How to Remove Putty From Window Sashes

Written by james cooper
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Putty, or glazing compound as it is sometimes referred to, is used on many older window sashes to join the glass and wood. This keeps water and wind from coming blowing through any gaps in the window. But when it's time to repair your window and replace a piece of glass, you need to remove the old putty.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Paint stripper
  • Bleach
  • Cling film
  • Putty knife
  • Paint scraper
  • Chisel
  • Hammer
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Protective gloves and goggles

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  1. 1

    Knock out any sharp, broken edges of glass in your window with a hammer. Do this with care so you don't cut yourself.

  2. 2

    Take a paint scraper, putty knife, or chisel to scrape the old putty from the edges of the window sash.

  3. 3

    Apply paint thinner or bleach to the putty to soften it if you have trouble removing it. Cover the area with cling film and when the putty feels soft underneath remove it.

  4. 4

    Work the putty loose with the chisel, paint scraper or putty knife. Take care not to gouge the wood sash.

  5. 5

    Loosen the broken glass by pushing into the joint with a putty knife or chisel. Wiggle the chisel or putty knife while you apply pressure into the joint every 6 or 8 inches around the perimeter of the sash and glass. Then remove the broken glass.

  6. 6

    Remove the remaining putty after the glass is out of the sash, until you have exposed the wood on the sash. If there is still any remaining putty residue, sand the wood with medium-grit sandpaper.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear gloves to protect your hands and goggles to protect your eyes from any flying particles.

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