Freeman Exteriors

Replacing Double Pane Window Glass

replacing double pane window glass

Broken or damaged window glass isn’t only unsightly, it can be dangerous. Before you decide whether you should repair the broken window, or pay for a window replacement, you’ll want to read this article.

We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to replacing double pane window glass.

We delve into the complexity of window glass replacement and explore the various options available to you.  By the end of this guide, you will have a clear understanding of how to tackle the issues many people face when dealing with window glass.  

What Are Double Pane Windows?

Double pane glass windows, also known as double glazed or insulated glass, are windows made with two layers of glass separated by a sealed space. Manufacturers usually fill the sealed space with air or gas such as argon or krypton.

Double pane glass provides improved insulation and energy efficiency compared to single pane windows. Energy efficiency is one of the primary advantages of using this type of glass in windows.

The way double pane glass helps with energy efficiency is by reducing heat transfer and minimizing the exchange of cold or warm air between the inside and outside of a building.

The sealed space between the glass panes acts as a thermal barrier, helping to maintain a more stable and comfortable indoor temperature throughout the year. This insulation property allows for better temperature regulation and can result in energy savings by reducing the need for heating or cooling systems.

Replacing Double Pane Window Glass

Despite the many fantastic benefits of installing windows with double pane glass, they’re not unbreakable. Sometimes things happen that result in needing a window replacement. It’s important to be aware of potential issues that can arise with this type of glass, such as:

Seal Failure

One of the common issues with double pane window glass is seal failure. The seal between the glass panes can deteriorate over time due to age, exposure to harsh weather conditions, or improper installation.

When the seal fails, it can lead to moisture buildup between the glass panes, resulting in condensation, fogging, or a hazy appearance. This not only obstructs your view but also indicates a compromised insulation value.

Insulation Loss

Double pane windows are designed to provide superior insulation by trapping a layer of air or gas between the glass panes. This insulating layer helps in reducing heat transfer and maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature.

If the seal fails or there is damage to the glass, the insulating properties can be compromised. As a result, you may experience drafts, increased energy consumption, and reduced thermal efficiency.

Glass Damage

Double pane window glass can sustain damage from various factors such as impacts, extreme temperature changes, or manufacturing defects.

Cracks, chips, or shattered glass not only affect the visual appeal of your windows but also compromise their functionality and security. It’s essential to address such damage promptly to prevent further issues and ensure the safety of your home.

Spacer Failure

The spacer, which is the component that separates and maintains the distance between the glass panes, can experience failures. A damaged or deteriorated spacer can lead to misalignment of glass panes, compromising the structural integrity of the window and potentially causing leaks or drafts.

Can You Repair Double Pane Glass Windows?

While you can fix minor issues with double pane window glass, there are limitations to what you can fix. For instance, if you have a failed seal or a damaged spacer, repairs may not be feasible or cost-effective. In such cases, replacement is often the recommended solution to restore the functionality and efficiency of the window.

It’s important to note that attempting to repair double pane window glass without the necessary expertise or tools can lead to further damage or ineffective repairs. Consulting with a professional window contractor or glass specialist is advisable to accurately assess the condition of your windows and determine the most appropriate course of action.

By being aware of potential issues we’ve shared in this article, you can recognize the signs of window glass damage and make informed decisions about repairing or replacing your double pane windows. Regular maintenance, prompt repairs, and professional assistance can help you address these issues effectively, ensuring the longevity and performance of your windows.

Symptoms of a Broken Window

If you’re puzzled by the title of this section, it’s likely because the most notable sign of a broken window is a visible crack in the glass. There are other “symptoms” you’ll want to look for, including:

In some cases, the double pane window glass may shatter completely due to severe impact or structural failure.

This not only poses a safety risk but also leaves your home vulnerable to weather elements and intruders. Shattered glass requires immediate attention and replacement to restore security and protect your home and loved ones.

If you notice any of these signs in your double pane windows, it’s essential to address the problem promptly. Ignoring or delaying repairs can lead to increased energy costs, compromised insulation, and potential damage to window frames and surrounding structures.

Assessing the Damage

Repairing double pane window glass is possible in certain cases and can be a cost-effective solution. Consider these key factors when deciding between  window repair and replacing double pane window glass:

Size and Extent of Damage

Small cracks or chips can often be repaired effectively, especially if they are limited to one pane of the double pane window. If you’re dealing with large cracks or shattered glass, repair may not be a practical solution.

Age and Condition of the Window

The age and overall condition of the window are important considerations.  If your windows are old or experiencing other issues, such as frame deterioration or seal failure, a full window replacement may be a better option.

Availability of Replacement Parts

The availability of replacement parts can also impact the feasibility of repairing double pane window glass. Because double pane windows can have specialized components, you may have issues finding replacement parts.

Next, we’ll look at several window repair options. 

Crack and Chip Repair: Restoring Structural Integrity

Cracks and chips in double pane window glass occur primarily due to accidental impacts.  Extreme temperature changes, or even natural wear and tear, can also cause cracks and chips.

If you notice small cracks or chips in your double pane window glass, you’ll want to have a professional glass technician assess whether the window is a good candidate for repair. Here’s what you can expect during the crack and chip repair process:


The glass technician will carefully assess the size, location, and severity of the crack or chip. This evaluation is crucial in determining whether the damage can be repaired or if window replacement is necessary.

