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. I have been stripping my old wood storm windows to bare wood and repainting. These windows (and my double hungs) have wood stops instead of glazing. When I have removed the glass to replace it, or to make paint removal easier, I have not noticed any glazing compound or caulk in the glass bed. I’m wondering if I should put some down as I replace the glass. I have not been able to find any information on this on windows with wood stops. Thank you for your advice.

    1. If there are wood stops instead of glazing putty, put a small bead of clear silicone II caulk on the wood before you insert the glass. This will give you the seal you need. It is what is done on all the double pane replacement windows.

      1. Silicone does work good for this but be aware that if you ever need to remove it it is extremely difficult to do without damaging the wood because silicone has such a tight grip on bare wood.

  2. Scott, what specific primers are best suited for priming the sash before bedding the glass pane? I have read that oil-based primer or linseed oil should be used. But I have read that Zinsser Cover Stain Oil-Based Primer caused problem with curing of certain glazing compound. I have also read that BIN shellac primer is good choice because it dries fast. Which oil-based primers work? Drying fast helps, but is BIN primer suitable? Thanks.

  3. Hi Scott, I posted this comment on YouTube but wasn’t sure you would see it there so re-posted here… Thanks, great video. I really wish someone would address the ENTIRE process with the window IN PLACE (including stripping glazing & paint). I am currently working on my front window which has an exact-copy storm window on top of it. I was able to remove the storm to work on that in the garage, but the actual house window must stay in place. They are both 5×7 feet with 6 lights each. Each light is 17.5″ high x 36″ long. About 1/2 the glazing on the outside practically fell out of the window… the rest is requiring some doing; last evening, I made a tiny crack in one of the lights trying to get the glazing out… dammit! I am only 5’2″ tall & have had to come up with some creative ways to work on this (not able to rent or borrow scaffolding). I’d love to see some creative tips & video showing how to effectively remove that remaining glazing, glazing vertically/in place (especially the upper rabbets), & the challenges of getting large lights in & out without breaking them!! Thanks again! 🙂

    1. Sheila, the process isn’t much different if done in situ, only much more difficult. If you can remove the windows it always makes the work much easier. I haven’t found any tricks to do the work in place other than to make sure you have a good steady work platform because a ladder is exhausting to stand on for more than 20-30 mins.

  4. Hi Scott,

    I have a 1930 house and I am restoring the original casement windows. I have been kerfing in weather stripping at the perimeter of the windows, which has made a huge difference in the winter. As I am reglazing the windows I am wondering if someone makes a thin insulated replacement pane that I could install. My home is to get rid of the horrendous interior storm windows that were added in the 70’s. Love your site, thanks for the help!

    1. Scott, two options that could work well. Either install Indow Windows (which are a very slim line easy to install interior storm or replace he glass with laminated glass. Laminated glass is very slim 1/4″ and does better at stopping thermal transfer and sound than an IGU.

      1. Thanks Scott. The laminated pane is a great idea. Do you know any suppliers that make a small IGU or laminated pane? I have onle seen one on the web. Also, I thought maybe you would know an old-time window source that could make an all-wood casement- no hinges, seals- just a primed wood window. Many thanks!

  5. Scott-
    First, I’m loving your site and together with all the many posts it is very informative.
    My house was built in the 20’s and thus far I’m having a lot of difficulty removing the old putty that is basically concrete hard and with super adhesion to the wood. Additionally, the situation is that the panes must remain insitu. The heat gun didn’t work so I resorted to some aggressive techniques that I care not to mention.
    Have you ever faced a similar situation and were you forced to simply glaze over the old putty as best as possible?
    Thanking you in advance for your counsel.

  6. Are glazier points absolutely necessary? Are there only needed to hold the glass while the glaze sets up, or do they provide other long term benefits? I ask because I am half way through re-glazing 16 sashes, none of which had glazier points to begin with. They are large panes (24″ X 32″). I was doing just great with putting in the glazier points during my re-glazing job, but for some reason, today I broke two panes while inserting glazier points. Now I’m suddenly very concerned about using them.

    1. Lindi, they are a necessary part of the window. The points are what hold the glass securely in place since the putty will likely stay pliable for years or even a decade or more. You don’t want that glass falling out. Especially on large panes. The best bet is just to be as careful as you can. Breakage happens to the best of us so don’t let it get you down!

