Easy Fixes for Stuck Windows

Window issues can be costly; poor insulators can increase a heating bill and stuck or damaged windows may need an expensive replacement. Before pricing out new options, try these tips for window home repair.

Easy Fixes for Stuck Windows

The window is stuck shut

Get it open without cracking the glass

Windows get stuck for a variety of reasons — condensation can swell the wooden elements, building settlement can skew the frame or a rushed paint job can effectively glue the window shut. To free a stuck window, work slowly, without applying excessive force.

Wooden casement or sash window:

  •  Run a kitchen spatula or putty knife all the way around the gap between the window and the frame. Tap the spatula or knife gently with a hammer to push it into the gap. If possible, go around the window in this way from the inside and also from the outside.

Casement window:

  • Wrap a cloth around a block of wood; place the block along the "opening" side of the wooden inner-frame and tap it gently with a hammer. For a sash window, insert a broad chisel beneath the window from the outside and lever gently upwards.

Don't attempt these solutions if you have a stuck UPVC (unplasticized polyvinyl chloride) window as it is likely that the locking pins have jammed; call a specialist.

I can open the window, but it’s very stiff

Get it open without cracking the glass

A drop of 3-in-One oil will get window hinges moving and glazed panels sliding easily in their metal tracks. If your windows have plastic tracks, try some talcum power or a little soap instead of oil.

For wooden windows, rub a candle on moving surfaces for quick lubrication. Clean out the window tracks with an old toothbrush and wipe the edges of the window to remove any old cobwebs and other debris that may interfere with the window's movement.

When it's time to toss it

Rot and poor insulators

If rot has eaten through joints in a window frame, repair is rarely worthwhile, although it may be viable for expensive, period sash windows.

Old single-glazed steel windows rust and are very poor insulators — replace them if possible.

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