Are you stuck with a window that won’t open? Opening and closing a window effortlessly is something we tend to take for granted until we can’t get that much-needed ventilation.
The upside is that with a little elbow grease and a few handy tools, you can work around a jammed window. Read on—I will show you some hacks to help you open a stuck window.
Why is your window stuck?
Whether you have just moved into a new home or it has been a while since you cracked it open, discovering that a window will not open when you need it to can be quite frustrating.
Common reasons why windows get jammed include:
- Bad paint job: Paint can sip through the narrow spacing between the window and the surrounding frame. Dried paint is enough to keep a window firmly shut.
- Humidity: High amounts of moisture in the air can cause wooden windows and frames to expand, making opening and closing a window quite the task. A window fan, dehumidifier, or hair drier might help to wick away moisture in windows.
- Age: Older windows are more prone to becoming stuck because of rough edges, splinters, and weak points.
- Poor workmanship: A badly installed window can easily get stuck in an open or closed position. This is not only annoying; it can also be potentially dangerous.
Fortunately, you can resolve most of these problems and have your window in tip-top condition.
A step by step guide to opening a stuck window
The method you use to unfreeze a jammed window will depend on the cause of the problem in the first place.
Things you will need
- Putty knife
- Hair drier
Problem 1: Bad paint job
Follow these steps to open a window shut by dried paint.
Step 1: Loosen the paint seal
Fit a thin but firm knife into the space between the bottom of the window and the frame. Run the knife around all four edges to loosen the paint seal.
Step 2: Use more force to break the seal
Insert a putty knife in the same space to break the seal further. Push the putty knife back and forth using light but steady force. Do this around all four sides of the window.
Step 3: Push the window
Place your palm on the body of the window (not glass pane) and give it several firm pushes. This should loosen any remaining paint seal jamming the window. Be careful not to push too hard to avoid breaking the glass.
Step 4: Try using a crowbar
Wiggle a crowbar in between the space between the window and the frame. Place the length of the crowbar on the edge of the window and force the window up. Keep in mind that a crowbar can easily damage the window so, use it gently and as a final measure if all the above efforts do not fully break the paint seal.
Problem 2: Humidity
Moisture can expand a wooden window frame, making it difficult to open the window itself. Follow these steps to remove the moisture and resolve the problem:
Step 1: Set up a dehumidifier in the room
Choose the right type of dehumidifier for your needs. The portable ones are generally affordable and they get the job done. If you live in a particularly damp or humid area, a dehumidifier can help dry the rooms and make it easier to open and close windows.
Step 2: Dry the window frame with a hairdryer
Substitute a dehumidifier with a hairdryer—both do the same job of extracting moisture. Plug and power on the hairdryer and run the nozzle along the edges of the window and window frames.
Then, try opening the window as usual. Alternatively, you could crank up your window fan to seep out any moisture trapped in the frame.
Problem 3: How to Open an Aged Stuck Window
If you have older double-hung windows, you might need to remove and sand down the sashes. Wear and tear can cause splinters and rough edges that make opening a window quite difficult.
Wrapped window frames due to moisture may also necessitate the removal of sashes. Disassembling window sashes can be quite demanding and should be done as a last resort.
Step 1: Remove the stops
To remove the sashes, first pop out the stops. The stop is a thin piece of wood surrounding the sash. Use a screwdriver to take out any fasteners that may be holding the stops in the lower and upper sash to the window frame.
Step 2: Scrape out any paint
Use a screwdriver to remove paint that may be stuck between the stops and window frame. Lift the stop molding and the parting strips from the interior of the bottom sash. Once you remove these, you should be able to pull out both the lower and upper sashes with ease.
Step 3: Sand down the sashes
Check the sashes for water damage. If you do not notice any wrapping, your best bet would be to sand down the sashes to smoothen out weak edges.
Use a hand sander to sand around all four edges of the bottom and upper sashes. Be sure to sand all sides in equal measure to avoid creating awkward angles that will make closing the window even harder.
Use sandpaper to carefully sand all around the window frame. If necessary, apply primer on the window frame and sashes, and paint with your desired color. Give the paint enough time to dry.
Step 4: Reassemble the window
Follow the same steps you used to remove the window sashes to reinstall them back to their original position. Try opening the window to see how well it works.
If your window won’t open, humidity, natural wear and tear, and paint are usually the main culprits. Fortunately, all you need is basic DIY skills and the right tools to unfreeze a jammed window. Window replacement can be quite expensive so be careful not to break any parts of the window as you attempt to open it.
Have you tried other tricks to open a stuck window? Just leave your questions and comments below—we’d be happy to hear from you!