Home Window Repair

By Beth Krietsch
Windows with flowers and teapot

Having a cracked window or a window prone to air leaks can compromise the safety of your home and can jack up the cost of your energy bill. Common fixes for many window issues are less complicated than you may think. For anyone looking to tackle some DIY home window repair, here are a few fixes that are simple enough for most homeowners to handle.

How to replace window glass

Don’t delay in fixing a broken window. You can lose money on energy bills and invite unwanted pests into your home. Replacement directions will vary depending on window type, but here are a few basic guidelines for replacing single-pane windows.

Note that if rot is present around the entire window, replacement is a better choice than repair. And remember, safety is key when beginning any home window repair. If you don’t think you can safely replace the window, it’s best to call a professional.

Materials

  • Drop cloth
  • Masking tape
  • Chisel
  • Primer
  • Glazing compound
  • Gloves
  • Protective goggles
  1. Lay a drop cloth to catch any broken glass.
  2. Apply masking tape over the window panes so that shards fall and disperse as you remove the broken glass.
  3. Remove and clean up any broken glass from the window area. This usually requires a bit of diligence.
  4. Remove the window and eliminate any putty or vinyl glazing strips.
  5. Begin by removing the largest shards of glass, then moving on to the smaller pieces.
  6. Remove remaining pieces of glass and putty with a chisel.
  7. Once all glass and materials are removed, dust and clean all surfaces.
  8. Apply a coat of primer to the bare wood.
  9. Apply a layer of glazing compound into the grooves before inserting the new glass.
  10. Add another layer of glazing compound around the glass.
  11. Paint the frame and pop it back into place.

Double-pane windows are trickier to work with, and in most cases this type of home window repair should be done by a skilled professional.

How to replace a window screen

Replacing a window screen is a quick and simple home window repair job. To get started, you’ll need to pop the screen out of the window and make sure you have the following materials.

Materials

  • A replacement screen
  • Screen roller
  • Scissors
  • Spline
  • A screwdriver
  1. Use your screwdriver to remove and discard the spline that surrounds the screen.
  2. Cut and position your new screen material so that it overlaps the frame by about an inch.
  3. To prevent bunching, make a 45-degree angle cut at each corner, at a point just beyond the groove where the spline fits into the frame.
  4. Use the screen roller to push the screen into the frame so it fits the shape of the groove.
  5. Use the screen roller to install the new spline into the groove, starting in a corner and moving around the frame.
  6. Trim excess portions of screen or spline using your scissors or a sharp knife.
  7. Done—Your screen is now ready to secure back into place.

How to repair a leaking window

There’s no reason to put up with cool, drafty air slipping through your windows day and night. Though many drafty windows will need to be replaced to achieve full efficiency, repairs can extend the window’s lifespan until you’re ready to cough up the cash for a new one. Two options here are to:

  1. Install weather stripping around the frame or at the top and bottom of the sash.
  2. Add caulk to the window frames
    • Remove old and loose caulk with a putty knife.
    • Wash the window and remove any debris.
    • Apply a continuous layer of waterproof caulk around the space between the window and frame on each of the window’s edges.
    • Allow ample time for drying before repainting the window frame.

How to repair a rotten window sill

When just a small section of the windowsill is damaged, you can remove that area instead of replacing the entire sill. Here’s a quick breakdown of this simple home window repair job.

Materials

  • Saw
  • Router
  • Screws
  • Sandpaper
  1. Cut back the damaged section of the sill until you reach the next layer of wood.
  2. Cut a piece of wood that’s just a bit larger than the portion you removed, then use a router to cut the proper drip groove.
  3. Set the new section in place with screws (ensuring they won’t keep the window from opening or closing), then sand down until smooth.

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