Regardless of whether you have an older home with wooden windows or a newer house with vinyl or metal windows, any type of window can become stuck. An unmovable window is the cause of many homeowners’ aggravation, especially when all you wish to do is open a window to enjoy the passing breeze on a nice day.
Luckily, there are a few methods to attempt in order to fix this issue. There are also ways to prevent windows from getting stuck again, saving you the future headache of having to unstick it more than once.
Before attempting any method, begin by examining the window. Check to see which way the window is designed to open and if there are any locks you may need to disengage before prying. The more information you can gather on how your window is designed to work, the better luck you have in opening it.
It’s also important to check to see if the reason behind your stuck window is because it was recently painted. When paint dries, it bonds with the wood and seeps into the cracks and spaces, essentially acting as one big sealant for your window.
Make sure you use a razor or sharp-edged knife to cut the paint seal away from the window before you try unsticking it. You’ll want to be careful when you do this to not damage the entire paint job and have to do it all over again!
This is a simple strategy requiring only a hammer, a block of wood, and a protective cloth. With this method, the goal is to loosen the sash of the window (on a double-hung window, the sash is the moveable part of the window, consisting of a vertical and horizontal frame that holds the glass in place).
First, take the block of wood and wrap it in the protective cloth. The cloth (microfiber or otherwise) acts as a layer to soften the hammer against the window itself so you don’t damage it.
Gently tap the hammer against the cloth-covered block, starting at the bottom of one side of the window frame. Alternately, and gently, tap the hammer against the opposite side of where you began.
Repeat this process all the way to the top point of the window frame, continuing to gently tap on each side.
If your window still isn’t budging, it could be because the seal isn’t completely broken. This method again calls for hammer, block of wood (and protective cloth to prevent any further damage to your window) and of course, a putty knife.
Start by jimmying your putty knife in between the window and the frame. Work your way around the window frame. Cut away any dried paint that could be preventing your window from opening.
Finally, place the block of wood near the bottom of the window, on the sill. Gently hammer the block to loosen the window. Be careful to not hit the hammer too hard for risk of breaking the glass.
If your window is exceedingly stubborn and you can’t push it past a few inches, then try using a crowbar. If possible, use the same block of wood from the first method to give yourself more leverage and gently begin prying. Remember, the force of the crowbar may damage the window’s wood or paint, so be careful and only use this method when nothing else is working!
If the window is made of vinyl or aluminum, lubricant can be applied to help while trying to unstick it. Just be sure to select the lubricant with the proper chemicals appropriate for your type of window.
A combination of the first two methods might be the key in getting an especially tricky window to open. If nothing seems to be working, you might end up having to remove the upper and lower sashes.
Removing these parts is tedious, tricky, and time consuming, and you’ll want to avoid doing this unless your window absolutely shows no signs of movement. Hopefully, the first two methods and a crowbar will be the solution.
Depending on the material of your home’s windows, there are multiple reasons why a window may not be able to open or close properly. For wooden windows, the reason for sticking could be because of swelling from humidity and other elements.
Wood is prone to rotting, which could be a factor in the window not budging. Of course, if this is the case then the rotted wood needs to be replaced.
For aluminum windows, common issues include the damage of the window’s working parts, such as a catch or lock missing screws, a hinge that needs to be readjusted, or a broken fastener. Windows that feel tight against their track possibly need to have lubricant applied in order to loosen them.
The chances of a newer window sticking again are fairly low. Once you have repaired, replaced and lubricated a new window, there are few reasons why it should get stuck again.
Unfortunately for older windows, this might not be the case. An older window is likely made out of wood and there are ways you can maintain a wooden window to prevent it from getting stuck again. Use a sanding block to ensure smoothness around the window. You can also apply candlewax or beeswax around the frame to help the window glide.
If you do need to paint your window, sand first, then apply the paint while watching for runs or buildup. Also, be sure to remove all of the window’s equipment before painting, such as locks and handles. For older windows, you may need to replace the sash cords. Using quality paint will also help the window from sticking.
Humidity and wet weather often make wood swell, so when you go to open a window during this type of weather, it’s not a bad idea to take a hairdryer and dry out the window frame before opening it.
If the window still suffers from getting stuck regularly, make note of which room of the house it’s located in. The room, whether it’s a steam-collecting bathroom or a hot kitchen, may require some type of exhaust fan to relieve it of the humidity.
Running a dehumidifier may help your windows as well, especially if you live somewhere where humidity is more common.
Stuck windows are one of the most common frustrations experienced by homeowners. The essential part to remember about unsticking a window is to not use brute force. Using brute force will dent and possibly break your window frame and glass.
Patience is key when faced with a stuck window. Be sure to work slowly and carefully when using the hammer or putty knife method. Otherwise you will be creating more work for yourself if you cause unnecessary damage.
Sometimes, the best remedy is to replace the entire window. In such a case, you’ll have the assurance of knowing your knew windows won’t suffer the same problems – if you choose correctly, that is.
That’s where Feldco comes in. Our energy efficient, durable vinyl windows are made to withstand the hectic weather of Chicago and will work properly and look great through it all. For over 40 years, we’ve been the leading window replacement company by serving over 350,000 homeowners.
Get a free quote online to start your next replacement window project and say goodbye to sticking windows.