Fixing a Broken, Single-Pane Window
To fix a broken window, you can always call a glass shop to come fix it for you, but you’ll be paying out the nose and then some for something that’s not too difficult to do yourself. Really! But you have to be cautious. You have two options when fixing a window:
- You can have the widow replaced with a new one or
- You can replace just the broken pane of glass
If you have a single-pane window, it’s likely that your house is over 50 years old and all of your windows are single pane. All of the glass shops I talked to won’t replace old wooden frames with new ones because they have to custom-build the frames, which gets really expensive. The two major versions of modern window you would likely be choosing from are ones that require a vinyl or aluminum frame. Aluminum is less expensive but more tacky, and vinyl is sturdy but only comes in a few colors. Since our house is in a historical district, we found out that you can replace old windows out with vinyl and still have it be historical, but you do lose a bit of the old house feel.
In any case, if you’re going to replace out one window frame with a new one, you should be planning on replacing all the windows within the next couple years.
We Chose the Do-it-Yourself Window Repair Method
We chose to fix the panes of glass, as we were on a tight budget and I was in the mood to learn something new. In our house, we had several windows that needed replacing. One was a 4 by 3 foot with a crack down the middle (it was being held together with packaging tape when we bought the house, which was actually a good thing seeing how easy it was to fix and how much it lowered the perceived value of the house), another about half that size (which had been painted over with white paint … what were the previous owners thinking?!), and six smaller ones for the basement that had been spray painted over with some very colorful material.
Getting the Glass for your New Window
I learned an important lesson when shopping around for glass, and it was this: don’t try to cut the glass yourself! We went to Home Depot for our glass, and their glass-cutter was not functional. The customer rep, trying to be helpful, pointed out a 10-dollar hand held glass cutter I could take home to cut the glass myself. He demonstrated how to use it on a piece of scrap glass that was laying around. The cutter works by scratching a groove in the glass with one side, then you use the other side to tap the groove to increase the likelihood of a clean break, and then you break the glass over a strait edge of wood. It didn’t work for the customer rep. The glass broke in a jagged mess, and gave me a powerful indicator that I would likely not do much better.
So we went to a different Home Depot to purchase the glass and get it cut. Later, I found out that I needed an additional pane of glass for the basement and purchased it at our local glass shop. Their prices were pretty comparable and they also cut the glass themselves.
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Thanks for reading!