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A broken window is not uncommon. Strong winds, kids playing ball and even wear and tear can all cause breakage in glass windows. It may not be necessary, however, to concern yourself with professionals and costly maintenance fees.

Before determining whether or not you'll be able to repair your window, keep these safety measures in mind:

BROKEN GLASS is extremely sharp and dangerous. Make certain to clean all broken shards of glass from the window sill, neighboring ground and inside the sill. Indoor-outdoor vacuums are efficient in picking up small shards of glass that may be invisible to the human eye.

ALWAYS WEAR HEAVY GLOVES when handling glass.

NEVER work with large pieces of glass on a windy day. Even a slight breeze can crack glass and cause serious injury.

GLAZIER points are difficult to work with. Read and follow directions before attempting. There is a newer type of point with ears that make for easier handling and installation.

Newer, double paned, insulated windows are extremely difficult to replace and are most often, best fixed by a professional. However, if you're dealing with wooden framed or single paned windows, there's no reason why you cannot repair it.

The first step toward replacing your broken window is to clean out the old glass and debris. This means not only removing glass shards, but also the putty that was used to insulate or hold the window in place. Putty is easily removed with a hammer and chisel. You will also need to remove old points. You can do this by pulling them out with a pliers.

Once you've removed putty and broken glass, you'll need to seal the wood of the rabbet (the notch in the window sash that the glass fits into). This will prevent the wood from absorbing moisture from any putty you apply. Seal wood with linseed oil or similar product, applying with soft, cotton rag.

You will need to measure the area your new piece of glass will cover. Remember that the new piece of glass should sit comfortably in the frame with about 1/16" to spare on all sides. This will give the frame room to expand during hot weather.

Take your new putty and roll it into four thin ropes. Flatten each individual rope with your fingers and place into the rabbets, securing firmly in place.

Wearing thick gloves, pick up the sheet of glass and lower it into the bottom section of the window frame. Carefully slide it onto the rope of putty. Now, gently press the remaining three edges of glass into the putty. If done correctly, the putty will spread slightly and adhere the glass to the frame. Be certain to pay careful attention to the edges of glass, which are vulnerable to cracking. Gently press the outside edges of the glass against the putty. Never press the center of the glass!

You will secure the glass in its place by tapping the new points into the rabbet. You can do this with the end of a chisel or glass tool. Be certain to never place the points farther than seven inches apart.

Trim any excess putty from the back of the glass with a putty knife or glass tool. Discard excess putty.

Finishing touches include making a secure seal. You will be applying putty all around the edges of the glass, so that it completely fills the rabbet and forms a solid seal. Using a putty knife, apply a generous amount of putty and then smooth it across the edges of the glass. Glass professionals recommend forming a 45-degree angle between the edge of the rabbet and the glass. If your tools begin to stick to the putty, you can wet them with water to reduce friction.

You'll need to allow the window to sit untouched for a week or two. After this time, the putty will have dried sufficiently, forming an airtight seal. Once the putty has dried, you can remove any putty smears from the glass using a paint remover. Once done, you can seal your putty from bad weather by painting the putty to match the color of the window frame. Allowing a small amount of paint to seep onto the glass will create a tighter seal.