Replacing Just Glass In Vinyl Windows


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Old 03-30-11, 03:52 PM
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Replacing Just Glass In Vinyl Windows

Can most vinyl replacement windows have just the glass replaced? Is there any where I can print a step by step instruction from internet. I know that it would be easier to just replace the whole thing but my father insists on me just doing the glass. I have respect for the old man so I will do it his way. Just have to find a good source of info. I have taken a look at the windows and it seems like I will have to remove the whole window out of wall and start taking it apart piece by piece. Is this possible, which I was told its been done on these already, where would be the best directions. Thank you for any info.
 
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Old 03-30-11, 04:13 PM
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Yes you can replace just the glass, on 99.9% of all vinyl windows. They usually have a glazing strip that has to be removed from one side of the glass. Usually you'll see it as a 5/8" wide moulding around the interior edge of the glass. You can take the sash out to work on it, if it's more convenient. You take a sharp chisel, insert it into the groove, and start tapping on one end of it until it starts to come out. Keep in mind that when you've done this a few hundred times, you learn not to beat up the vinyl. The first few times you do it, you will probably booger up the vinyl with the chisel, but once you get the hang of it, you can get them off with minimal damage.

Once the glazing strips are off, you will find that the glass is glazed by either silicone on the opposite side of the sash, or it's held in place with double faced tape. In either case, you have to cut the glazing loose in order for the insulating glass unit (IGU) to come out. They make a couple different deglazing tools. You might be able to make one by bending a dinner knife at a 45 degree angle. A pizza cutter would also work, if bent at an angle away from the glass. I've also used a linoleum knife (put in a vise, heated with a torch and bent at an angle.) This is probably one of the best home-made ones I have used.

It's critical that you get replacement glass that is exactly the same size and thickness. You will also need rubber spacer blocks to put around the perimeter of the glass that are the same thickness as your IGU. To measure the IGU without actually taking it out, they make a caliper that goes around the sash and pinches the glass, giving you a readout. The big glass shops do it with a handy measuring device that has a laser. You can remove the glazing strips to measure the actual height and width of the IGU. Then either put them back on or leave them off until the glass has been delivered.

When you replace the IGU, it's also critical that you use the correct thickness of glazing. If it was silicone, well, you just caulk it and wet glaze it that way. But if it was glazed with two faced tape, you have to have the exact thickness of tape in order for the glazing strips to go back on- if you use too thick or too thin of glazing tape, it will push the glass too far in, or too far out, and the glazing strips will either be too tight or too loose to go back on the way they were before.

You put the rubber setting blocks around the perimeter of the glass so that there is space around the edge of the IGU, and so that the sash will remain just as square as the glass is. This is especially important with a casement window. If you don't put setting blocks on all 4 sides, blocking the corners so that the sash can't "slip" the sash will likely not stay square, and it either won't close, or it EVENTUALLY won't close right.

You might be able to find some step by step directions on youtube, but I'm not too sure. I've never needed to look for them! Good luck and if you have any questions just ask.

If you have the tools and the materials to do it, it's really not that hard, but the problem is not knowing exactly what you're getting into until you take one apart. It also takes some experience to judge what size glazing tape you have/had after you've mangled it all up.

Your best bet would be to track down the mfg, since most vinyl windows are covered by a warranty that lasts 10 if not 20 yrs. Even if you're not the original owner, some companies will still stand behind their windows- IF you know what brand they are.
 
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Old 03-30-11, 04:18 PM
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That was info worth a million dollars, thank you for the time and energy you just used to help me. I am extremely grateful
 
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Old 03-30-11, 04:32 PM
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A million dollars??? Now I can take that cruise I've always dreamed about! LOL

Glad to help.
 
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Old 03-31-11, 09:50 AM
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We replace glass a lot - the seals don't last all that long but the frame is just fine
 
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Old 03-31-11, 10:43 AM
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Sometimes the vinyl frame is assembled around the IGU and welded together. It can still be repaired, but needs to be done by a company that can cut the frame, replace the IGU and reweld (or glue) it back.

You should check into the costs of both repair and replacement...sometimes it's much cheaper to just get a new sash (if not under warranty), though rarely will the colors match the old weathered parts of the window.
 
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Old 03-31-11, 03:49 PM
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Just a thought, but most manufacturers warranty the glass for 20 yrs, some longer. Some don't even care why it needs to be replaced. Often they will send you a new sash.
 
 

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