  7. I’m working on a church building, with walnut-stained wood-frame storm windows. The glazing putty on these storms is a mess – cracked, and crumbling out. I really have two questions: 1) if we apply new putty, can we stain it after it’s been applied? I don’t really want to paint it, since the frames aren’t painted. 2) Would it be reasonable to use a high quality dark brown caulk instead?

    1. Glazing putty has to be painted or it will fail very quickly. I’d use a brown paint that matches the storms color as closely as possible and just paint the putty. You can also tint the putty using oil-based colorant from the paint store.

  8. We installed DAP33 about 8 months ago. In the beginning, it wasn’t drying, so we waited to paint. Then we forgot about it. We just looked at it last week and noticed that there are some cracks. What can be done to fix the cracks? Is the unpainted DAP33 still okay or will it have to be removed?

  9. Really love the post, Scott. I have a question I’m hoping you can help me with. As I’m prepping my windows for deglazing, I’m having trouble removing some of the old glaze. In particular, on one window in place of a standard putty is a black substance akin to charcoal that is really difficult to scrape. Are you familiar with this substance and do you know of an efficient way to remove it? My house is from 1911 and the window is original. Thanks, Scott!

  10. Scott, I have an 1893 Queene Anne 2 1/2 story with about 78 windows mostly in beautiful wood but very breezy, and the third story impossible to safely deal with from the exterior. It is an overwhelming project but I want to restore the windows, mostly about 8′ tall by about 42″ wide.

  11. Thanks for an excellent post.

    We are about to have all of our windows in our 1920’s colonial re-glazed. What are the indications as to whether or not the windows need to be physically removed for re-glazing? Should they all be removed to do it appropriately, or as long as you have access to the window can be safely done while leaving in place?

    1. As long as you can safely reach everything you can do the work in place. Make sure to use a putty that can withstand exterior weather like Sarco Dual Glaze. Some putties are meant for shop glazing only.

  12. Scott,
    Started out simply wanting to re-paint my old 1940’s wooden windows. Upon further inspection all of the glaze that is present is crumbling, what is not glazed has been mistreated with caulk. The windows are in great shape however no need to take them down to repair/paint. My question for you is on the windows that have been caulked should I remove the caulk and reglaze? As the caulk has not failed as of yet. In addition do you have any experience with Glaze-ease 601? Can you recommend a product that goes on more like a caulk than a putty?

    1. Grace, if the caulk hasn’t failed I guess there’s no real reason to remove it other than appearance. As for Glaze-ease I haven’t tried it. I tend to stick with the tried and true putties that have been used for over a century because they are relatively easy to use and have been tested thoroughly.

  13. Hello,
    I have a question: I reglazed one window last summer and I was the putty did not dry for 6 months. Now I am reglazing it again. 5 days past but still it soft (I am using now a new putty Tap 33). May be it’ s because i did not put putty under window glass as you show. I put it only on the glass. Can you explain this please? Thank you, Inna

    1. DAP 33 may take a couple weeks to be ready for paint. The putties will stay soft for years, but once there is a thin skin on top it should be ready for paint even if it’s still soft.

  14. Hi Scott,

    We used Sarco Dual Glaze and let it set for 3-4 weeks. It seemed that a skin had formed, so we painted over them. As the paint dried, however, tiny little cracks formed all throughout the surface—an “alligatoring” effect. Do you think this is because the glazing was not yet ready to be painted? Or could there be another culprit? We used a good quality latex paint. Thanks.

    1. CW, it probably wasn’t ready for paint yet. Dual-Glaze can take a looong time to skin over enough sometimes depending on weather. Unless it’s steel windows I have started using Type-M glazing in the field which can be painted in just a few days.

      1. Dual Glaze does take quite a bit longer to skin over and set up than Type M. I think it’s superior to Type M so use it all the time. With application of whiting powder immediately after glazing to clean the glass of the linseed oil, it skins and sets in about a week, if left outside, ready for paint. No allorgating.

        Dust the whiting on with a soft 2″ or whatever old paint brush, let the whiting set on the glazing for a half hour or so, not too much more, and brush it up on a 6″ drywall compound knife.

        That can then be used on the next window as a, initial “primer” application of whiting, then tossed. A second application of fresh whiting, crystal clean glass, finishes off the glazing skin kick off party…. and so you go.

