How to fix broken windows that are stuck
With many hinges, bolts and moving parts, windows can become difficult to open or stuck entirely if one or more of the components isn’t functioning how it should.
With stuck windows being a common issue among homeowners, Core Sash Windows has put together a guide on how to spot and fix a stuck window.
Causes of a stuck window
A faulty or stuck window can be caused by many things — most notably, age, lack of maintenance and damage are the likely culprits.
The main causes of a stuck window are:
Dirt and debris — If not cleaned properly, dirt and grime can begin to accumulate in the sliding tracks and outer mechanisms of the window causing resistance on opening. Years of build-up can jam the mechanisms completely — making it very difficult to pry the window open.
Damage — Whether it be the sliding tracks, the gearbox actuator (locking mechanism) or the shooting bolts, malfunctions or damage to these components can make it extremely difficult or even impossible to open or close a window.
Warping — Over time — or with significant temperature fluctuations – UPVC and timber windows can warp and change shape. This means they bend out of alignment with the frame, making it impossible to move position.
Foundational shifting — Natural movements in a building’s foundational layer can shift the structure itself. More significant ground shifts can move the whole building out of alignment with the frames, jamming fittings like windows and doors in place.
How to diagnose the cause of a stuck window
Often, a stuck window is usually caused by one problem. However, by being able to diagnose the problem yourself, you’re able to pinpoint the problem area and tackle it without dismantling the entire window fixture and bearing the cost of a new fitting.
Below are some common window issues and what they might mean.
Your window is stiff or stuck when unlocked — If the handles and locking mechanisms all work smoothly, it’s likely a problem with the track rail. The solution can be as simple as giving it a deep clean to remove the grime impeding the movement. However, it will need replacing if it is damaged or bent out of alignment.
The window doesn’t fully close — If the track rails work and the window glides into place, you can bet the problem is with the gearbox actuator or the shooting pins. To rule out the shoot pins, locate them on the ends of your windows and see if there’s any damage around the pin or the plate where they slot into the frame. If these are in good condition, there is a problem with the locking mechanism at the base of the window which can be easily replaced.
A faulty handle — Damage to the delicate internal components of the handle mean the mechanisms won’t work and the window won’t open. Luckily, the window handle can be replaced easily and is a quick fix.
How to open a stuck window
Before fixing a window, it’s important to be able to open a stuck window first so you’re able to access all the moving parts to begin repairs.
To open a stuck window, you’ll need:
An L shaped tool – This can come in the form of a small allen key, a bent nail or a pick.
A pair of pliers to leverage the locks.
More often than not, the locks and pins that are used to secure a window in place can be jiggled open from the inside using a thin tool that can slide into the window frame itself.
Firstly, locate the locking points of the window — these could be the gearbox actuator around the handle or the shoot bolts on the lower corners.
Insert the tool into the points you think the window might be jammed at and use the pliers to grip the tool — this will give you more leverage to maneuver any surrounding lock points out of position from the inside.
This will involve an element of trial and error when it comes to freeing the bolts from the lock and easing the window open. It’s important to be careful as window frames — both UPVC and timber ones – are fragile and can be scratched or damaged easily, so be gentle with the tool.
With any luck, you might be able to free the window. If you’re in doubt, be sure to call a professional who’ll have all the tools and know-how to diagnose and fix the problem for you.
How to fix a stuck window
When you get access to the window’s moving parts, fixing the window can be as simple as replacing the damaged part — like the handle, track rails, shoot bolts and keepers and the gearbox actuator.
Simple parts — like the handle, track rails and shoot bolt mechanisms — are usually held in place with between two and four bolts. Simply undo these bolts and replace the worn part with the same sized new part to guarantee the window opens smoothly.
More complex parts like the gearbox actuator or internal handle mechanisms may need professional attention. Luckily, Core Sash Windows houses a team of trade professionals who are able to fix troublesome windows to give you peace of mind.
If you’re interested in a repair or entirely new windows and parts, enquire now and book your free, no-obligation measuring and quote today!
How can you prevent windows sticking
Maintenance is just as important as quality parts and fittings when it comes to preventing windows becoming jammed.
Build-ups of grime and debris are one of the leading causes of a stubborn or stuck window as it gunks up the mechanisms making them more difficult to open. It’s important to give your windows a clean and inspection every so often to make sure they’re working smoothly.
To maintain the windows you’ll need:
- A cloth
- A sponge
- A vacuum cleaner
- Window cleaning solution — or a more natural solution like lemon juice or vinegar solution
- Hot water bucket
- Silicone spray
Clean the track rails
Regularly removing stubborn grime is key to preventing the gunky deposits clogging up your track rails and making your windows sticky and difficult to open.
Keep your windows in pristine condition by following these quick and easy steps.
- Open the window fully for a complete view of the track rails and the moving parts.
- Wipe the window with a dry cloth, to get rid of any loose dirt or dust coating the rails.
- Using a vacuum, hoover away any surrounding dirt or dust.
- Mix the cleaning solution with hot water and use the sponge to wipe down the track rails, making sure to scrub away any stubborn build-ups of grime, mould, and mildew.
- Using the cloth, dry the track rails down and leave the window open for 10 minutes to air out the areas you can’t get to with the cloth.
Lubricate the window joints
It’s important to keep the joints lubricated to prevent joints and hinges rubbing together, wearing away or becoming more rigid over time.
To properly lubricate a window, follow these easy steps.
- Spray a small amount of lubricant into a cloth or tissue and wipe along the length of the track rails, around the hinges and around the seals and locking mechanisms.
- If your silicone lubricant spray comes with a thin nozzle attachment, you can directly apply the spray to these areas. However, only use small amounts.
- Open and close the window several times — this just helps spread the lubricant evenly around all the vital parts.
Tip: Avoid using WD40 to lubricate the windows. Some of the harsh chemicals used in the manufacturing of it can corrode the delicate locking mechanisms and the frame itself over time.
If you’re windows are looking a bit worse for wear and in need of a renovation — or you’re looking for entirely new fittings — enquire with us today and we can help you get the windows, casements and doors you’re looking for.