How to temporarily fix a broken window pane

Updated February 21, 2017

Hail storms, falling tree limbs, break-ins and rowdy children can all cause the awful sound of breaking glass. Replacing broken window panes immediately is the best solution, but when severe weather strikes, you may find yourself at the end of a long line of people needing repairs. You can keep the wind and rain at bay with simple temporary repairs. For personal safety, wait until the severe weather has passed to make exterior repairs, and always wear leather gloves when working with broken glass.

Repair cracked glass

Tape up minor cracks in glass panes with clear packing tape. Wear gloves to prevent scrapes and cuts. Tear off strips of tape long enough to cover the crack. Work in sections for long, or twisting cracks.

Press the tape firmly, but gently, to the glass. Gentle pressure is typically OK -- avoid sudden, forceful movements.

Apply tape to both sides of the cracked window, if they are accessible. You can tape over small voids up to 2.5 to 5 cm (1 to 2 inches) across. This repair holds up for a week at most, so make arrangements to replace the glass as soon as possible.

Emergency window repairs

Cut heavy plastic, such as a bin bag, to cover the window if it is broken beyond taping, or if you can only repair the pane from the inside.

Use a hammer to break out any loose glass shards that appear ready to fall. Collect the broken glass with a broom and dust pan.

Tape the plastic to the inside frame of the window, being careful not to press against the glass. Use duct tape, if available; packing tape also works. Use masking tape as a last resort, but it will not last long.

Boarding up broken windows

Measure the width and height of your window. Cut the plywood 5 cm (2 inches) wider and 5 cm (2 inches) taller than the frame in cases where security is an issue, or if the repair will take more than a day or two.

Drive fine wood screws through the plywood into the window frame's edges. You can cover these holes easily during the repair with wood filler or car body filler, depending on the frame material. Use at least two screws on each side of the frame.

Seal the edges of the plywood to the house siding with duct tape to keep out rain and moisture.

Things You'll Need

  • Clear packing tape
  • Leather gloves
  • Bin bags
  • Duct tape
  • Staple gun
  • Plywood
  • Tape measure
  • Circular or jigsaw
  • Screws
  • Cordless drill
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Mark Morris started writing professionally in 1995. He has published a novel and stage plays with SEEDS studio. Morris specializes in many topics and has 15 years of professional carpentry experience. He is a voice, acting and film teacher. He also teaches stage craft and lectures on playwriting for Oklahoma Christian University.