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How to Replace True Divided Light Window Glass
Our friend has an old house that is full of charm and character that only old houses show. Living with an old house brings with it various maintenance problems, as he asked last weekend. He asked how to fix a broken window in the back windshield of his house.
Our friend was lucky, he has an old wooden door, which can be repaired without much trouble. The glass door is divided into nine pieces, each of these pieces or parts are separated by wood. This door system is known as a split light panel. Not all doors are built this way, some will have a single piece of glass that covers the entire opening window and instead of having wooden dividers between each section, molding is used on the glass. On the other side of the mirror is also created a small section which is used to give the appearance of split light.
For a door or window with split light panels, the glass of each section can be removed and replaced individually, and here’s how to do it. Inside the glass, the glass usually has a putty known as glazing compound. On the outside of the glass, a widow’s latch will hold the glass in place. The first step in removing broken glass is to remove the glazing. The best tool for this is a flamethrower, which looks like a hair dryer on steroids. The heat gun is the industrial type, which has a higher temperature than your hair dryer, but the idea is the same.
The first thing you should do is put on good work gloves. I recommend leather. Cotton or garden gloves won’t protect you from the sharp edges of the glass you’re working on, so spend a few bucks and get some good leather gloves. The second thing to do and just as important as working gloves, is to wear good safety glasses. This will protect your eyes from pieces of glass that may fly up.
Now with a dry knife in hand, take your heat gun and heat the glazing. It will take a few minutes for the compound to soften enough to be able to remove it from the glass. I like to be careful before I start working on broken glass. If the glass is cracked, I like to use masking tape on the glass in a crisscross pattern. Place tape on both sides of the glass. This will help keep the glass in one piece until you are ready to remove it. If the glass is already broken then remove as many loose pieces as possible before working on the glass.
After removing the double glazing, it is time to remove the glazing points. These are the small pieces of metal that are used to close the window by stopping the wood. You can use your putty knife to remove this. When the glazing is removed, the glass must come out of the opening. This is one place where gloves are needed. Remove all broken glass, and then clean the area under the glass.
Find replacement glass at your local DIY store or glass dealer. The traditional way is to just put the glass back in the door and protect it with glazing and double glazing, however many home decorators recommend running a bead of silicon caulk under the glass to seal it, and this makes sense to me. Stop breathing wherever you can. One trick I’ve learned the hard way, open the glass area next to where you’re going to apply silicon caulk with masking tape. Silicon is a real pain, excuse the pun, to remove from glass. The tape prevents any squeezing.
Once the glass and silicon are in place, place the new glass inside the glass. This is easy to apply with the flat face of your putty knife. Place two knots on the edge of each glass. Then it’s time to reinstall the double glazing. Take some of the stock out of the can it came in, and hold it in your hand. Work until you have made a long, soft double snake, then place the snake on the window. After you have the compound on all four sides of the glass, take your putty knife and clean the surface of the glazing. The best way is to hold a putty knife at a sharp angle with one edge up against the glass, and pull the knife from one corner to the other. Don’t stop in the middle, it’s too hard to restart. Be patient, it takes practice for the end to look good.
And just like that you are done. Of course, if your door is not made of wood, then this repair may not work for you. New modern doors will have windows that have metal bars around the windows that often create a unique design. In addition, most modern windows are double-glazed with gas vents between the panels. This inert gas helps the window to be more energy efficient. So new windows cannot be repaired by the average home owner. You can get a new glass assembly including a frame from the manufacturer.
But, if like our friend, you have big split panels, yes you can fix it. But maybe now would be a good time to consider replacing the entire door with a passive unit. Depending on the circumstances, this change may give you 2009 interest.
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