Do It Yourself: Fix Stuck Windows And Doors

Tips on repairing a window or door that won't move, includes ideas on causes, prevention and proven techniques.

It can be one of the most aggravating situations in the world for the homeowner; it's the middle of the summer, temperatures are sky-high, you've just purchased an air conditioner and are ready to install it, but as hard as you push, pull, and shove you cannot open the window. Most of the time windows fasten shut as a result of a sloppy paint job that has sealed the window down, while other times it's the result of dampened wood that has swelled too large. If you are faced with a stubborn window, here is what to do.

The first step in the de-jamming process is rubbing a wad of paraffin up and down the tracks where the window sticks against the frame. This may be enough to loosen the window. If the paraffin does not work you will need to open up the toolbox. Place a putty knife between the edge of the sash and the stop molding. Tap on the base of the putty knife gently with a hammer as you slide it from one end of the window to another. Do not substitute a screwdriver for the plywood, as this instrument will likely damage the wood. If the window still does not budge work from the outside with a hatchet or ax head, doing a similar procedure. Slide your tool gently into the crack where the window sash meets the sill. Lift the head of the ax or hatch slowly as you move along the sill, all the while being careful not to do damage to the wood. Hammering gently on the stub of the hatchet or axe may loosen the window.

Steel casement windows sometimes stick closed due to rust. If this is the case, you will need to buy some deep-penetrating oil and apply it liberally to the hinges and handles. Let the solution soak in for roughly twenty minutes. Try opening the window after the oil has set. If the window still will not open, hold a block of wood against the frame and hit it with a hammer. If this does not make a difference the window has probably been painted shut. Use the procedure described above to solve this sticky situation.

Once you finally get your stubborn window open you should take the time to make sure the problem does not arise again. If it is a wooden frame scrape all the accumulated paint from around the edges and sand the frame with sandpaper. If the window has stuck from swelling a repeat performance can be prevented by rapping the stop molding with a piece of wood and a hammer after the window has been fully raised. Go up and down on both sides, tapping as much of the frame as possible to regain the original shape.

If it is a steal casement window that is giving your problems and you want to make sure it does not rust shut again here is what to do: You need to first scrape all the rusty areas clean and chip off all the excess paint flakes. If the glazing compound on the window is cracked or dry you will need to replace it. To do this, first scrap off the old putty. Next, paint the casement with red lead, a priming paint. Add a layer of new glazing compound and one more coat of red lead. Once all the surfaces are dry, you can paint the window whatever color you desire. Finally, you should lubricate the hinges and handles to ensure easy opening in the future.

© High Speed Ventures 2011