How to Repair Windows

By: Fix-It Club
repair window
Repairing windows? Henry Arden / Getty Images

Windows are often trouble spots. Along with doors, windows are the major source of heat-loss in most homes. They also may stick shut when they're painted or swell shut from humidity. Inside, shades and venetian blinds may not work right, glass gets broken, and screens get torn. In this article, we'll discuss what you can do to keep your windows working properly. One common problem that homeowners or apartment-dwellers will encounter are windows that won't open.

Unsticking a Window

Double-hung wood-frame windows, especially in older homes, often stick. The most common cause is that the window has been painted shut and the paint has sealed it closed. The solution is usually simple: Break the seal, and clear and lubricate the sash tracks.


Step 3: If window still doesn't open, check tracks in window frame above sash; they're probably blocked with built-up paint. Using hammer and chisel, carefully clean excess paint out of window tracks. Cut out thickened paint, but be careful not to gouge the wood of the tracks. Smooth cleaned-out tracks with sandpaper on a narrow sanding block, then spray them with silicone lubricant.

Step 5: If window still doesn't open, use small pry bar on it, preferably from outside. Insert flat end of pry bar under sash; set block of scrap wood under it for better leverage. Pry gently at corners of sash and then from corners in toward center. Use pry bar very carefully; too much pressure could damage both sash and frame. If window opens, clean and lubricate tracks with silicone spray. If it still doesn't open, sticking may be caused by extreme humidity, poor construction, or uneven settling. Call carpenter to fix window rather than trying to force it open.

Windows receive a lot of use while protecting your home from the heat and the cold, so from time to time the glass might break or crack. Learn how to handle this type of window repair in the next section.