I’ve broken a pane in one of my windows and am being quoted ludicrous amounts of money to replace it because it is an old style window on the third floor with a tree blocking access.

I figured it would be simpler if I took the window off it’s hinges, however I can’t figure out how to do this. The windows have been coarsely painted including all the hinge parts. There seems to be a couple of round headed rivets holding the window to the hinge.

Is there any trick to removing these other than drilling out the bolts ?

top hinge

bottom hinge

  • 1
    You are just replacing the pane, and not the whole sash? It would be much cheaper to pull the sash and take it to the glass shop to replace the broken pane, but what a pain to take the sash out....
    – Jack
    Commented Jan 31, 2021 at 7:20
  • 2
    Does that bottom hinge pin unscrew from the bracket?
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Jan 31, 2021 at 8:06
  • A) What does the inside of the sash look like (edit in another pic)? B) You may well be discovering why you're being quoted "ludicrous" amounts of money to do the replacement - the labor to do this may not be cheap. OTOH, if you can get the glass out in situ & reglaze, that may be the easiest option.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Feb 1, 2021 at 16:15

3 Answers 3


I haven't worked on vintage metal casement windows but have some experience restoring vintage wood double hung windows.

First, don't replace the entire window unit, I'm sure this window can be repaired for much less. Did you contact a company that sells new replacement windows? I would avoid those companies and try to find a company that can re-glaze the existing window. Maybe search for a local glazier that specializes in window glass replacement.

Are you able to open the window that's broken? If so, maybe there is a way to remove the brackets from the frame instead of removing the brackets from the sash. Sounds like access from the exterior would be challenging, so if you have to do this from the inside then you'll need to be careful to not drop the sash if you can get it loose.

It may be possible to replace the broken glass and re-glaze the sash with new glass without removing the sash from the frame. Since the glass is broken you could try removing all of the broken glass and then use a heat gun to remove the old glazing putty from the metal sash. Once that's done you just need to install new glass and re-glaze with glazing putty designed for use with metal window sashes. I've used Sarco Dual Glaze putty and would recommend it for this. Do not use DAP 33 glazing putty that you will find in home improvement stores since it takes forever to dry and is messy to use.

  • I'd go with option #3 - reglaze in situ
    – FreeMan
    Commented Feb 1, 2021 at 16:15

Drilling out may be the best option if you can get the drill in the right spot to drill out all the rivet with nothing left holding the 2 parts together since it won't be pretty trying to drill the rivets out, holding a very heavy metal frame with glass, 3 stories up in the air. It will take 2 people to do this, and I see it being a very tight space do hold it from falling while hot drillings drop on whoever has the job of holding the sash...

Grinding the heads off on the outside would rid the whole diameter of any holding power the rivet had, but that is a logistical nightmare too.

Your safest option would be to pay the price.


If you can drill, cut, grind out the two bottom rivets holding the hinge to the window frame than the top hinge may slide off the hinge pin (its hard to see if there is a head holding it in place).

Even if the rivets can be removed and the window pane replaced, getting the old rivets removed and than drilling pilot holes for new screws is an exacting task. Maybe ask for a discount if you remove the broken pane.

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