  15. Hello, and thanks for this informative thread. I have been reading and rereading different sites about reglazing windows. There are so many different techniques! I just ordered Glazol glazing online from HD and will pick up at the store.
    I am reglazing windows one by one in the elements. I cannot take the sashes out as all the trim work was recently redone inside the house and it would be cost prohibitive to take it all down and redo.
    My question is, is it okay to reglaze them outdoors? The old glazing crumbles off easily and I’ve cleaned most of it off. I have primed the sash and muntins (?) with oil based Cover Stain Primer and cleaned up the glass the best I could.
    None of the glass has been replaced. New Larson storm windows will be placed over all the windows to better protect them and hopefully give a warming factor to this old house. I do not want to replace the old windows as I LOVE the look of them especially indoors. They are becoming a rarity in old houses.
    Is it a big deal to leave small amounts of old putty on the window? I realize the knife won’t glide as smoothly, perhaps, but will the primer allow the new putty to adhere? Trying to do this correctly, but don’t necessarily want to be reglazing windows for the rest of my life!
    I’ve also read I shouldn’t clean the windows with window product for a YEAR. Could this be true, and why? If I use an ammonia-free foam type spray in a can, would this be okay?

    1. Pamela, remove aside putty as you can in place and then lay in new putty which will adhere to the old putty just fine. You can clean the glass after 30-45 days with standard glass cleaner. That amount of time gives the paint enough time to fully cure. I’ve never used the foam cleaner so I can’t speak to that specifically.

  16. Scott–
    I’m starting to reglaze all my 110-yr old windows. When I have a broken window, I’m obviously cleaning out and scraping/stripping the whole thing, but if I’m just reglazing, do I need to pull the window out? I ask, because that’s the time I’ll most likely break the window. Can I just strip/scrape the pane for repainting and leave the window bedded as is? I want the job to last, but I reeeeaally don’t want to break any of my old wavy-glass.

  17. Hi Scott,

    Had to fill some holes on the wooden window sills as I’ve left the mildew for too long. I’m treating them with 1:10 diluted bleach.

    Question: Do I have to wait for the bleach-treated window to be completely dry before applying linseed putty, or is it okay to apply immediately when still slightly damp?

    1. Brian, I’d probably treat with something a bit stronger like 1:3 bleach and let the surface dry out before applying putty. You should also either prime any bare wood with an oil-based primer or wipe on some boiled linseed oil before applying the putty to keep the wood from sucking the oil out of the putty too quickly.

  18. Hi Scott, must you wait until the putty has set (2-3 weeks) until the windows can be installed. My windows are ground floor and I’m not keen on leaving the windows boarded up for 2-3 weeks in an existing family home.

    1. The windows can be installed prior to the putty developing a skin and then painted in place or pulled out to paint once the putty is ready. Check with the putty manufacturer because the cure time for the putty may be shorter or longer. The 2 week rule is just a rough guideline.

      1. Thanks Scott. Will new putty bond with old putty, if replacing just the portions of old putty that have now eroded? I noticed your video is a full restoration, but is this necessary if only 1-2 inches (of an 18 inch) glass panel now needs replacing.

  19. great Discussion. thank you for keeping it alive.
    I have been restoring my old wooden windows. I use sacro multi glaze and love it. My question. Most of the windows do not have glazing between the rabbit and the glass. from everything I have read it seems that it is best practice. The windows are probably 1940 ish and are in good shape wood wise-no rot. Can you comment on if this is absolutely necc.
    Michelle

  20. I live in an old house that has 35 double hung windows and 35 wood storm windows. The paint that can be purchased today is inferior in quality and the storm windows need to have the glazing repaired and need to be repainted about every five years. It doesn’t get done that often but that is how long the paint lasts.

    Many years ago the paint store in town carried a line of paints called Bronzite. Bronzite was a line of green paints. It held up very well and lasted for many more years than today’s best paints available to homeowners. When I was a kid my father, who was a carpenter, had me mix up dried out glazing compound by hand. Knead whiting (calcium carbonate) and linseed oil with dried out glazing compound until the desired consistency is reached. What a mess.

    I have used Dap 33 glazing compound for as long as I can remember only because that is all that was available in stores. I am not thrilled with Dap 33 as I find it can flake off, pull away from the glass and does not seem to hold up as well as I would like.

    I know a little about glazing windows from years of experience. I own three houses with old windows so I often find myself replacing broken glass. You haven’t had fun glazing until you try to remove white lead that was used for glazing compound.

