How to Take Glass Out of a Window


In theory, removing a window is just a matter of breaking it and pulling out the glass, and in some cases that may be the most effective method. It isn't one to use in a cavalier manner, however, because you can be seriously injured if you don't take proper precautions. You won't want to break the glass if it's in good shape and you want to save it, but you should still protect yourself in case something goes wrong. Glass can cut you when it shatters, and it can also get in your eyes and on your clothing.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 plastic drop cloths
  • Duct tape
  • Safety glasses
  • Protective gloves
  • Utility knife
  • Putty knife
  • Pliers
  • Rag
  • Bucket
  • Broom
  • Vacuum
  • Spread a plastic drop cloth on the ground on both sides of the window to catch small pieces of glass.

  • Lay strips of duct tape on both sides of the window from one side to the other with a 4- to 6-inch spacing. If the glass is cracked, lay the tape across the crack to hold the two halves of the glass together. Put on a pair of protective gloves and safety glasses before you proceed.

  • Chip out the glazing from around the perimeter of the glass with a utility knife or putty knife. If you want to save the glass, work the blade between the putty and the frame instead of against the glass. When the putty is gone, pry out the glazing points with a pair of pliers.

  • Pry off the wood trim holding the glass, if there is any, by wedging the putty knife between the trim and the frame near a nail and prying outward until the head of the nail pops out. Pull out the nail with a pair of pliers. Continue pulling nails in this way until the trim is loose, then remove it.

  • Place a bunched-up rag against one corner of the glass inside the window and tap on the rag with the handle of the putty knife to force the corner away from the frame. When it is far enough out for you get a grip on it, gently pull out the corner from the other side and work the window out of the frame. Put it in a safe place, preferably standing against a wall.

  • Shatter the glass with the end of the putty knife if it is already broken, then pull out the pieces and put them in a bucket. The duct tape should hold them together well enough so that you can pull most of them out at once.

  • Pry out any shards of glass stuck in the frame with pliers. When you've removed all the ones you can see, run the putty knife along the edges of the frame to dig out small ones that may still be embedded in the wood.

  • Lift the drop cloths carefully and empty them into the bucket. Sweep or vacuum the floor carefully under both sides of the window.

Tips & Warnings

  • Dispose of broken glass responsibly. Consult your local waste authority for the best way to do this.
  • Cordon off the area in which you're working and instruct everyone, especially children, to keep away until you're done.

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  • Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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