Specialized Resin and Epoxy

If the technician is able to repair a crack or chip, they will use a specialized resin or epoxy to fill the damaged area. The resin or epoxy will bond with the glass and restore its structural integrity.

Application and Curing

After making sure the resin or epoxy completely fills the damaged area, the technician uses techniques such as vacuum pressure or UV light. These techniques cure and harden the resin or epoxy, effectively sealing the damage.

Please note that only trained professionals should attempt crack and chip repair. They possess the expertise, tools, and materials required for the job. Also, even though you can’t repair chips in double pane glass, if you have any single pane glass windows, you can try this repair method.

Seal Repair Helps Restore Integrity

A failed seal between the glass panes of a double pane window can lead to unwanted condensation or fogging. Both of these scenarios compromise the visual appeal and insulation properties of the window.

In many cases, you can repair the seal and restore the integrity of the insulated glass unit (IGU). Seal repair is a specialized process. Make sure to entrust the repairs to trained professionals. 

When opting for seal repair, here’s what you can expect: 

  • Window glass removal 
  • Cleaning around the failed seal
  • Application of new sealant or adhesive
  • Curing and testing

The newly applied sealant requires adequate time to cure and set. During this period, it’s vital to ensure that the seal remains undisturbed and protected.

Once the curing process is complete, the glass technician will reinstall the resealed pane carefully into the window frame. Seal repair is a specialized process. It requires precision and expertise to ensure a lasting seal.

DIY attempts at seal repair are not recommended, as they can lead to ineffective seals or even further damage to the window.

Spacer Replacement Maintains Proper Alignment and Insulation

The spacer in the double pane window separates and maintains the optimal distance between the glass panes. Sometimes, the spacer may become damaged or deteriorated. 

Spacer replacement is a key repair process that ensures the proper alignment and insulation between the glass panes, helping to maintain the overall integrity of the double pane unit.

If you decide to have a spacer replaced, your glass technician will usually follow these steps:

  • Identification of damage
  • Removal of damaged spacer
  • Preparation of replacement spacer
  • Installation and alignment

If you’re repairing a seal, your technician may take care of replacing the spacer at the same time. This dual approach ensures not only the replacement of the damaged spacer but also the restoration of the airtight seal between the glass panes.

Essential Tools for Double Pane Repair and Replacement

Repairing or replacing double pane window glass requires the use of specialized tools to ensure safe and effective results. One reason we don’t recommend DIY repairs is that most people don’t own the tools needed to repair glass properly.

Check out the glass technician tool list:

  • Glass cutter
  • Putty knife
  • Caulking gun
  • Suction cups
  • Spacer cutting tools
  • Glazier points
  • UV Light

Not all window glass repairs or replacements will require all the tools on this list. Specific tools required to complete the job may vary depending on the nature of the project.

By using these specialized tools, professionals can carry out the necessary tasks with precision and efficiency. The right tools help guarantee the integrity and longevity of your double pane window glass.

Dealing with Extensive Window Glass Damage

In some cases, the damage to double pane window glass may be extensive, making repairs impractical or ineffective. When faced with significant damage, window glass replacement becomes the necessary course of action.

When confronted with severe window glass damage, consider the following factors:

Safety Concerns

Extensive damage to the glass poses safety risks, such as the potential for injury from sharp edges or the glass completely shattering. In such cases, it is crucial to prioritize the safety of occupants by opting for complete window glass replacement.

Structural Integrity

If the structural integrity of the glass is compromised, repair attempts may not be sufficient to restore the window’s strength and stability. Replacement ensures a new and reliable glass pane, eliminating the risks associated with weakened structures.

Esthetic Considerations

Extensive damage, such as shattered glass or large cracks, can significantly impact the visual appeal of your windows. Opting for replacement allows you to restore the esthetic charm and the overall appearance of your home.

Long-Term Cost-Effectiveness

While repairs may initially seem like a more cost-effective solution, extensive damage often indicates underlying issues that may recur. In such cases, investing in complete window glass replacement can be a more cost-effective and durable solution in the long run.

Remember, opting for window glass replacement in cases of extensive damage ensures the safety, structural integrity, and esthetic appeal of your double pane windows. Go the extra mile and provide peace of mind while enhancing the overall value of your property.

Need Help Replacing Double Pane Window Glass?

Knowing what to expect when repairing or replacing double pane window glass is one thing, but who can help if you prefer not to do the project yourself?

It’s critical to work with a contractor who understands the nuances of working with double pane window units. If you’re looking for services in Champaign, or Danville, Illinois, Freeman Exteriors is your preferred contractor.

Give us a call today at 217-255-5447 or reach out online and request information or a quote.

Jake Freeman

Jake Freeman

Freeman Exteriors is a family owned and operated general contracting company. We specialize in roofing and commercial renovations. We serve Champaign County, Vermilion County, including Champaign, Danville, Paris, IL and Crawfordsville, Covington, West Lafayette, IN and surrounding areas. Our goal is to be the general contractor of choice through our pledge to maintain the highest quality of standards and workmanship. Give us a call today to begin your next project!

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