Jammed Windows: How to Open a Stuck Window

Fatima Buzdar

August 6, 2023

A woman with blonde hair is seen pressing her face and hands against a window, looking outside with a sad or disappointed expression. She wears a teal shirt, and the window has white grid lines. It seems as though she's waiting for the locksmith to arrive.

Ah, the age—old challenge of a jammed window. We’ve all been there: you try to open a window to let in some fresh air, only to find out that the window is stuck close. Or maybe you’re trying to close the window before a storm rolls in and it refuses to comply.

Whether your window won’t open, won’t close, or is just difficult to operate, understanding the reasons behind a stuck window can help you figure out the solution.

Let’s dive into the common causes and techniques you can use to get your window moving smoothly again!

Common Causes & Solutions for Opening a Stuck Window

1. Painted Shut Windows

Especially in older windows, it’s common for homeowners to have their house painted and accidentally get paint along the edge of the window, causing it to stick. In such cases, dried paint might act like glue, making the window and frame seem inseparable.

Use a utility knife or putty knife to gently cut around the window, breaking the paint seal. Insert a putty knife along the edge of the window and gently move the knife back and forth. If that doesn’t work, use a pry bar or block of wood to gently force the window.

Be careful not to break any parts of the window, and don’t forget to lubricate the window channel afterward to ensure smooth operation.

2. Swollen Wooden Windows

Wooden windows, especially old windows, are prone to swelling with increased humidity. This can make the window difficult to open and close since the wood on the window may expand, causing the window to be stuck close or open.

Using a dehumidifier can help reduce moisture in the room. If the problem persists, you may need to sand the sides of the window sash to allow the window to operate properly. Be sure to sand carefully to avoid damaging the window and frame.

3. Faulty Window Locks or Stops

Sometimes, the window lock or window stops can malfunction, preventing the window from opening or causing the window to stick.

If you suspect the lock is the culprit, you may need to call a locksmith to adjust or replace it. For jammed or misaligned window stops, adjust or replace them to allow the window to open and close correctly.

4. Sash Issues in Double—Hung Windows

In double—hung windows, both the upper sash and bottom sash can be moved. Over time, these sashes can become stuck, especially if the sash cords attached to the sash are damaged or if there’s debris inside the window channel.

First, try opening the window from the top and bottom to identify which sash is the issue. The stuck sash may need to be removed for cleaning or repairs. Carefully remove the window sashes without breaking the glass. If the sash cords are frayed or damaged, replace them. Once fixed, test the window to see if it operates smoothly.

5. Warped or Shifted Frame

Window frames can shift or warp due to the house settling, making it difficult for the window sash to move. This is common in both old and newer windows but is especially prevalent in older homes with wooden windows.

If the warping is minor, lubricating the window channel can help. If there’s significant warping, a window replacement might be necessary.

A troubled person behind a window stuck close

Seeking Assistance of a Professional to Unstick a Window

While the common causes of jammed windows may seem easy to be resolved with a bit of elbow grease and basic tools, there are instances where seeking a professional’s services becomes crucial for fixing a jammed window.

  1. Experience Matters: Even if the problem appears straightforward, there might be nuances or secondary issues that aren’t immediately obvious to the untrained eye. A professional will not only fix the apparent issue but can also diagnose and treat underlying problems that might lead to recurring jams or even damage in the future.
  2. Avoiding Additional Damage: Windows are complex structures, and mishandling them can result in more extensive damage, leading to costly repairs or even replacements. An expert will know exactly how much pressure to apply, which tools to use, and the best techniques for each problem to ensure the integrity of your window is maintained.
  3. Safety First: Depending on the type and location of your window, certain repairs might require specialized equipment or techniques. For instance, windows on higher floors can be especially risky to handle without the right tools or safety gear. A professional will have the necessary equipment and know—how to tackle the issue safely.
  4. Time—Efficiency: While you might spend hours trying to diagnose and fix a jammed window, a professional with years of experience can often get the job done in a fraction of the time. Plus, they can offer guidance on maintenance practices to prevent future jams.

While there are certainly cases where a DIY approach can save the day, the complexity, potential risks, and importance of maintaining the longevity and functionality of your windows make hiring a professional a worthy investment.

A professional inspecting a window

Struggling With a Stubbornly Jammed Window? Contact Us Now

Opening a window stuck close or open requires patience and an understanding of the underlying problem. Remember, before you force the window or attempt to pry it open with too much force, identify the root cause to avoid damage. Sometimes, the solution may be as simple as cutting away dried paint, while other times, it might mean considering a window replacement.

However, at times, the diagnosis of an issue and solution may require a level of expertise that a layperson may lack. In that case, it’s best to leave the work to an expert who knows all about getting jammed windows to work in no time!

If you’re struggling with a stuck window, we got you covered! Our Brock locksmiths have extensive expertise in resolving window issues. We can resolve any issues causing the stuck windows in a prompt manner, and assist with replacing the window if required. Get in touch with us now!

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