How to Board up a Window Right Now in 7 Quick Steps

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: April 25, 2024

A broken window is an invitation to trouble. It can’t keep out the weather, and it’s an easy target for vandals. Whether you manage residential or commercial property, or are a homeowner, this kind of damage can quickly cost more than the price of repair.

You take care of so many things with your DIY skills, but do you know how to board up a broken window?

It’s not a job you tackle every day. Through our board up service here in Chicago, IL we know how easily a few cracked panes can turn into a real headache. You have to address the situation right away, but you have to be careful.

How to Board Up a Damaged Window: Your 7-Step Guide

Recently, we witnessed just how dangerous our high winds can be, but we can’t blame the weather for all the window damage here in Chicago. Our teams regularly handle board-ups in these situations and more.

When it happens to your building, you want to secure the property quickly and efficiently. Our guide walks you through the process step by step. If you already know how to board up a broken window, be sure to check out our power tips.

Getting Started With the Right Materials

You should have most of these items in your property manager’s tool box, and the materials are all available at home improvement stores.

  • Leather gloves and safety glasses
  • Masking tape, packing tape and heavy trash bags
  • Tape measure and staple gun
  • Circular saw, power drill and needle point screws
  • Plywood sheets, preferably half-inch thick

If you’re using a ladder, you’ll need a working partner too. The buddy system keeps you safe, and plywood sheets are easier to maneuver and hold in place with an extra pair of helping hands.

Boarding Up a Broken Window: 7 Steps

1. Protect Yourself First

Working with power tools, shattered glass and damaged wood can be dangerous. Always put on protective gear before you start handling materials and tools.

2. Check the Broken Glass

You can leave cracked panes in place as you work, but check them for stability first. Gently press against damaged glass to be sure it won’t fall out of the frame while you work.

3. Tape It Up or Take It Out

Use wide masking tape to secure cracks inside and out. Panes that can’t be taped must be carefully removed and disposed of before you begin boarding up.

Power Tip: After taping cracks, cover all glass with masking tape strips for maximum safety.

4. Measure the Window and Frame

Measure the window from the outside edges of its frame, and then measure and make note of the frame’s width.

5. Cover Against the Weather

Don’t let bad weather find its way through your board-up. Play it safe, and cover taped panes with heavy plastic trash bags. Secure them to the frame inside and out with clear packaging tape.

Power Tip: Speed up the process by using a staple gun to attach plastic bags to the window frame.

6. Measure, Cut and Drill

Carefully measure your plywood sheet, and cut to size with a circular saw. Using your frame measurements, drill pilot holes in the plywood to align with the middle of the window frame.

7. Mount and Secure

With the help of your DIY partner, place the plywood over the covered window. Using pilot holes, secure the board-up with a power drill and needle point screws.

Power Tip: This technique is much faster than nailing the wood in place, and it makes it easier to take down too.

Before You Climb the Ladder

If you’re not sure about how to board up a window, let professionals take care of it. This type of project falls outside of routine building maintenance, and it can be dangerous. Before you climb the ladder, think about the benefits of calling in a restoration specialist.

We’re Here 24/7

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It’s our goal to help you stay prepared for emergencies large and small, and we want you to be careful too. If you’re not comfortable up on the ladder, our board up services are always available. If you’ve dealt with broken windows recently, share your tips with our community through our Comments Section.

We’re ready to respond 24/7 with emergency board up services in Chicago and the suburbs, and we take care of all property types. From homes to commercial buildings, you can count on our teams here at ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba. We’re always just a quick phone call away.