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How to Replace Glass in a Storm Window in 9 Steps

shattered window glass

What do you do when something shatters your storm window? You could replace the whole window, but why not just replace the glass?

It’s easier than you think, and it can save you quite a bit of money because you don’t need to order the rest of the parts. If you’re thinking about replacing the glass of your broken storm window instead of the entire window, you’ve come to the right place. We walk you through everything that you need to know!

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What You’ll Need

The last thing that you want to happen after you dive into a job is to realize that you don’t have everything that you need. In addition to the following tools, double-check how you need to assemble the frame of your storm window. While you can tear apart and repair most window frames, if you have to drill out the connecting pieces, you can’t simply replace the glass.

While you can drill out the connecting pieces, no one sells the new clips that you’ll need to put everything back together!

  • Protective gloves (leather preferred)
  • Measuring tape
  • Clamps
  • Rubber mallet
  • Ruler
  • Safety glasses
  • Vacuum
  • New glass
  • Woodblock
  • New gasket (if the old one is damaged)

Getting the Parts That You Need

Unfortunately, you can’t just head out to the local hardware store and get everything that you need to replace the glass in your storm window. Typically, to get both the glass and the gasket that you need for a storm window, you need to order it directly from the manufacturer.

This typically takes a little while, so if you’re in a rush and can’t wait for the parts to come in, you might need to just replace the whole thing. It’s also why it’s important to check that you have everything that you need ahead of time. The last thing that you want is to get your new parts in, only to realize that you have to place another order because you don’t have something that you need.

Preparing Your Work Area

Before you get started, there are a few things that you should do to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible. First, you need to ensure that you have somewhere to safely dispose of old materials, especially broken glass.

Second, you need to have a large enough workspace to install the new glass and complete the rest of the work. We recommend an elevated worktable or a few wooden blocks to set the frame on.

These might not seem like major things, but if you don’t do them beforehand, you might find that your quick and easy window replacement can turn into a nightmare.

How to Replace Glass in a Storm Window (9 Steps)

1. Remove Broken Glass

The first thing that you need to do when you’re replacing a broken storm window is to take the old glass out! While you can move on to the next step with the broken glass still in the frame, it greatly increases the risk that you cut or injure yourself.

Wear your protective gloves and safety glasses during this step to help reduce the risk of injury. We recommend leather gloves because they offer a bit more protection, but any thick protective style gloves will work.

When you’re removing the broken glass, ensure that you dispose of it properly and take out all the broken pieces. You might need to break the window a bit more to get all the glass out during this step. To do so, you can gently tap it with the rubber mallet to work out all the pieces.

broken window glass
Image Credit: Eyasu Etsub, Unsplash

2. Remove the Frame

Once you have the broken glass out of the frame, it’s time to take the frame out. This involves physically removing the frame from the wall. How you remove it depends on the exact type of storm window that you have, but all you typically need to do is push on the bottom latches and push the window up.

Once you have the window pushed out of the bottom track a bit, pull the bottom of the window toward you and slide the top pins out of the track. Once you have the frame out of the wall, set it down on a flat working surface and move on to the next step.


3. Measure the Frame

You can’t install a new window into the frame if it’s the wrong size, so once you have the window out of the wall, take the time to measure it out. Measure the height and width of the frame, and measure the width of the channel that the window sits in.

Take that width measurement, multiply it by two, and add it to the other height and width measurements of the window.

This gives you all the measurements that you need to ensure that you’re getting the perfect windowpane and will save you from countless hours of frustration trying to get a window into a frame when it doesn’t fit.


4. Disassemble the Frame (If Applicable)

Once you’re sure that you have the right-sized windowpane, it’s time to start taking apart the frame. Not every frame requires you to disassemble it, though. There are a few different ways that you need to do this, depending on the type of window that you have.

If you need to drill out the pins holding the frame together, you can’t repair it yourself because you can’t get the special pins that you need to reinstall the frame.

However, there are three different types of frames that you can disassemble and put back together after installing new glass. First, some window frames simply have a screw in each corner holding it together. If that’s the case, simply take the screws out and the frame should come apart.

Second, some windows only use glazing spline to be held together. It’s a press-fitted gasket that holds everything in place. As long as the gasket is still in good shape, you can just pull apart the frame and reuse the gasket.

Finally, some windows use corner fasteners with a gasket. With these windows, you need to remove or unlock each corner fit fastener and then remove the gasket.

worker handling a glass
Image Credit: Ikonoklast Fotografie, Shutterstock

5. Inspect/Replace the Gasket

Once you have the frame pulled apart, it’s time to inspect the gasket. If it looks like it’s still in good shape and doesn’t have any tears or cracks, you can reuse it. However, if you do find cracks or tears, you’ll likely need to custom-order a new gasket or create your own.


6. Install New Glass

Once you have the frame pulled apart and the old glass out of the window, it’s time to install the new window. Put the gasket around the edge of the glass, and slide the window and gasket into the frame’s channel.

Gently tap into place with a rubber mallet so it sits flush into the channel. Do this all the way around the frame so it sits completely in place and has a flush and firm fitment around the entire frame.


7. Reassemble the Frame (If Applicable)

Once the glass is in place, reassemble the frame so it’s back in place. Once again, it depends on the type of window that you have for the exact steps, but all you need to do is reinstall any hardware that you removed during the disassembly process.


8. Reinstall Window

Once you put the frame back together, it’s time to put the window back in the wall. The process comes down to the exact style of window that you have, but you usually just need to reinstall the hardware that you took out during the removal phase.

man installing storm window
Image Credit: Michael OKeene, Shutterstock

9. Add Final Touches

Once the window is back up and in place, it’s time to put on the final touches. This means cleaning up any excess gasket around the window and covering up any hardware that you don’t want to see. There’s nothing else that you must do at this point, so it’s all about what’s most aesthetically pleasing to you!

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Final Thoughts

There’s something satisfying about repairing something instead of replacing it, and the project replacing the glass inside a storm window is no different. Just keep in mind that due to the cost and time factors associated with replacing the glass, it’s not always the best option out there.

So, take a hard look at your capabilities and how long it will take — and how much you can save — before deciding that replacing the glass is the right choice for you. But if you do decide go ahead, tackle the project with the confidence that comes with knowing that you can get the job done!

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Featured Image Credit: Republica, Pixabay

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