There could be a few reasons why you need to remove a commercial glass window — namely because it’s broken or has a crack. Cracked windows not immediately removed and replaced can shatter and cause injury, especially to people on the ground. Another reason could be that it’s time to upgrade your windows. In that case, you’ll need to know how to remove the glass, if you decide to go the DIY route. Scroll down and learn how to remove a glass window from your office or warehouse building.
Taking Proper Safety Precautions
Before you take to removing glass, it’s imperative you wear protective gear. Broken glass can cut deep and cause injuries, even if they’re small cuts. To protect yourself from harm, wear heavy gloves with leather palms, hard shoes or boots, and long pants and a shirt. To minimize the spread of broken glass pieces, here are the steps to take.
Step 1: Use tape – Place masking tape over the window pane, including the broken area, ensuring you don’t press hard against the glass. Cover it entirely with strips of tape on one side, as the tape will prevent the glass from flying away from the window while you work. Note, don’t use duct tape or an extra sticky tape so you can carefully remove the glass pieces off the tape.
Step 2: Protect where you work – Putting down a tarp or drop cloth around the area in which you’re working will protect the area and allow you to dispose of it if the glass happens to break over it. Do this on both the interior area around the window, along with the exterior space.
Step 3: Loosen the glass with a pry bar – Use a heavy hand tool, such as the butt of a hammer, that will work effectively. Using gentle taps, loosen the glass pieces, and then remove those larger pieces and get rid of them correctly.
Step 4: Remove old glazing from around the frame – There will be small bits of glass stuck in the window frame, so take a stiff putty knife or a chisel and clear away the glazing that keeps them in place. If there is caulk or tape used to hold the window in place, you might need to use a more flexible putty knife to cut between the frame and the glass. Be careful when pulling the glass pieces out of the frame. Dispose of the remaining glass.
Removing Intact Glass Panes Safely
There are typically three ways window glass is installed: with a gasket, caulk, or with adhesive tape. Here’s how to remove intact glass panes safely.
Contained in vinyl or thick plastic gasket, the glass edges are held by grooves in the window frame. Disassemble the frame, which is attached with screws on each corner – good because it will be the easiest to take apart; after, remove the whole pane and replace it before screwing the frame back together.
You can usually scrape off or pull off any glazing between the glass and frame in small strips if needed.
Lining the window, there are removable stops or very thin pieces of wood or vinyl. Remove these to make a bit of room where you can cut through the caulk seal. It may be difficult to remove since the stops often get caulked, but using a thin, flexible putty knife or utility knife, you can cut through any caulk you see and get the stops out. Finally, flip the window and push the blade between the window and frame to loosen or cut through the caulk. Note that you may have to break the glass out if it becomes too difficult.
Using double-faced adhesive tape, instead of caulk, is useful in sticking the frame and glass together, with a removable stop positioned on the other side. Use a flexible putty knife to loosen the stop, starting from the top. Next, turn the window over and use the putty knife between the frame and the slightly loosened glass panel to cut the tape, which should release the glass pane. Again, you may have to break the glass out, if you can’t cut the tape.
Cleaning Up Broken Glass
Remember, if you have broken glass, ensure you’re wearing protective gear before cleaning up any broken glass. Carefully vacuum around the window area and use a lint roller or duct tape to pick up tiny pieces. For additional protection, when throwing away the glass, layer two bags inside each other and place the pieces inside. Label the bag with a tag or sticker that says “Broken Glass for Disposal,” so anyone handling it knows to be careful.
Need Help? Contact Northern Utah Glass
If you notice your commercial glass window needs repair or replacement and you’re in no position to fix it, give the experts at Northern Utah Glass a call. We will come and take out the existing window and replace it, without you lifting a finger. Our professionals will handle every step of the replacement process, so call us today.