchase an entire window, which can be ordered in a custom size or configuration for special needs, and fitted into place by a general contractor. Glass companies that stock windows will also perform installations, usually for a fee.

Old windows can be reglazed and reinstalled.
Old windows can be reglazed and reinstalled.

Historically, windows were single glazed, with a single pane of glass, but today, there are a number of options for window glazing. Double or triple glazed windows create more insulation, making a structure more energy efficient by reducing heat loss through the windows. Glass can also be tinted to keep out sunlight, coated in a clear film that increases energy efficiency, and otherwise treated to make windows more efficient. In some regions, energy efficient windows may be subsidized by utilities or the government, as an incentive to improve home efficiency.

In older homes, it is not uncommon to want to replace the glazing while retaining the original windows. It can be difficult to replicate designs, such as the delicate multipaned windows seen in Craftsman homes, and in these cases, a glazier may be hired to remove the old glass and replace it with double paned glass for more efficiency. Windows can also be sent out for reglazing and repair to specialty firms that handle vintage windows, doors, and other fittings, restoring them with new glazing so that they can be reinstalled, rather than replaced.

There are lots of options to consider when installing window glazing, beyond the energy efficient choices available to people who are concerned about energy usage. Glazing commonly comes in clear glass, but it is also available in etched, textured, or tinted glass for privacy. People can also work with stained glass, a product designed for art that can also be used for privacy.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


Repairing and reglazing old windows should always be the first option for older homes. The materials of older windows is usually superior to anything current while most newer windows do not last nearly as long as a properly repaired old window. A cost comparison also supports repairing old.

Properly maintained single pane windows are almost as energy efficient as double pane. Especially in the South, consider installing working shutters on your home for a great look and real energy savings. If you can afford them, consider movable louver shutters made with a durable wood other than modern pine.


What are the best tips for window glazing repair? I'm working on a "fix it upper" and I've never repaired glazing before!

I've looked at all these glazing and window repair how to articles, but none of them seem really helpful -- can you advise me?


Has anybody ever used plastic window glazing? I have been looking into different kinds of window non glass glazing, and I'm kind of down to plastic glazing and vinyl-based window glazing.

Does anybody have any advice?


I really love the insulation that you get with double glazing windows, but one thing that drives me crazy is how stuff can get stuck between the two panes of glass if they get even a little crack or problem with the installation.

The problem with that there's really no way to get that stuff out without removing the window glazing.

I've tried everything to keep little bugs and stuff out, but unfortunately the house I live in has DIY window glazing, so the edges aren't sealed too well, and there's not a whole lot I can do.

If anybody has any tips on dealing with this, I'd surely appreciate it.

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