    Two questions:

    1) What is the purpose of the bedding before the glass pain is installed in the windows? I have never seen old windows that were installed in a bed of compound and I have never bothered to bed glass when making repairs.

    2) What happens if you don’t wait the two weeks for the glazing compound to skin over before painting? This is not practical when you are repairing the glazing and painting 35 storm windows. I generally wait a few days, but two weeks in not practical.

    1. Joe, the bedding, air seals the individual panes of glass and also helps prevent rattling windows and guards against condensation damage. As for the 2 weeks waiting time that is what Sarco recommends for their putty. If you paint too soon the oils in the putty will cause the paint to fail almost immediately. There are other options like Aquaglaze which is paintable the next day. Also you can use linseed oil putty and linseed oil paint which allows you to paint immediately after glazing.

  21. When restoring my first set of sash, I used the Dap 33. That window sat in my basement with my dehumidifier running, along with fans, and 10 days later it still hadn’t set up!

    I had a window restoration expert send me the Sarco. That was like day & night.

    After removing all paint & shellac from my frames, I like to give them a coat of a linseed/turpentine mix. Rehydrates the wood & the turp assists in dry time & helping the oil to soak in.

    I lay a bead of the Sarco in the rabbet & carefully lay the window inside. Next, I take my palm sander & with a thick rag underneath, I run the sander into all the corners of the glass. This sets the glass into the bed of putty.

    Trick to assist with the diamond points: I take a sharp, pointy steak knife & slide it into the wood, push the point into that, the carefully take a pair of 90 deg angled needle nose pliers & push on the diamond point…seating it into the wood until it’s no longer visible from the underside of the frame.

    Yes, this can be tricky, but I have never broken a single pane doing this. When the wood has been treated with the linseed oil, it’s softer (until it fully soaks in) & makes seating those points very easy.

    I then follow up by adding the putty to the rabbet over the glass.

  22. Dear Scott,
    Great article but I found it too late. I just completed reglazing 45 panes of storm windows and the main double hung windows with Dap 33 and really don’t want to start over. I live in NJ where it is starting to get cold. I have the storm windows inside where I thought they would dry quickly but that isn’t happening. My question is can I hang the storm windows back up for the winter and then prime and paint everything in the spring or am I looking for trouble. I see discussions of minimum time to wait but don’t see the maximum time. I am not concerned about the appearance since the storm windows and double hung windows are all white anyway. Thank you very much.

    1. Paul, DAP 33 is just fine. It’s not my favorite but it definitely gets the job done. In my experience DAP can be left out for a month or so before you may have problems. Here are the recommendations from DAP’s site regarding painting.

      1. DAP® ‘33’® Glazing must be painted after it has skinned over and attained a firm set. Firm set is
      typically demonstrated when a light finger touch to the surface does not leave a fingerprint. Firm
      set may occur in as little as 7 days after application, but more likely 2-3 weeks after application.
      Painting must be done only after firm set is achieved.
      2. When painting, use only (i) a high quality exterior-grade oil-based paint, or (ii) prime with a high
      quality oil-based primer and topcoat with a high quality exterior-grade acrylic-latex paint finish.
      The paint line must overlap onto the face portion of the glass, as well as the bedding area where
      the sash and glass meet.

  23. I’m doing my double hung windows one sash at a time as time allows – which isn’t much these days with two little ones and a busy work schedule. But my two cents on the topics above are:

    – I’ve been fully restoring the sashes so far, including removal and re-bedding of each light in 6-light sashes, stripping off all old paint, patching and filling damage muntins, priming, and re-painting. At the rate I’m going, I’ll be done with all 40 windows in about 20 years. It may be easier to start leaving some of the glass in and not being so picky with the perfection of the paint finish.

    – Probably need to try Sarco. The Dap product isn’t terrible to work with, but I would like the re-glaze to go a little faster.

    – The M-glazing points are too tall for all of my windows, had to order diamond points on Amazon.

    – I’ve not had to use whiting at all, the drywall dust trick has worked really well. Just applying it with a dry brush seems to do the trick.

    – I’ve been finishing the windows except for the exterior painting, and then letting the putty cure in place. I paint the exteriors after they’ve been hanging for a couple of weeks. It’s a little annoying because you’re not 100% done as you’d like to be. But I noticed that if I went less than a week, the paint wouldn’t take well to the putty because of the remaining oil on the putty.

