Things You'll Need
2 – 2-by-4s cut to support the window
Thin bladed putty knife
Replacement window glass
2-sided adhesive tape, 1/16th or 1/8th inch thickness
Vinyl double pane windows are a modern, energy-efficient innovation in building materials. These economical windows look great, keep your house quiet, and save can save you a lot of money on heating and cooling costs. The downside of the more involved window technology is that when the window glass breaks, it can be somewhat trickier to replace than the old single-pane windows. Oftentimes a window professional will need to be called, and this can get expensive. You can save a lot of money by fixing that broken window glass yourself.
Remove the window from the frame and set it on a couple of 2-by-4s.
Remove the window stops from the window frame. Slide a thin bladed putty knife in between the edge of the window frame and the stop and carefully pry the stop away from the frame. Take care not to damage the stops, as they can be difficult to replace.
Turn the window over and use your putty knife to cut the adhesive tape holding the window in the frame. Slide the putty knife between the glass and the tape and break the bond holding the window in the frame.
Clean the window frame. Use your putty knife to scrape away as much of the old adhesive tape as possible. Then use pint thinner or a similar solvent to remove any leftover gunk.
Apply new adhesive tape to the window. Cut these strips to length and lay them within the window frame.
Position the new glass inside the window frame, on top of the 2-sided adhesive tape. Take great care when positioning the glass inside the frame. Once it makes contact with the adhesive, it will stick fast, so get it right the first time!
Replace the window stops by pressing them back into place over the glass and into the window frame.
Position the repaired window back inside the window opening and lock it into place.
Before you take on a window repair, make sure the window is no longer under warranty. If the product is warranted, you may be able to get a new window at no cost; and if you attempt to repair the window yourself, you may void any existing warranty.
If you can't free the broken glass from the adhesive tape, you may have to break the glass out with a hammer and remove the pieces. Place cardboard over the glass to avoid flying shards.
On certain types of vinyl double pane windows, the glass simply cannot be replaced without causing severe damage to the sash. In these cases, consult a window professional. You may end up having to buy a whole new window.
Always wear eye protection and gloves when working with glass.
Robert Howard has been writing professionally since 2004 and writes a weekly column for the "Synthesis," a Chico, Calif.-based newspaper. He maintains a blog and has published articles and works of fiction in a variety of different print and online magazines. Howard holds a Bachelor of Arts in visual arts from the University of California, San Diego.