How to Repair a Glass Window (And Avoid a Costly Replacement)

Wild pitch? Thankfully, there's a DIY window fix

Paige Bennett
Written by Paige Bennett
Updated July 25, 2022
A father and son sitting by the window reading their books
Photo: Tom Werner / DigitalVision / Getty Images
Difficulty

Intermediate

Perfect for handy homeowners.

Time to complete

1 hour, 30 minutes

You’ll need this amount of time per window, and it includes drying time.

Cost

$0–$25

Save big by DIYing.

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What you'll need:

TOOLS

  • Safety glasses
  • Cut-resistant work gloves
  • Heat gun
  • Utility knife or razor blade
  • Cleaning cloths

SUPPLIES

  • Dish soap
  • Two-part epoxy
  • Duct tape or painter’s tape
  • Paper plate
  • Wooden craft sticks
  • Glass cleaner

A cracked window is never a welcome surprise, but thanks to a stray baseball or hazardous objects, like rogue tree branches getting caught up in a windstorm, you may have this project on your hands.

Fortunately, cracked glass repair is easy with some simple materials. If you have recently discovered a fissure in one of your home’s windows, mirrors, or other treasured glass items, consider the following do-it-yourself, step-by-step process for repairing glass.

  1. Remove the Glass

    If you need to remove the glass from its current location, it’s important to do so carefully to avoid getting cut by broken shards. Put on safety goggles and protective gloves, then tape an "X" shape in the middle of the glass you plan on removing (use the duct tape or blue painter’s tape). That way, if the glass shatters as you remove it, the tape will hold all the pieces together and reduce the risk of injury.

    Remove the broken pane of glass—ideally in one fell swoop—from its frame, whether it be a mirror frame, a coffee table, or a windowpane. With gloved hands, gently wiggle out any pieces that get stuck. You might have to use your heat gun to warm the putty or old glazing compound around the edges of the windowpane to loosen any final stubborn glass pieces. If need be, run the utility knife along the edge. Again, be careful.

  2. Clean the Cracked Glass

    Whether you plan to move the glass or not, you’ll need to clean away dirt, debris, fingerprints, and other smudges on the glass before you begin the repairs. Use dish soap, warm water, and a cleaning cloth to wipe carefully around the cracked glass. Be sure to keep on the safety goggles and cut-resistant gloves—even the light pressure causes the crack to deepen and break.

  3. Prepare the Epoxy

    Two-part epoxy is a strong adhesive that will help you repair broken or cracked glass, but it dries quickly. You’ll need to have your workspace prepped and ready to go before you start mixing up the epoxy. Lay out sheets of cardboard, and place the taped glass here—tape side down—if you removed the glass from its original location.

    Cut open the two-part epoxy, which contains a resin and a hardener, and pour the contents onto a clean spot of the cardboard or on a paper plate. Mix the epoxy with a wooden craft stick or toothpick for about 20 seconds or as directed on the product package.

  4. Apply the Epoxy

    It’s now time to move swiftly before the epoxy hardens. Use a wooden craft stick or a putty knife, depending on the size of the crack, to apply the epoxy to the damaged area. Allow the epoxy to cure for about five minutes or per the package instructions.

    • Separated pieces of glass: For multiple pieces of broken glass, apply the epoxy to the broken edges of each piece, then push them together to attach.

    • Cracked glass: For one piece of glass, simply spread the epoxy over the cracked surface of the glass.

  5. Cut Away Excess Epoxy

    With gentle pressure, use a utility knife or razor blade to scrape excess epoxy off the surface of the glass. Keep the knife or razor blade flush with the glass and at a low angle, about 15 degrees. Move the blade away from your body to prevent accidental injuries.

  6. Cure and Clean

    A man brushes window frame
    Photo: Cavan Images / Cavan / Getty Images

    Once the excess epoxy is cleared away and the glass surface is smooth and even again, allow the epoxy to cure for another 24 hours. Now that the glass is dry and smooth, use a cleaning cloth and glass cleaner to clean the surface, removing any fingerprints or dust. Sweep or vacuum up any leftover glass shards. Remove any tape and replace the glass panel back in its frame.

DIY Window Repair vs. Hiring a Window Professional

Before you begin the repair process, you should first inspect the window and evaluate whether or not the glass is worth repairing in the first place. If the glass has suffered significant damage, you should turn it over to the hands of a local window glass repair pro.

DIYing a glass window repair will cost up to $25 for supplies and around $200 for tools, depending on the size of your break and the quality of the materials you buy. Heat guns, the most expensive item on the tool list, range from $25 to $150, but you may not need one. The costs vary based on region, but hiring a pro to come out to your home will probably run you at least $40 to $70 per hour in labor.

Additional Questions

Can glass be melted together?

Known as glass fusing, glass sheets or cracked glass can be melted together. But this process requires extremely high temperatures, around 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit to 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit, and a kiln to properly melt the glass.

When should I consider replacing glass?

It may be worth it to repair small cracks or chips in a glass window, but extensive damage may warrant replacing the whole window. Also, if the frame is damaged, it’s best to replace the whole window.

Broken glass or window frames can be costly, especially because they allow heat or cool air to escape your home, increasing your energy bills. Rain may also seep in, leading to costly water damage.

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