How to Replace True Divided Light Window Glass

How to Replace True Divided Light Window Glass

A friend of ours owns an older home that is full of charm and character that only older homes exhibit. Having an older home presents some different maintenance challenges, like to one she asked about last week end. She asked how to go about fixing a broken window pane in the storm door on the rear of her house.


Our friend was in luck, she actually has an old wooden storm door, which actually can be repaired without a lot of trouble. The glass in her door is divided into nine pieces, each of these pieces or sections is separated by wooden trim. This style of door is known as a true divide light panel. Not all doors are built this way, some will have one piece of glass that covers the entire window opening and instead of having wooden dividers between each section, the molding is applied over the glass. A duplicate set of applied molding is applied to the other side of the glass giving an appearance of being true divided light.


On a door or window that has true divided light panels, the glass for each section can be removed and replaced individually, and here is the process for doing just that. On the inside of the panel the glass is normally held in place with a putty that is known as glazing compound.  On the outside of the glass, the widow trim will hold the glass in place.  The first step to removing the broken piece of glass is to remove the glazing compound. The best tool for this is a heat gun, which looks like a hair dryer on steroids. The heat gun is an industrial version, which has a much higher heat setting than your hair dryer, but the concept is the same. 


The first thing you will need to do is to put on a pair of good work gloves.  I would recommend leather. Cotton or garden gloves will not protect you from the sharp edges of the glass that you are working on, so spend the extra couple of bucks and get a good pair of leather gloves. The second thing to do and just as important as the work gloves, it’s to put on a good pair of safety glasses. These will protect your eyes from any shards of glass that may fly up.


Now with a stiff putty knife in hand, take your heat gun and heat up the glazing compound. It will take a couple of minutes to get the compound soft enough so that you can peel it away from the glass. I like to take one added precaution before I get working on the broken glass pane.  If the glass is just cracked, I like to run painters tape over the glass in a crisscross pattern. Put the tape on both sides of the glass. This will help to keep the glass in one piece until you ready to remove it. If the glass is already broken …