Window Frame Is Stuck

Problem: Window won’t open be cause of paint, dirt, or moisture problems.

Background: Though windows can become stuck in periods of high humidity, they often stick because they are painted shut. Windows may also stick because their channels or guides need cleaning and/or lubricating.

What to do: If the window is stuck because it has been painted shut, use a utility knife and insert it between the window stop and the sash (wood part of the window). Slide it along the crack all the way around the window. Local hardware stores or home centers may carry other tools designed for this purpose; one is called a window zipper. Next, if the window still appears to be stuck, use a short piece of scrap lumber, such as a 2x2, and place it against the sash. Tap lightly on the scrap wood with a hammer.

Special advice: To free the window you may have to take out the window stops by removing any visible screws. If the stops are nailed, use a thin pry bar to remove them, working close to the nail locations. After removing the stops, sand or lightly plane them so the window will move freely.

Helpful hint: When painting or repainting windows, make sure you move the window once or twice while the paint is drying to prevent the stuck-window syndrome.


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