How To Fix A Broken Glass Door
Now not all of us may have done this, but breaking a glass door is a stomach-churning moment. It’s made worse if you did it at someone else’s home (not the voice of experience or anything) but it’s still bad at your own home. Luckily, DreamyHome can help you avoid calling a contractor to fix your broken glass door – a little bit of elbow grease goes a long way here.
The best way to fix a broken glass door takes time and money, though it can be done in a day (after acquiring the replacement glass). This is a complicated process, so keep reading to learn more.
Now without further ado, let’s get into it!
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How to Fix a Broken Glass Door – Step by Step
Let’s start with the easy stuff – acquiring the necessary tools and materials. And before you get too far, read through the whole thing. If you’re uncomfortable with doing any of this, you’ll want to ask a pro for help. Come wintertime, an improperly installed glass door can cost an arm and a leg in heating bills – and nobody wants that. You’re not made of money, after all (…probably).
Read Next: How to fix a broken ceiling.
The Tools and Materials
Here’s what you’ll need to replace a broken glass door:
- Replacement glass
- This may be hard to come by. Many glass manufactureres are upwards of six months out on their orders due to the Coronavirus. (If you’re reading this after we’re out of the pandemic – what’s life like? I hope you’re doing well.)
- Additionally, be sure to purchase safety glass. Most modern buildings and countries require residential homes to use safety glass, which shatters into tiny pieces rather than large ones. This makes you less likely to get cut up when/if it shatters.
- Chisel or pry bar
- Paintable window sealant
- Paint (if you want to repaint the door) and paint brush
- Painter’s tape
- 1.9 cm finishing nails
- Utility knife
- Measuring tape
Step 1 – Preparation
This is, arguably, the most important part of the whole process. Ensuring everything is properly prepped will make this whole thing go more smoothly and prevent further damage. That means don’t skip this, no matter how confident you are. You’ll thank me later.
We’re assuming you have a multi-panel glass door here. If it’s one whole piece, things change slightly, but the prep should be the same.
Begin by taping off all parts of the door’s glass. This means even every piece of undamaged glass should be covered in painter’s tape. This will soften any accidental impacts and help keep everything where it should be.
Next, you’re going to use that utility knife to carefully cut the paint and sealant around the borders of your window(s) that need replacement. You want to be able to clearly see the window once you’re done. Any remaining paint and putty will make this more difficult, so do it right the first time to avoid headaches.
Step 2 – Removal
Now we get to the bit where you remove the frame and the offending broken glass. This is where your prybar comes into play. You’re going to as gently as possible pry the wood frame up from the glass. Try to avoid cracking the glass further, though that’s honestly not very easy. Label all parts so you know exactly where they’re going to go back – this is important for later.
Be warned that you may need to purchase more than one piece of glass, meaning that accidents cause your costs to go up drastically.
Now – while wearing protective gloves, gently remove all broken glass. I’ve found this is very easy to do if you attach a liberal amount of tape to the broken bits and pull. After this, you’ll need to pull larger pieces out by hand. Be careful not to cut yourself; glass is very sharp and will make you bleed profusely – which we don’t want.
Finally, you’re going to take the chisel or utility knife and scrape away all remaining caulk and putty in the frame. Make sure your frame is spotless, otherwise it won’t seal properly and could cause your glass to warp over time.
Step 3 – Measurement
This is the most vital part. I know I said preparation was super important, but if you measure improperly, you have to restart. Begin by measuring your frame – and keep in mind your grandpa’s words, they were very wise. The golden rule of “measure twice, cut once” is incredibly important here. You can’t un-cut glass.
Your glass should be no more than .3 cm smaller than the frame, and no less than .25 cm smaller. You need space for the sealant to get in, without the window being loose.
As a note, I recommend having the glass manufacturer cut the glass to your specifications. Using a glass cutter can get messy. I have personally destroyed a window while cutting it down to size, which doubled my overall costs and took extra time to get a new pane of glass. Don’t be like me.
Step 4 – Installation
This is the most nerve-wracking part. I highly recommend getting a buddy or two to help out here – I tried to do this alone and it was a nightmare. Gently place the pane into its home, temporarily holding it in place with tape. This is where the friend comes in – they’ll make this drastically easier.
Apply sealant around the borders of the pane, being careful to not get any on the glass itself. And don’t forget, a frame is going over this, so you’ve got a little bit of wiggle room with how liberally you apply sealant.
Place your labelled frame pieces back where they go – you did label them, right? Secure them with your finishing nails, being careful to nail into the frame at an angle, and not into the pane itself. That would be embarassing.
Reapply sealant around the frame, wiping excess off while it’s wet.
Now it’s time to make the door pretty again! Use your paint of choice and apply 1-2 layers, keeping the painter’s tape on the windows to avoid paint splatter.
Do not paint until the sealant is dry.
Once the paint has dried, remove all of the painter’s tape and give the door a good cleaning. This will (in theory) have your door looking better than it did in the first place, and best of all – you did it yourself!
Broken glass doors are a pain. They’re dangerous, cost you money on heating and cooling, and are just all around not great. Luckily, the above process will help you replace the pane of glass for a fraction of the price that a professional would ask. And best of all, you’ll have done it yourself. It’s always a nice confidence boost to know that you can fix things around the house.
As always, though, if you’re not comfortable with this – call a professional. They exist solely to make your life easier, and there’s no sense in ignoring them if you can’t do this properly.