What Should I Know About Window Installation?

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  • Written By: Dee S.
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2019
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Window installation is not a difficult task; it simply takes time and patience. Typically, before window installation can occur, an old pane of glass must be removed. In general, the smaller the pane of glass, the easier it is for window removal and window installation.

Carrying a pane of glass can be quite awkward; consequently, one of the first things to remember is to transport and store a pane of glass in its vertical position. If it is carried or stored horizontally, it can break under the force of its own weight. Using a piece or two of duct tape to create a tab or a handle on the pane of glass will make it is easier to maneuver into place. Another transportation technique is to cut a slit in two, pane-wide sections of a garden hose. Slip the garden hose on the top and bottom of the pane of glass; it will give the carrier an easy edge to hold.

When removing the old pane of glass, it is important to use safe-handling techniques, as glass can be quite sharp. Use duct tape to hold together the old pane of glass, if it is broken. Then, the next step is to remove the glazing putty. Once it is removed, the glass will be loose enough to separate it from the window. It is important to wear safety gloves and goggles when handling glass, especially if it is broken.


After the duct tape has been applied and the old putty has been removed, simply press the old pane of glass out from the backside. It is always important to remove the broken pieces so that the shards of glass are directed away from the person conducting the glass removal. Once the pane of glass is removed, it is time to continue on to the window installation.

First, when measuring for a new pane of glass, it is important to remember that a tight-fitting pane of glass may crack if the window moves or has undue pressure. Therefore, glass should usually be cut approximately 1/8 inch (.3 cm) smaller than the actual width and height of the window opening. A new pane of glass can be cut at a glass store or done on one’s own following the proper glass cutting techniques.

Before window installation can occur, the rabbet must be scraped and sanded. The rabbet is the notch in the sash or lower part of the frame that the pane of glass is placed in. Once the rabbet is scraped and sanded, it should be given a coat of primer or linseed oil to keep it from absorbing the oil in the glazing compound.

Once the pane of glass is ready to be installed into the window frame, it must be cushioned. To do so, even out any irregularities in the wood, then create a tight joint. A bead of latex caulk should be put on the rabbet before the glass is set into place. Caulk is typically added with a caulking gun and is a better option than most glazing compounds. Glazing compounds can become stiff quickly and can break the glass.

The next step in window installation is easiest with the use of glazier’s points with ears. The ears make the glazier’s points easy to press into the frame of the window with a putty knife. Then, apply some glazing compound around the new pane of glass. Finally, smooth the glazing compound with a putty knife dipped into paint thinner.

It is best to wait approximately one week before painting the window frame. Doing so will make sure that the compound has set properly. If, at any time, questions occur, most hardware stores will be able to help. In addition, books and online websites may have plenty of answers.


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