Chips, small holes, and minor cracks in your home’s windows are going to happen. Common mishaps can be a pebble flung from a mower or weed-whacker, a bad football pass, even a bird flying into the window. Cracked or broken glass needs immediate attention.
“Broken glass cannot be repaired,” said Dennis Rusk, owner, ABC Glass Co. “It must be replaced.”
Replace, don’t repair
Rusk does not recommend fixing broken glass yourself for two reasons, “It’s dangerous and it won’t look very good.”
Broken glass can further break, crack, or shatter. The edges are very sharp. You will get cut if you perform any parallel or sliding motion across them.
Repairing a pane of glass is not the same as repairing a cracked windshield. Windshield glass has three layers and is laminated — glass, plastic, glass. The glue goes against the plastic which, prevents it from spreading where it does not belong. On a glass pane, there is nothing to stop the glue plus, the crack keeps running.
If you can’t get a professional over right away, adhere clear packing tape to both sides of the pane along the crack or chip. The tape will keep the weather out, but it is not a long-term solution.
Rusk notes that it is critical to provide an accurate overall thickness of the unit to the glass company. For dual pane windows, that is the thickness of the exterior glass, spacer, and interior glass. If the measurements are not correct, the glass will not fit properly in the channel.
The color of the glass is also important. One side is clear, and the other side is either low-emissivity (low-E) glass or bronze. Low-e is a thin, see-through layer of silver or tin oxide on the glass that prevents heat from penetrating the glass, allowing the window to be more energy efficient. “There are 10 different types of low-e, so we have to get as close as we can for that pane to match the other windows,” Rusk said.
Glass shower doors, tables
Don’t mess around with cracked shower doors and tabletops. Damage on those items pose a serious safety risk, especially if the door suddenly shatters while you are in the shower or the table splits during dinner. Replace those right away.
Dual pane windows, doors
It’s time to reglaze when the pane breaks or deteriorates.
Glazing is the hardened putty that creates a weathertight seal on the exterior of the window between the wood and the glass. Over time the glazing can fall off or crack, leaving the window vulnerable to the elements.
Windows can be reglazed using the existing frame by ordering a custom-size new insulated glass unit. That assembly can be installed without having to disrupt the exterior siding or interior finish.
Broken balancers common
First, if you are not familiar with the terminology, a sash window or hung sash window is made of one or more movable panels, or “sashes,” that form a frame to hold panes of glass, which are often separated from other panes by glazing bars. When the balancing spring or cord breaks, the window can’t be raised or lowered. You can replace the part, and the window can operate properly again.
A balancer is the part of a single-hung window that counter-balances the weight of a sash when you open and close a window. Broken balancers are a common window issue due to wear and tear.
There are two types of balancers: two-block and tackle and round tube.
The block and tackle balancer includes a sturdy stainless-steel spring, a pulley system, and a parachute cord that works together to open and close the window sash.
In a round tube balancer, the rod and spring assembly are encased inside a tube. In Rusk’s opinion, round tubes are very difficult to replace. “You must make sure you know the kind of clip that is on there. It is not as easy as it sounds,” he says.
The DIY of any broken glass project is to call a professional who will safely remove the glass, ensure the right type and size is ordered, and will install the new pane, door, or top.
Improve your ball passing skills or be mindful where you weed whack, and you will be able to enjoy your windows “panefree.”