1950s home has a wall of windows, was initially exterior now within an addition added before we bought the house. We want to remove the windows but keep the look. I started the project, then testing of adhesive around the windows says there is asbestos in it. The adhesive is very thick and hard, so getting windows out does produce dust.

If I go forward, seems my choices are: a) have an abatement company take the entire wall of material away, then pay a carpenter to recreate the look without windows. b) remove windows only, then trim in the surfaces where adhesive remains. c) remove windows only, then slice the outer portion of the framing so that adhesive can be completely disposed of.

My question pertains to option c. The wood framing is 2-1/4 x 1-5/8 from the window surface. What type of saw would make this job possible? Or is it nearly impossible?

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  • Can you take a picture that clearly illustrates how the glass panes are fastened/held in the wood frame, or clearly describe? From your first picture, it kinda looks like the panes are set into a rabbet/rebate, perhaps with this mystery adhesive; is there also wood molding holding the panes in? Sep 5, 2020 at 23:05
  • @JimmyFix-it, hey thanks for interest. Adding another photo showing the bottom pane removed, from other direction. Can add more photos tomorrow when light is better.
    – Scott
    Sep 5, 2020 at 23:50

1 Answer 1


That looks like regular dried-up old glazing putty. If it was me I would soften it using a heat gun while scraping it with a putty knife or similar tool.

Then I would rig a guide on my router and remove all remaining putty (and maybe a thin bit of the wood) with the router. I might use a paintbrush to soak it with mineral spirits prior to routing, to reduce dust.

If I were worried about asbestos exposure from this job (I wouldn't be...) I would wear a P100 respirator and tent the area with plastic to contain dust. Risk would be low with this short-duration job, especially considering that the bulk of the suspect material will have been removed manually prior to using the power tool / dust machine.

  • While I'm in general agreement with the "wouldn't worry too much" sentiment, for balance, there's no way of knowing if you've inhaled too much asbestos until years down the road, and with this many windows to remove, I would be concerned. Respirator, tenting, HEPA vacuuming, and proper disposal are highly recommended.
    – FreeMan
    Oct 7, 2020 at 13:37

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