Smashed window? Our window and door repair guide provides useful advice as well as tips on hiring a professional to do the job.

Even in the best neighbourhoods and with the best-behaved children (which are encountered together less often than you might think), glass gets cracked and broken. Calling in a handyman may be the fastest option, but can be expensive. This guide shows you how to handle the easiest glass replacement jobs yourself.


DIY single-glazed window and door repair

  1. Remove the remaining broken glass. Wear sturdy gloves and goggles, and make sure to clean up any glass form the floor and ground afterwards.
  2. Remove the old putty with a chisel or hacking knife.
  3. Remove the panel pins (tiny nails that position the glass) with pincers or pliers.
  4. Seal any exposed woodwork with primer paint.
  5. Press a 3mm layer of new putty onto the empty frame to receive the new glass.
  6. Press the new glass panel into place, making sure it is firmly set in the putty.
  7. Tap in new panel pins every 20cm, or at least one to each edge for small panes.
  8. Cover the panel pins and glass edges with putty on the remaining side, trimming any excess from both sides with a knife.

If you need to work on a first floor window (or higher), you really should use a scaffold tower rather than a ladder. If you don’t have access to one, it might be time to call that handyman we talked about earlier.

When it’s time to call in a professional

If the cracked or broken glass is part of a double glazing panel or is located above ground floor, most home owners would be better off calling in a repairman. Finding a trustworthy one can be a challenge, though.

First, talk to your friends, neighbours and relatives, and ask for a recommendation. If someone you trust knows of a good repairman, it is usually safe to use them. Failing that, websites offer localised reviews of tradesmen, and industry organisations like FENSA and TrustMark exist to help you find skilled and trustworthy repair companies in your area.


One last note – if the broken window or door could allow strangers or criminals access to your home, it might be best call a repair company right away. Some things are more important than saving a few pounds.