Window glazing is the actual glass part of a window. Glazing is mounted in the window with the assistance of glazing putty and a frame that supports the glass and hold it in place. The act of replacing glass is known as “reglazing,” and there are a number of reasons to reglaze a window, ranging from the need to replace broken glass to a desire to outfit a window with more energy efficient glass.
The work of installing glazing was historically done by a glazier, a construction specialist who focused on installing glass. Glaziers are still used for reglazing projects in which the original frame is to be retained. Otherwise, it's more common to purchase an entire window, which can be ordered in a custom size or configuration for special needs, and fitted into place by a general contractor. Glass companies that stock windows will also perform installations, usually for a fee.
Historically, windows were single glazed, with a single pane of glass, but today, there are a number of options for window glazing. Double or triple glazed windows create more insulation, making a structure more energy efficient by reducing heat loss through the windows. Glass can also be tinted to keep out sunlight, coated in a clear film that increases energy efficiency, and otherwise treated to make windows more efficient. In some regions, energy efficient windows may be subsidized by utilities or the government, as an incentive to improve home efficiency.
In older homes, it is not uncommon to want to replace the glazing while retaining the original windows. It can be difficult to replicate designs, such as the delicate multipaned windows seen in Craftsman homes, and in these cases, a glazier may be hired to remove the old glass and replace it with double paned glass for more efficiency. Windows can also be sent out for reglazing and repair to specialty firms that handle vintage windows, doors, and other fittings, restoring them with new glazing so that they can be reinstalled, rather than replaced.
There are lots of options to consider when installing window glazing, beyond the energy efficient choices available to people who are concerned about energy usage. Glazing commonly comes in clear glass, but it is also available in etched, textured, or tinted glass for privacy. People can also work with stained glass, a product designed for art that can also be used for privacy.