Reglazing Windows

Reglazing Windows

Of all the things that can possibly be undertaken as they relate to painting, whether it be interior or exterior, there are two tasks that I have always despised more than others.

One is removing wallpaper.

Removing wallpaper is a grueling chore which to me, every time I have had to do it, has always felt as if I had been assigned this tortuous punishment for some type of unruly crime that was committed.

Right next to this, I would place reglazing windows.

Reglazing windows is far from an easy thing to do.

It is a special skillset however that very much feels in-line with many other trade-related skills, in that less and less are able to properly execute them these days in comparison to years past.


The term “dying art” certainly applies here.

The actual action of reglazing windows is fairly straightforward and although there may be different variations of doing it correctly (the whole “there is more than one way to skin a cat” idea), for all intents and purposes the actual procedure should look somewhere along these lines:

– Remove all loose glazing

– Clean areas being worked on

– Prime all mullions (the areas of the windows that the glazing is attached to) and any remaining glazing that is still tightly bonded

– Reglaze areas in need with proper glazing techniques; traditionally many have used oil-based glazing for this, more recent strides in technology have allowed water-based glazing to be more comfortably used while maintaining comparable quality

– After glazing hardens/”skins-over” to a reasonable level, prime all mullions with an appropriate primer

– Finish coat with two coats of the preferred quality finish

– Clean all glass panes associated with the areas being worked on (using a combination of razor blades, “Windex”, perhaps a tiny squeegee, and paper towels)

Seems simple enough, no?

For me, as beautiful as the end results usually are (typically, especially when compared to what things looked like prior to the project being done), the process itself is extraordinarily mundane.

Most “not-exciting” is the actual act of the glazing itself (this is where my obsessive compulsiveness kicks in!) as I have always striven for the perfectly smooth, balanced with the perfect thickness, runs of glazing.

Years ago, I hired a college student who had been attending the Rhode Island School of Design as a sculpting major at the time.

Needless to say, his feelings about glazing were a complete 180 degrees from my feelings about it.


He absolutely loved it!

Obviously similar to working with clay, once trained, he was absolutely wonderful at it and really did seem to enjoy every moment.

It is interesting to me how one person can dislike doing something so much and another person can find the same exact task highly enjoyable.

I’m sure this can be compared to many things in life, but one thing is for certain, glazing is NOT something that many folks these days are able to do and do well.


Tom Lopatosky speaks about reglazing windows

Fortunately, reglazing windows is an activity that a number of our staff have become quite adept at over the years and have saved me from having to force myself through these types of projects when we are hired to do them.

Although clearly not as prevalent as in years past, there are still a TON of older windows that need reglazing every so often and if the intent is to keep them around, reglazing them is something that at some point will have to be done – whether the person doing the reglazing likes doing it or not!

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