window glazing and repair

This painter’s favorite job!


Window glazing is a multi-step process involving as many as 50 different tools and materials:

protective eyewear, gloves, dust mask
dropcloth, two stepladders and plank
screwdriver or drill with screwdriver bit
small vise-grip
hornet spray
side-cutter pliers
painter’s 5-in-1 tool (dull)
utility knife
5-in-1 (sharp)
razor scraper, blades
shop-vac, extension cord
bleach, pail, hose, old paint brush
heat gun
tape measure
glass, glass cutter, ruler, magic marker
boiled linseed oil, disposable brush, rag
glazing compound, whiting
glazing points
putty knife
oil-based primer, brush
finish paint, brush
window cleaner, squeegee, small pad painter, newspaper or paper towels
low quality caulk
storm window screws, drill bit for aluminum
shutter screws and paint

step 1: Set up a plank between two step ladders, over a dropcloth.

step 2: If the window casing is to be painted and there are shutters overlapping the casing, remove the shutter screws using the screwdriver or drill, or, if the heads are stripped, a vise-grip, keeping the bug-spray on hand in case of active hornets’ nests behind the shutters. If the shutters are attached with plastic plugs use the vise grip, snipping off the heads with the side-cutter if necessary.

step 3: If there is a storm window, such as an aluminum triple-track, remove the screws using the screwdriver, drill, or vise-grip, or, if you can’t grip the heads, chop off the heads with a hammer and chisel. If the storm won’t pull off easily because it was caulked with a high-quality caulk, hammer the dull 5-in-1 under the flange and around the edges, starting on the left side if you’re right-handed.

step 4: Scrape loose paint with a scraper, pry out loose putty with a utility knife or the sharp 5-in-1, vacuum.

step 5: Do any necessary disc-sanding on the casing and sill, vacuum.

step 6: Wash off any mildew with a bleach-water mixture using an old paintbrush, rinse and allow to dry.

step 7: Remove all putty over any cracked panes, and any other putty in poor condition, using the utility knife, sharp 5-in-1, and scraper, softening carefully with the heat gun where needed. Scrape old paint off glass with the razor scraper. Sand all surfaces with sandpaper, vacuum.

step 8: Measure the size of panes to be replaced (actual opening size minus 1/8″), and cut from your glass, or buy cut from the hardware store.

step 9: Remove glazing points and cracked panes, pushing out from inside the house if necessary. Remove bedding putty that was behind the glass. Dispose of glass appropriately and vacuum. Coat surfaces to be puttied with linseed oil and wipe off excess.

step 10: Apply a new 1/8″ bed of glazing compound for new panes, place panes and secure in place with points. Remove excess putty squeezed out on inside of pane.

step 11. Apply glazing compound around new panes using putty knife or glazing tool. Adjust consistency of putty with linseed oil and whiting if needed. Fill gaps where old putty was removed or cut into around other panes. Don’t add a thin layer over existing putty in good condition (can peel and curl up in heat). Allow glazing compound to cure until skin forms.

step 12: Prime new putty and bare wood with oil-based primer.

Step 13: Paint with finish paint. Paint 1/16″ onto the glass if there’s no storm window, to keep moisture from getting between the putty and glass.

step 14: Scrape excess paint off the glass with razor scraper.

step 15: Clean window panes, using small painting pad dipped in window cleaner on residue from putty and linseed oil (easier to avoid disturbing new putty).

step 16: Scrape old caulk off storm window flanges, recaulk with low-quality caulk, and reinstall using new screws where needed. Drill new holes where old screw shafts could not be removed.

step 17: Reinstall shutters with new stainless steel screws where needed and paint the new screw heads the color of the shutters.

Copyright 2015 Steven E. Atwood