Window Glazing 101: Which Type to Choose for Your Window Repair

By thewriteDuffy •  Updated: 06/07/24 •  4 min read

When it comes to sealing windows during a repair, choosing the right material is crucial for both durability and effectiveness. In this guide, we’ll explore the pros and cons of two popular glazing options: glazing compounds and glazing tape.

Glazing Compounds: Oil-based and Latex-based

Glazing compounds have been the go-to choice for decades. There are two main types: oil-based and latex-based.

Oil-based Compounds

Our Choice for Oil Based Glazing Compound
Dap 33 Glazing Compound, 1/2-Pint, White
$10.24 ($1.28 / Fl Oz)

DAP ‘33’ Glazing is a ready-to-use oil-based glazing compound that can be used on wood or metal sashes for an airtight, watertight seal that resists sagging, shrinking, chalking, and cracking.

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04/14/2024 11:57 pm GMT

Oil-based compounds are applied with a glazing knife. They come with a lengthy working time and take longer to dry and stabilize but are durable and easy to apply.

Once fully dried, which may take several weeks, they require painting over with an oil-based paint or primer.

Ideal for both wood and metal sashes, oil-based glaze compounds create an airtight, watertight seal and are resistant to sagging, shrinking, chalking, and cracking.

Clean-up requires mineral spirits as with any oil-based product.

Latex-based Compounds

Our Choice for Latex Based Glazing Compound
DAP Synthetic Polymer Latex Window Glazing Cartridge, 10.1 oz, White

DAP Latex Window Glazing can be used to glaze glass in wood or metal window frames. It resists sagging, cracking, shrinking, and chalking, and best of all cleans up with water since it's latex-based.

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04/15/2024 12:02 am GMT

Latex-based compounds, on the other hand, can be left unpainted or painted with either latex or oil-based paints once fully dry.

Drying takes about three days for latex paint and seven for oil-based paint.

Suitable for glazing glass in wood or metal frames, they ensure a smooth application.

Latex glazing compounds adhere well to both glass and sash, resist sagging, cracking, shrinking, and chalking, and can be cleaned up with water, which is a huge convenience over oil-based compounds.

Glazing Tape: A Convenient Alternative

Glazing tape offers a different approach.

It’s a pre-formed, sticky tape that’s easy to apply, making it a time-saver for many DIY enthusiasts.

Glazing tape is especially useful for unusual shapes or where a clean, straight line is needed. It adheres strongly to glass and frame, providing a good seal against weather elements. It’s also available in various thicknesses and widths to suit different window types.

T.R.U. Double Coated Window Glazing Tape
$14.98 ($0.10 / Foot)

Available in several widths and roll-lengths, this two-sided window glazing tape works well for double-pane windows. Its adhesive quality provides a strong, airtight, and watertight seal.

Window glazing tape is easy to apply, making it a time-saver and an excellent choice for modern window frames made of materials like vinyl or metal.

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04/15/2024 12:07 am GMT

While it might not have the traditional adhesion of glazing compounds, glazing tape is a practical, efficient choice for many projects, particularly those requiring a quick turnaround or less mess. But it’s not ALWAYS the better choice, so let’s talk about when you may want to choose putty over tape.

Choosing Between Glazing Tape and Putty

  1. Window’s Age:
    • Older Windows: Traditional glazing putty is often the choice for older windows, particularly because it adheres well to the wood frames commonly found in these structures. It’s in line with the original construction methods used for these windows.
    • Newer Windows: For modern, especially double-pane windows, glazing tape is more suitable. Its adhesive quality is compatible with the advanced design of these windows, ensuring a better seal necessary for energy efficiency.
  2. Frame Material:
    • Wood Frames: Putty is typically used with wood frames. It’s effective in accommodating the natural expansion and contraction of wood with temperature changes. You can learn more about fixing wood-frame window glass with putty here.
    • Metal or Vinyl Frames: Glazing tape is often a better fit for metal or vinyl frames due to its strong adhesive properties. It forms a tight seal essential for the insulation properties of these windows.
  3. Maintenance and Durability:
    • Putty: Requires more maintenance over time. It may need to be reapplied or touched up after several years, especially in harsh weather conditions.
    • Tape: Offers a more durable, low-maintenance solution. Once applied, it doesn’t require much upkeep, making it a practical choice for those seeking a long-lasting solution without frequent maintenance.
  4. Ease of Application:
    • Skill Level for Putty: Applying putty can be more labor-intensive and requires a certain level of skill, especially to ensure a proper seal and adherence to the frame.
    • Ease with Tape: Glazing tape is straightforward to apply, making it a convenient choice for DIY projects, especially for those less experienced in window glazing.

The choice between glazing tape and putty depends more on the age and material of the window, the desired level of maintenance, and the ease of application. Each option has its own set of advantages in different scenarios, and the right choice will align with the specific needs of your window glazing project.


Whether you opt for a traditional glazing compound or the more modern glazing tape, both options have their unique benefits.

Your choice will depend on factors like the project’s specifics, the desired aesthetic, and your level of DIY experience. Remember, the key to a successful glazing job is in the preparation and application, so take your time to choose the right material for your needs.


At home, April is a mom, wife, and DIY darling. Among other home projects, she helped her husband Dan renovate their 1986 bungalow and is currently designing and decorating the 2023 custom home they are building themselves. Professionally, April is a writer, author, and online marketer with 15 years of experience writing for newspapers and magazines, building online authority websites, and publishing books.