    – I also need to think about how much prep work I need to do on the openings. If you really want to, you can take every last piece of old paint off. But it’s really not worth it unless the paint is lose.

    – Parting stops have been a pain. The old ones tend to split either during removal of don’t want to go back in if they’ve been out for a while. When I’ve replaced them, I’ve had to run the material through the table saw because the stop material I get at Home Depot is just a hair to thick. Its almost as if the stop seat closes up when you pull the beads.

    1. Joh, sounds like you’re on the right track. Fully restoring old windows can be a lot of work. Some things to make it go a little easier would be:

      1. Get a pair of duck-bill Vice-Grips to help you get the parting bead out easier.
      2. If the putty bed isn’t in bad shape you can certainly leave it and not remove it completely. I’ve found that steam or infrared heat will soften the putty enough to make removal a lot easier.

      Good luck and fight the good fight!

  24. Sarco glaze is great, the question I have is what is the “dusting powder” product that professional glazers use right after glaze is applied. I’ve seen this and it looks like it cleans and seals the glaze.

    1. Ed, it’s called whiting and it absorbs all the extra oils on the putty and cleans the glass after you’re finished glazing. It’s the only way to go. In a pinch you can use powdered drywall compound for the same effect.

  25. Hi Scott, If I don’t want to buy Sarco to glaze just a window or 2, should I use the basic DAP glazing material or their Painter’s Putty 53?

    1. Cara, You can, but I’m not a fan of DAP’s glazing products. I find they fail prematurely. I’ll soon be offering Sarco putty on the blog in small quantities if you can wait a another month.

  26. Hi Scott,

    We used Sarco Dual Glaze in-situ and let it set for 3 weeks. We primed the sashes only (not the glazing) and then applied multiple coats of oil-based white paint. One month later, there is already mildew. It does not seem that the putty is mildewing, but more just mildew on the surface of the paint. We are in a very hot and humid climate. Might the mildew be a result of using oil-based paint? Or is it inevitable that mildew will show up if the windows stay wet (there is constantly condensation forming on them)? Thanks for any insight.

    1. Courtney, we fight the humid rainy summers down here in Florida too. I have had this happen to me a few times and haven’t honestly figured out exactly what the culprit is. There are a few things that will definitely help. First, oil-based paint used outside in a humid climate can mildew quickly if you don’t add a mildewicide to it. Even then it can happen in wet areas. Latex paint doesn’t do this nearly as much. Second, Sarco Dual-Glaze can be very oily and if that is the case I add some whiting to the putty to absorb some of the excess oils before glazing. Not too much because you don’t want to dry it out too quickly. Then after glazing clean the glass and glazing gently with whiting and an old paint brush. This helps absorb any surface oil and jumpstart the skinning over process. The putty may need more than 3 weeks before it’s ready for paint. I’ve waited 4 and even 5 weeks (because I forgot or got too busy) and still been fine and sometimes even had better results since more of the oils had dried. Let me know how it goes.

      1. Thanks, Scott! Really appreciate it. Might start some testing for different methods will let you know what works for us.

  27. Scott, I really appreciate your video and tips, thanks for sharing your expertise! Question for you-we have old wooden casement windows, about 51″ high and 21″ wide. Two are joined together so they can be slid, opening to the outside. Problem is, they are on a cottage on a lake up north, they’ve gotten heavy wear over the years, and my husband is leery of even trying to repair the wood muttons and outside frames of the window (he thinks the wood is in too bad of shape, but, I would like to save them). I know we need to scrape old paint off, sand, and prime before reglazing, but what if some of the wood muttons are in poor condition? Can I use wood putty to restore? At what point do you think windows would not be worth saving? Thanks so much for your comments!

      1. Scott, thanks so much for your reply! I will definitely take a look at the epoxy tutorial. As we begin our project, I’ll follow up!

  28. My windows were removed to have the weight ropes replaced a few years back and I finally have gotten the inside trim all repaired from this endeavor and now my glazing is failing (I got some water seepage on our last big sideways rain). So I’d really like to make this repair in place. Can I reglaze the outside without removing the panes and replacing the interior “seating” portion?

    1. Amy, you can glaze the windows without removing them. Just dig out the failing putty and install new finish glazing in place. Make sure you don’t wait too long to paint because the putty will mildew if left unpainted.

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