How to Replace Vinyl Window Glass – A Step by Step Guide

Maintaining the windows in your home is crucial for both aesthetic and functional reasons. If you have a vinyl window with damaged or broken glass, replacing it can seem like a daunting task. But fear not! In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of replacing vinyl window glass, empowering you to tackle this DIY project with confidence. Let’s get started!

What’s Inside

Step 1: Assessing the Damage

Begin by carefully examining your vinyl window for any cracks, chips, or broken glass. Identifying the extent of the damage will help you determine if glass replacement is necessary and guide your next steps.

broken and cracked window glass

Step 2: Measure Glass

Accurate measurements are essential for a successful glass replacement. Measure the dimensions of the glass from the bead on all sides and add 1 inch to account for the bead. Additionally, measure the thickness of the glass using a glass thickness tool or by temporarily removing the bead on one side and marking the thickness on a piece of paper by sticking it in between the glass unit and the window frame.

glass measurement tool

Step 3: Contact a Glass Replacement Company

To ensure a precise fit and seamless installation, it is recommended to contact a reputable glass replacement company like Utah Window Experts. They will assist you in selecting the appropriate glass customization options, verify your measurements, and provide guidance throughout the process. Once you have decided on the specifics of the glass unit you want, the order can be placed.

Step 4: Removing the Old Glass

To safely remove the damaged glass from your vinyl window, it is important to follow specific instructions provided by the glass replacement company.

Firstly, locate the bead on the vinyl window. Start by cutting the tape that connects the glass and the window frame, focusing on the side opposite the bead (exterior).

glazing tape location diagram

Next, utilizing a chisel, carefully remove the bead by gently prying it away from the window frame.

removing window bead

Once the bead is successfully removed, the damaged glass should come out easily. Remember to exercise caution and wear appropriate protective gear, such as gloves and safety glasses, when handling broken glass to prevent any accidents or injuries.

Step 5: Preparing the Window Frame

Thoroughly clean the window frame, removing any debris or old sealant/glazing tape. Ensure that the frame is dry, smooth, and ready for the new glass installation.

Step 6: Installing the New Glass

First, start by applying the glazing tape to the frame, making sure not to peel it just yet. This step is crucial for ensuring a secure fit.

Next, carefully insert the glass into the frame and double-check that it fits properly. Take your time with this step to avoid any potential issues later on.

Once you’re confident that the fit is correct, peel off the tape and reinsert the glass into the frame. Make sure to press firmly, ensuring a strong connection between the glazing tape and the glass.

Finally, reinsert the bead and ensure that it pops back into place. This will help to further secure the glass and complete the glazing process.

How to Know if You Need Full Window Replacement

While replacing the glass can address glass-related issues, it’s important to thoroughly assess the overall condition of your vinyl window. Take note of any damaged frame, signs of rot, or malfunctioning hardware. If these problems persist, it may be necessary to consider a full window replacement to ensure the long-term functionality and efficiency of your window. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional for an expert evaluation and guidance tailored to your specific needs. Their expertise will help you make the best decision for your home. For more information, read our article How to Know if You Need Full Window Replacement here!

Glass Customization Options

When replacing your vinyl window glass, you have the opportunity to customize the glass to suit your specific needs. Some common options include:

  • Low-E (low emissivity) coating for improved energy efficiency
  • Tempered glass for increased durability and safety
  • Obscure glass for enhanced privacy
  • Different glass thicknesses and tints to meet your preferences and requirements

Glass Price Comparison Table

To help you make an informed decision, here’s a price comparison table for different glass options, including base price, tempered, low-E, obscure, and various thicknesses.

Glass TypePrice
Base Glass With Low E$100 – $500
Tempered+$20 – $100 to base price
Enhanced Low E+$15 – $75 to base price
Obscured+$25 – $75 to base price
Extra Thick Glass+$50 – $175 to base price

Is Glass Replacement Worth It?

Replacing the glass in your vinyl window is a decision that requires careful consideration. The cost-effectiveness of glass replacement depends on the extent of the existing damage and the benefits of new glass. If the frame and window hardware are still in good condition, replacing the glass can be a cost-effective way to address energy inefficiency, privacy concerns, or aesthetic preferences. Opting for modern glass types like Low-E or tempered glass can enhance energy efficiency, safety, and visual appeal. It also allows you to delay the more significant expense of a full window replacement.

Case Study

In our efforts to ascertain the energy efficiency and temperature stabilization of Low-E glass, we undertook a case study involving a residential living room. This room was selected for its frequent use and its substantial exposure to external weather conditions throughout the year. We recorded the room’s temperature across various seasons, comparing the measurements obtained from a window fitted with Low-E glass and one with standard, non-Low-E glass. The thermostat was set to 72 in both instances.

non low e graph temperature chart
Temperature without Low E Glass
low e glass line graph of temperature
Temperature with Low E Glass


The analysis of collected data revealed a marked difference in efficiency between the Low-E and non-Low-E glass. The room with the Low-E glass showed a significantly more stable temperature throughout the year. Despite varying seasonal conditions, the Low-E glass effectively minimized fluctuations and maintained a more consistent indoor climate. These findings confirm the superior energy efficiency of Low-E glass and its potential benefits, particularly in keeping indoor temperatures stable and reducing energy costs for heating or cooling.


By following this step-by-step guide, you can confidently replace the glass in your vinyl window. Remember to prioritize safety throughout the process and consult a professional if you encounter any challenges or uncertainties. With proper care and maintenance, your newly replaced window glass will provide clarity, efficiency, and longevity for years to come. Enjoy the benefits of a clear view and improved energy efficiency in your home!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you replace the glass on a vinyl window?

Yes, it is possible to replace the glass on a vinyl window. However, it is recommended to consult a professional for proper installation and to ensure the right glass type is used.

Can you replace the glass in a window without replacing the frame?

Yes, it is possible to replace the glass in a window without replacing the frame. This can be done by removing the damaged glass and installing a new one in its place. Again, professional assistance may be beneficial for a seamless replacement.

Can you just change the glass in a window?

Yes, you can just change the glass in a window. By removing the old glass and installing a new one, you can refresh the appearance and functionality of your window. It is recommended to follow proper safety measures and seek professional help if needed.

How do you replace window glass by yourself?

To replace window glass by yourself, you will need to carefully remove the damaged glass and clean the frame. Then, you can apply glazing compound or caulk to secure the new glass in place. It is important to take safety precautions and consider seeking professional guidance if you are unfamiliar with the process.

For more information about window replacement, check out our previous blog post “Is Low-E Coating Required on Replacement Windows?“.

Remember, if you have any questions or need expert assistance, feel free to reach out to Utah Window Experts. Happy window glass replacement!