How To: Reglaze Your Old Windows (Video Tutorial)

By Scott Sidler • October 22, 2012

Window ReglazingLearning to reglaze your old windows is something that scares the pants off of many homeowners. But fear not! It does require practice and a bit of an artist’s touch to get it just right, but like anything, practice makes perfect. You can learn to reglaze your old windows yourself with just a little practice and some good training.

However, describing how to reglaze your old windows in a blog post is a bit like trying to teach someone to dance via cell phone. So, I’ve put together a short video to walk you through the steps of bedding and reglazing an old window. Along with a few tips and resources I’ve included in this post, you should be able to reglaze your own windows with confidence.

 That’s right! The Craftsman has its own YouTube channel! And I’ll be posting lots more videos to teach you all kinds of new skills. So, stop by YouTube and subscribe to our channel for updates whenever we post a new video. And don’t forget to like our video and share it with your friends if you find it helpful.

Tips

    1. Always prime a bare sash with an oil-based primer prior to glazing.
    2. Wear gloves when handling antique glass. It is very brittle and can easily break.
    3. Wait until the glazing putty has formed a skin (3-4 days for Type-M putty or 2-3 weeks for Dual Glaze putty) before you attempt to paint.
    4. Do not prime the glazing putty after you have glazed your window. Just add 2 coats of a quality enamel paint.

Resources

    • Sarco Glazing Putty – This is the only brand of glazing putty I recommend. It is linseed-oil based and as close to the old stuff they used to use. If you are glazing your windows in a garage or shop, use Sarco Type-M putty. If your windows will be glazed outside and exposed to the elements prior to painting, use Sarco Dual Glaze.
    • Diamond Glazing Points – These points are the smallest and easiest to hide under the glazing putty which allows you to have the cleanest glazing lines.
    • Speedheater Cobra – For removing old paint that may contain lead paint, infrared heat is a safe way to get the job done. It’s expensive, but most things that work well usually are.  *Always use proper protection and follow the EPA’s rules when dealing with lead paint.
    • Glazier’s Tool – For me, this tool provides the best angle to get a nice smooth line and allows me to cut in to get perfect (most of the time!) corners.

If you’ve got more tips or suggestions I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.

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149 thoughts on “How To: Reglaze Your Old Windows (Video Tutorial)”

  1. Thank you for your wondrous information. I have been following it to the letter. I have two questions left. After deglazing and sanding, I notice my Windows have 3 normal rabbits, but at the top they have a slit the window slides into. When I go to reglaze, do I fill this slot with putty then put the window in, or slide it in dry and glaze? Secondly, though I feel all your categories are very easy to understand and follow, I am not getting the section about spring bronze installation. I get the gist of it, but one major concept I am no getting is which direction I install it in. Can you please clear this up? Does “Pac man” face inside or outside? Thank you for your time.

  2. I have started my project following all your directions that i can. I am to the priming point right now and would like to clarify. Do i prime the area that the putty and glass will go, or leave it bare? Watching the video, I believe everything gets primed, but I wanted to clarify before I potentially make a mistake.

  3. Are looking to reglaze our 100-year-old church’s large multi-paned windows. One company proposes to get out all the putty and replace with PVC stops, caulked to the frame. This would save time and avoid a sloppy putty and paint job. What do you think?

  4. This putty often lasts decades, but over the years it becomes rock-hard, cracks and even falls off the window.

  5. The intense heat will do some damage to the surrounding paint, so if you go this route, your project will expand to scraping and repainting the entire window.

  6. I tried to read through the comments and don’t think i saw an answers to what my questions are –
    1 – I am using Sarco Type M putty on reglazing some of the windows on my 1849 house in Connecticut. I bought the can last year to do some windows. When my husband opened it he said there was a lot of oil on the top but the putty seems a little dry. Is this putty no good now? Any way to revive it?
    2 – how do you decide when it is time to reputty a window. I have some panes of glass where the putty has periodic cracks in it. Does this require reglazing. They haven’t been touched in 40+ years, they are removed for repainting now. I don’t want them failing in 5 years from now, but also don’t want to do unnecessary work.

    Thanks so much

    1. Gale, the putty should give you 30-40 years of good life before needing replacement. If the putty has oil on top you can turn the can upside down for a couple weeks and the oil will work it’s way back into the putty. Type M doesn’t keep quite as long as DualGlaze though so it may be past a good working time. You can buy more in our store if you need at anytime.

  7. I’m restoring an old church building from 1873 — will be my home. As a kid I remember painters using Putty to fill small holes and other imperfections — cracks in window sills … etc. This was before the advent of better caulks and epoxy products. They would simply push it in with a thumb and smooth it over … my memory was they told me to do this after priming.

    Guess this was glazing putty?

    The reason I ask: I have restored / repainted my share of exterior old wood work. Most of the new caulks fail by the time the paint fails … and the epoxy will often pop out of smaller cracks. I’m saying to myself ……going “old school” may be better with these old window frames.

    Do you ever use glazing putty ? and why do you say above .. not to prime the putty?

    Thanks — TAG

  8. great video – I have 24 windows – house is 100 yrs old next year – most windows no longer open or close and they all let the cold winter wind come through – I was going to replace all the windows with new energy windows but read I reconsider re-glaze them instead – how does this stop the cold air from coming through? the house needs insulation as well – so which would be a better choice for heat retention – re-glazing old wooden windows or buying new windows – thank you

      1. Do you have a post or video on how to weather strip wood sash windows? My current set up has nothing as far as insulation and wasn’t sure if that was how it was supposed to be.

