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How Do Bay Windows Come Apart to Replace Glass?

Catherine Duffy

Bay windows offer wide angle views that flat windows are incapable of providing. The windows extend beyond a home's frame and can be used to house plants or window seats. Bay windows are manufactured as one piece that contains three or more windows. The frames are made from wood, vinyl or a combination of both. The steps to replace bay window glass vary for each kind of bay window.

Types and Styles

Bay windows extend beyond a home's living space.

Bay windows feature three windows, one in the center flanked by a window on either side. The side windows are angled out from the center window. The outward angles can range from 30-, 45-, 60- to 90-degree angles. The angle degree determines the overall style and shape of the bay. The windows can be seated within wood or vinyl frames and can feature single, double or triple panes. The actual bay itself cannot be taken apart because the windows cannot be separated from one another.


Broken bay windows can be repaired by carefully removing the damaged pane and placing a new one in its place. This process does not apply to vinyl windows or those with double or triple panes. Vinyl and multi-paned windows are manufactured and sealed at the factory, and these techniques cannot be replicated by a homeowner or contractor. Wood frame windows, however, can be repaired and sealed by homeowners and window specialists. Completely remove the damaged pane from the window frame with a pair of pliers. Clear shattered glass and glass shards completely from the frame edge then remove the caulk and glazing putty from the frame. Seat the new pane within the frame and reseal it with caulk or glazing putty.


Bay windows extend from a home's wall, and this position can create problems. Over time, bay windows can become prone to leaks or sagging. Sagging occurs when the windows are unable to support their own weight. Their location, set apart from the rest of the house frame, causes the window frames to rely on casements and internal support structures, called mullion posts. When these internal structures weaken, it may be difficult or impossible to open the windows. This situation is reversible. Use a hydraulic jack to raise the window casement and install supportive brackets.


Leaks occur when the window seals deteriorate. Seals deteriorate for a number of reasons. Temperature fluctuations cause glass to expand and contract. These conditions create pressure against the seals. Bay windows are in areas of a home that are exposed to drafts and other temperature shifts, so seals can deteriorate more rapidly in bay windows than in other types. When the seals break down, moisture enters the frame and deteriorates wood. Vinyl frames are better able to withstand water damage, but condensation can penetrate double-paned windows and walls. Check the window seals annually before the onset of cool weather and reseal them as necessary.