How to Fix Broken Double-Pane Windows

broken window-pane glass
  • 48 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 180-300
What You'll Need
Measuring tape
Safety gloves
Safety goggles
Utility knife
Hacksaw (optional)
Window sealant
Cut-to-size glass replacement

The sound of a window breaking can immediately send chills down a homeowner's spine. How much will it cost to hire a professional to fix it? Luckily, double-pane windows can be fixed at home with the right tools and some patience.

If you have aluminum windows and only one side of the glass is broken, you can replace just that side. However, doing so is risky, so it’s best to replace the entire unit. If you have vinyl double-pane windows, you have no choice but to replace the entire unit. To begin, read the steps below.

Step 1 – Order the Right Size

First, order the right size of glass to replace the broken one. Measure the interior of the frame and then find out how much glass you must install in it. This interior measurement is usually about 1/2 inch on all sides. Add 1 inch to each side of the measurement to account for the framing.

Step 2 – Know the Thickness

Another important measurement is the thickness of the glass and the space between the glass. Measure the thickness of the glass, and keep this on hand. To have the glass fit into the frame correctly, the glass shop will install a spacer for you in between the two layers of glass.

Step 3 – Prepare the Frame

While you're waiting for your glass to be shipped to you, you can get your frame ready.

Removing the Outer Frame

First, remove the outer section of the frame. You may need to remove screws or slide the sides up or down to remove them, depending on your frame.

Removing the Seal

Remove whatever is left of the glass and the seal. Wear gloves to use a utility knife if you need to cut the seal away.

For metal frames, you may need to use a hacksaw to cut through the seal. Take all appropriate safety measures the hacksaw’s manufacturer provides, including wearing safety goggles and gloves.

Step 4 – Install the Glass

Apply a new seal to the lower edge of the frame. After you’ve applied the seal according to its directions, you can apply the glass. Then, apply the second seal. After the second seal is applied, place the top portion of the frame back in place. Use slight pressure to form a seal all around the window. Let the seal cure for 24 hours before installing the fixed double-pane window.