Some Thoughts On Re-Glazing and Adjustment of Wood Windows

I.         BASIC GUIDELINES FOR RE-GLAZING WINDOWS (Generally referred to as “puttying” windows)

  1. Remove storm windows.
  2. Remove loose and deteriorated putty (glazing compound) using a putty knife, razor knife, or wood chisel. There is no need to remove sound putty at the risk of breaking glass or damaging the sash, the new material can be neatly joined to the old. Remove old paint on the glass with a razor scraper.
  3. Sweep out or clean the rebate with a duster brush and apply a one-coat mixture of 1 part boiled linseed oil and one part mineral spirits, or one coat of oil-based exterior primer. Let oil dry at least three days before re-glazing.
  4. Re-glaze the windows with oil-based putty  . Do not use caulking or latex putty, it has half the service life of oil putty. New putty should not show from the interior. Tooling should be uniform and smooth.
  5. Allow several days for the putty to dry before painting. Oil putty should only be primed with oil-based exterior primer. Sash and parting beads must be painted neatly to prevent sticking windows. Overlap the paint 1/32-1/16 inch onto the glass to form a weather seal between the putty and the glass. This seal should not be removed with a razor blade. If windows must be scraped clean, protect the seal with a broad spackling knife while scraping.


  1. Remove broken glass and clean out remaining putty with knife or razor knife. For hard stubborn putty, use a heat iron; do not use open flame torches or heat guns.
  2. Saturate rebate with linseed oil mixture or oil primer as recommended in I.3 above.
  3. Back-bed the new glass by applying a thin uniform bed of putty in the rebate and pushing new glass firmly into it.  Secure the new glass with glazier’s points.
  4. Re-glaze the glass.


  1. Unstick frozen sash until they move freely.
  2. If sash weight ropes are broken or frayed, replace them now. (See Part IV below.)
  3. Remove old paint by hand scraping and hand sanding or with a pad, belt, or detail sander. Do not use rotary sanders.
  4. Dust off the surface and apply one coat of exterior oil-based primer.
  5. Apply one or two coats of exterior oil-based enamel or trim paint. If the upper sash works, use as few coats as possible in the lower sash channel to decrease paint build-up in the channel.
  6. Allow to dry, unstick sash, clean, and re-install storm windows.


  1. Replacement of sash cords is best done during re-painting.
  2. Remove sash stops and parting bead, and sand or scrape off excessive paint build up.
  3. Retie sash with sash cord using knots that will not loosen; do not use lightweight clothes line. For a more durable repair, replace sash cords with brass safety chain that is made for this purpose and available at many hardware stores.
  4. Replace parting beads.
  5. Replace stops with brass stop adjustors and screws to allow for periodical adjustment of the stops. Do not use nails and do not caulk the stops into the jamb or paint the adjustors.


  1. Removal of the sash for painting or retying sash cords provides a good opportunity to weatherstrip your sash.
  2. Weatherstripping should not affect easy movement of the sash or interfere with the correct alignment of the meeting rails.
  3. Various types of weatherstripping are available at your hardware store but many of the foam or vinyl types are not durable. We recommend galvanized steel or bronze weather stripping that is carefully installed in the sash channel and on the sill and aligned with a corresponding groove cut into the sash stiles and rails. This system comes with a special meeting rail weatherstrip.
  4. Sash locks are an important part of the weatherstripping system because they pull the meeting rails tightly together to form a weather seal.

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