Fixing one of those small glass panes in an older wooden door can be expensive. Glass companies typically charge anywhere from $100 to $300 for a repair such as this. That’s quite a lot of money for such a relatively small piece of glass. But fear not, by following the simple instructions below you can do the repair yourself in about an hour, safely, expertly and for as little as $5. Not bad, huh?
What you’ll need:
– work gloves
– protective eye wear
– 6-in-1 painters tool (or a stout putty knife)
– razor knife
– replacement glass from a hardware store
Donning your protective eye wear and gloves, take the razor knife and cut along the paint lines where the wood trim meets the wood frame. Take care to cut as straight as possible along gap between the frame and the trim. The straighter you cut the easier the job will be and the better the job will turn out. Take your time.
With the paint lines fully cut, take the painter’s tool (or putty knife) and gently tap it with the hammer between the frame and the trim. The trim, which is nailed to the frame, will slowly edge away from it but will usually not come completely free because the ends will be held fast by the other pieces of trim which are almost always tightly fitted.
Alternatively loosen all four pieces of trim until one of them comes completely free. This may take a few minutes with the first one being the most difficult and taking by far the longest. If you pull too hard on the first piece it may snap in half. If this happens, fear not. When you reinstall the broken trim it will dovetail like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle and look just fine. A little touch up paint will hide it completely.
With the trim now out remove the remainder of the broken glass. Using the razor knife or painter’s tool will free up any of the sticky pieces. You are now ready to measure for the new pane.
The new door glass should be the same thickness as the old glass (almost certainly 5/32 or 1/8 inch). The new glass should be about an 1/8 inch smaller than the total opening size with the trim out. For instance, if the total opening is 6″ x 12″, then the glass should be 5 7/8″x 11 7/8″. Don’t bother trying to cut the glass yourself, there are still many small hardware stores around that sell glass cut-to-size. Call around first to save yourself some travel time.
At this point you should back the nails back into the trim, taking care only to tap them back so that the point is no longer exposed. Using the same nail holes has several advantages, namely, it is easier to get the nail started, and it keeps you from nailing into the new door glass or the one next to it.
Place the glass flush into the frame opening and, holding it in place with one hand, slide in the top piece of trim and tap the nail in. Then simply slide the other pieces in. The last one will be the hardest (as was removing the first one) and may require an 1/8th of an inch being whittled off the end of it with the razor knife.
Finish tapping in the nails and you’re done. Easy as pie and exponentially cheaper than paying a glass company for an easy to do door glass repair.