Home inspection findings by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck, Professional Real Estate Inspector TREC# 9073

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Replacing a Pane of Glass on an Aluminum Window Frame

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Originally from the forum: repairing a pane of glass in a window

Before my roof inspection today, my sister-in-law had asked if I could come to repair her broken window. She said that she had a new pane already. I thought that I would share the steps.

Step 1. Take out the old glass. The glass is held in place by a bead of silicone on the frame and a vinyl strip which also is held in by silicone. Clean the frame entirely. Any glass shard or piece of silicone will prevent the new pane from sitting properly in this opening. Note: use gloves when removing broken glass; other wise you will get a bad cut. You can clean off the old silicone with a putty knife or any old knife. You could also wear safety glasses. Wise idea.

Step 2. Measure the size of the opening where the glass was sitting. My sister-in-law had measured from another part of the frame so her glass pane was too large for the are where it should sit. Measure twice to ensure it is accurate.

Step 3. Run a bead of a clear silicone for the glass to adhere to. This silicone prevents the glass from rattling and it stops heat loss/air flow. Check that it is a silicone meant for this application.

Step 4. Measure and cut the vinyl strips to go on the exterior of the window. This is better done before the glass has been set in place. This step can come before 3, but at this time, I unwrap the glass pane, and I fit the strips to the pane. You can use a good pair of scissors to make the cuts.

Step 5. Fit the pane into the frame. This glass can easily break, so be careful in handling it. Hold it in place with one hand, while running another bead of silicone around the exterior glass/frame joint. Note: I still wear gloves at this point, because the glass could break on me.

Step 6. Attach the vinyl strips. Alright, I noticed that on newer frames the strips seat in the silicone along the frame, and that is it. Older frames sometimes have a grove where these strips will fit. Note: window glazing is for wood windows; the vinyl strips are taking the place of the glazing compound.

Step 7. Let this set. The silicone/vinyl strips should hold the window in place. If you are unsure for some reason, you could use painters tape to hold it till it sets, but I feel this will not be needed.

You are finished.

Clarification of Step 6

You can cut these strips in two ways to fit into the corners.
a) snip them with your scissors into 45 degree angles that fit
Problem: your cuts do not always fit neatly making the install
look bad. This can be resolved by b)
b) Let strips on parallel legs of the rectangle go all the way to the
end of the pane. For the strips on the other legs, cut them at
the 45 degree angle. To make them fit over the other strips,
cut out the back portion of the strip, leaving only the front face.

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8 Responses to “Replacing a Pane of Glass on an Aluminum Window Frame”

  1. Diana Says:

    It would be so much better if you included pictures with a post like this. thank you.

  2. Yes, but when I am working by myself, I do not think of always pulling out a camera. Most of these how to articles were written for my son who has been helping his aunts, so I am usually showing him what to do.

  3. Bill Miller Says:

    This is great info. But where do you buy the new vinyl strips to glaze the new glass

  4. If you go to a home center/builder’s supply, you will find the strips near the window location. You can find it near where they sell individual panes of glass or other glazing. Hardware stores also sell the material, but you have to ask which section. Typically where they have some lumber pieces. Good luck finding it.

  5. Sandra Says:

    Thank you! I have this exact project to do, and your description is easy to understand & follow. Very clear on all the things I needed to know in this project & hope it goes as well as your explanation. My only concern is getting the pane size correct! Thanks again!

  6. Good luck!

  7. Kathy Says:

    What about this same project only re-seating 2 panes in one aluminum frame? Don’t ask me why they did this..but I imagine they were trying to make their own “insulated” window. Both pieces came loose and I am re-seating the same glass pieces into place. Not even sure how they are supposed to be separated and the outer pane secured. One pane had a black foam rubber bumper about .25″ wide stuck all around the interior edge of the pane. Looked to be self-adhesive. The other did not. I just really don’t want to take this crank window frame apart to replace these panes….any ideas? Thanks.

  8. There are products which create the double pane over aluminum windows. These products use magnets. A magnet strip is glued onto the original frame with the other frame being added having a complimentary strip. This does make the new panes removable. From what you describe, the person was trying to develop a solution to creating a double pane window in a creative fashion. Instead of the foam rubber bumper that you describe, I would use a vinyl strip. The vinyl would not transfer the heat that well, and this could be glued. If I want to ensure that the pieces are removable, my glue would be a silicone for windows. For a more permanent glue, I would suggest a hot glue gun, since this will allow you to control the glue and its placement.

© Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Home Inspector Houston, Texas
Frank Theodor Schulte-Ladbeck
home inspector, TREC# 9073
Houston , Texas , 77063 United States

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