        1. There’s a number of different weather stripping available, the most reliable usually require you to use a router and make a groove. Something like this https://www.amazon.com/Weatherstrip-Kerf-Mounted-Bulb-Type-Tan/dp/B002X9EH2S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497915288&sr=8-1&keywords=wood+window+weather+stripping is good for tops, bottoms, and meeting rails. Pile weather stripping is good for the sides. There’s a great book called The Window Sash Bible that goes into tons of detail about window restoration.

  9. Thank you for your informative post, and still answering questions years after you posted. I searched a lot of your answers to make sure i wans’t asking something that has been addressed, and did not find anything. I have two questions left after all the reading and videos. First question; I am about to do about 215ish feet of glazing on my old windows. How much glaze should i buy (pint, quart, gallon, more)? Secondly, I live in a split level house where the upper part gets really hot. I was planning on buying some heat rejecting tint and tint the upper windows before reglazing. If i follow your directions, will the glaze interact negatively with the tint? Thank you for your time and all the responses you have provided to everyone.

    1. Josiah, I would apply the tinting on the inside so there is no issues with compatibility. For 215 ft of glazing probably 1 gallon should be pretty close. You may need another quart at the end of it all though.

  10. On the subject of diamond shaped glazing points…I used to work for a picture frame maker and we had this glazing point gun/stapler, that shot the glazing points in on the horizontal and worked wonderfully to put in the points without breaking the picture frame glass. It’s been many years since I worked there and was wondering if you had any idea where I could find one to buy. I;m looking at a ton of windows to restore and reglaze over the next year!

      1. Thank you Scott. You just made my life a whole lot easier. I’m on eBay a lot for restoration items and never even thought to look for the point driver there.

  11. Hi Scott,
    I’m using your Sarco glazing on my old windows (thanks so much for recommending it, I love it so much better than DAP), but I haven’t been able to find in whiting and cleaning my windows up has been….challenging! I’m wondering if I can use construction marking chalk, it’s calcium carbonate. Is that what whiting is also? Or how about drywall powder, which I”ve seen mentioned in some comments.
    Thanks!

    1. Sorry, this is 8 months late, ha ha.

      Many people use drywall compound. The “time” to set up does not matter a bit. Sprinkle liberally on the pane, and use a soft brush to distribute it onto your glazing. Don’t overdo it; you don’t want to make lines in, or disturb, your glazing.
      Then, use the brush to ‘clean’ the glass. The linseed oil on the panes will attract the joint compound powder and firm up. Finish with a cloth if necessary, being careful of your glazing.

  12. I’m currently restoring my first 1920’s sash window with the hope of replacing the single glazing with thin double glazing.
    And adding some draught proofing if I can manage it.

    When removing the existing single glazing the slot the glass sat in one side has some glass stuck in the slot. What is the best way to remove this old glass? I was thinking a very narrow chisel may be the best tool?

    Generally the windows are in good condition. If anyone could point me in the direction of a good guide to restoring vertical sash windows it would be very much appreciated.

    What glue should I use?
    I have some sash clamps as the joints on the first one have opened up/are loose.

    Many thanks in advance.

    1. Paul, a small chisel or 5-in-1 should work well to get that glass out. Check out my resource page on restoring wood windows for everything you need to get the job done. https://thecraftsmanblog.com/how-to-repair-old-windows/
      I would rethink adding double glazing. The energy gains are not worth the modifications you need to make. Usually the best way to improve the efficiency is through weatherstripping and adding either an interior or exterior storm to stop air leakage.

      1. Many thanks Scott. I will check it out.
        The thought behind changing over to double glazing is to increase the surface temperature of the glass internally so as to reduce the condensation on cold days.

  13. Scott – Great blog, really helping me do all kinds of things around the house that I’ve never thought I could do. I’ve been restoring all of my original 1912 double hung windows. Two things: 1) why is the access panel to the weights secured by the outer parting bead? I have to break it and remove it to open the panel. 2) what do you recommend to “seal” where the inner window frame meets the inner side of the glass? The wood seems to have deteriorated over time causing an unsightly ridge. I have reglazed the outer side but did not lift the original glass and lay a new putty bead or replace the glazing pins (this was the suggestion of my hardware store guy. Thanks!

  14. Scott,
    Ive been told that putty should never be used to glaze the exterior of laminate glass due to chemical reactions that cause both the laminate and putty to fail. What have you heard about this? thx – Cheers! – Murph

    1. William, laminated glass needs to have the edges sealed before being putty glazed to prevent those issues from occurring. Using a latex primer is usually all you need.

      1. So are you stating here that the glass itself should have a latex primer added around all edges? Is there a brand you would recommend?

  15. I have been doing some reglazing on the windows in the 1927 log cabin we live in. Lots of trimming the OLD glazing along the edges of the panes (you can see the uneven, many times painted edges from inside the window!)and replacing a few small panes. Some of the glazing trims away fairly easily and some chips off in ugly chunks leaving the edge of the glass exposed. Do I need to take all the old glazing out and redo it or can I patch it? We just rent here and obviously no one has cared about the horrible glazing job before (just paint over it!)and I don’t really have the time to redo all the panes if I don’t have to!

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