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How To: Reglaze Your Old Windows (Video Tutorial)

How To: Reglaze Your Old Windows (Video Tutorial)Learning 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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157 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.

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