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How To Replace Window Glass In A Vinyl Frame In 7 Steps

crack on window glass

Good quality vinyl windows can last 15 to 20 years, but replacing the whole window, including the vinyl frames, is not only expensive but might be unnecessary. The frames may still have life left in them, and, fortunately, it is possible to replace just the window glass without having to replace the whole frame.

If you have the right materials and tools, it’s a job that you can complete and save money compared to the cost of brand-new windows. If the manufacturer welded the frame around the glass, it can be a lot more challenging to remove the pane for replacement, but it is still possible.

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Tools Needed

Having the right tools will not only make the job easier, it will also ensure that you have a windowpane that sits snugly in the frame. Be sure that you have the following items before you start work:

  • Composite fasteners
  • Caulk gun
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Glass sheet
  • Heat gun
  • Paint scraper
  • Sandpaper
  • Adhesive tape

It is a good idea to have the replacement glazing pane ready before you start, but one of the most important steps to a successful replacement is ensuring that you get the right size and the right thickness. This might only be possible once you’ve removed the existing window.

You can also use a measuring caliper that you attach to the window to measure the pane before you remove it. Getting the pane ready before you start means you won’t be left with a gaping hole in your house if you struggle to get the replacement glazing immediately.

It is also worth noting that some manufacturers offer a warranty on the windowpane, so it might be worth contacting them to see whether they will send a replacement window out to you.

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How To Replace Window Glass in a Vinyl Frame

1. Remove the Sash

It will be easier to work on the sash if you take it down first. Release the tabs on the sash and lean the top of the sash in your direction before pulling it free. It may take some twisting to free the sash from the frame but don’t pull too hard. Ask somebody for help if you’re struggling because they can hold the frame while you see where it needs to wriggle free.

Once the sash is removed, put it safely on a table, facing up.

man installing window
Photo Credit By: ronstik, Shutterstock

2. Remove the Vinyl Glazing Stops

Under the frame, vinyl stops prevent the panes from coming out. Use a flat-head screwdriver and place it against the rim of the stop before knocking on the screwdriver handle so the stop comes away. You will have to repeat the process for all the stops around the pane.

3. Remove the Caulk

The window is likely fastened using double-sided tape or silicone caulk, and you will need to remove this before you can pull the pane free. Use a sharp blade or a specialist deglazing knife to cut the caulk away from the window. Repeat the process around the whole window and ensure that you have somebody to hold the glass and prevent it from falling once it is removed.

4. Pull Out the Glass

If you don’t have replacement glass, now is the time to get it. The replacement must be the exact dimensions and thickness of the pane you’re removing. Otherwise, it won’t fit, or it won’t remain stable and may wobble loose. Even the tape you use should be the same thickness.

windows installation
Photo Credit By: Dmitry Kalinovsky, Shutterstock

5. Source Replacement Glass

Once you have the replacement glass, add double-sided tape to the window lengthwise and carefully place the window in the frame. The double-sided tape adhesive will work quickly, so you must ensure that you are as accurate as possible, or it will be challenging to move into place afterward.

6. Replace the Glass

Use setting blocks around the edge of the glass. These prevent the glass from slipping during installation. If you don’t use them, the pane will likely move out of position. This can cause problems immediately, or the pane might slip in the future and become impossible to open or close.

worker handling a glass
Photo Credit By: Ikonoklast Fotografie, Shutterstock

7. Replace the Stops

Once the window is in place, snap the stops back into position and put the window back in the frame, ensuring that it sits flush and opens and closes smoothly and reliably.

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Replacing the window glass in a vinyl frame can prevent you from having to replace or pay to replace the whole window and window frame. You will need somebody to help, primarily holding the glass for you so it doesn’t slip, and you will benefit from having the right tools and the same dimension and thickness of glass ready before you start. Take your time, use the setting blocks when replacing the pane, and ensure the glass is level after you install it.

Featured Image Credit: Lina Mo, Shutterstock


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