Now that the weather is finally starting to get nice again, it’s time to throw open the windows and…wait…one more try…put your back into it…okay, there it is.
Sound familiar? Don’t worry, you’re not the only homeowner who’s had to put in a workout just to throw open their windows. But stuck windows are more than a nuisance. They can also become a safety hazard if there’s a fire or other emergency event. Plus sometimes you just need to air out your home, and windows are the best way to do that.
Windows get stuck for a variety of reasons, so you may have to investigate the source before you can decide on an approach. Additionally, a window that won’t budge or that is often difficult to open can be an indicator that your windows were improperly installed (if they’re new) or that it may be time for new ones (if they’re very old). So it could be time to call a contractor, too. Of course, first, you’ll want to try one of the solutions below so you can at least get a breath of fresh air!
If the Windows Are Painted Shut
Sometimes windows—especially older ones—may be painted shut, rendering them virtually unusable. However, with a little elbow grease, you can pry one of these loose yourself. Grab a putty knife or a utility knife and run the blade all around the edges of the window until you are able to lift the sash. You can also hammer the utility knife under the edge of the frame if you’re having a hard time prying it loose.
If That Doesn’t Work, Try Removing the Frame Yourself
Of course, if your windows are particularly ancient, you might have to do something a little more drastic. Older wooden windows can also swell with humidity, rendering them virtual inoperable. You can try using a hairdryer on the frame to dry them out, but this may not work if you’re windows are really stuck.
In that case, your best bet is to unscrew the frames and totally remove them. First, use a screwdriver to unscrew the fasteners in the top interior of the frame. You’ll then need to pull the stop molding free and remove the parting strips. After that, you should be able to remove both sashes fairly easily. If that sounded like Greek to you, however, you can use this helpful video from Preservation Virginia to smooth out any gaps in your understanding.
Stop Sticking Next Time
It’s not enough to simply remove the window, of course. You also need to take steps to keep it from snagging the next time around. If the culprit was a bad paint job, lightly sand the edges. Or completely sand the windows and repaint them, if you’re looking for something a little bit more extreme.
If humidity’s at fault, though, you may need to engage a professional. If rain or condensation has been damaging your windows, it could mean that they’re not properly flashed. In that case, your window repairman may have to remove some of your siding fix it—not something most homeowners want to be doing themselves. You can also call someone in if you just don’t feel like dealing with a stuck window yourself. After all, that’s what they’re there for!