Do you have a window that you can't pry open? Or a few that suffer from smudges, streaks or torn screens? If so, it's time you got those windows looking and working like new. Here are some simple home maintenance techniques that will get your windows in shape in no time.
Un-Stick Stuck Windows
Hurried paint jobs can lead to stuck windows when paint gets between the window sashes (the moving frame that holds the glass pane in place) and the window stops (the inside edges of the upper and lower sash channel). When paint dries in these areas it sticks like glue. But don't worry, it's an easy home repair!
When working on glass windows always wear safety goggles and gloves to protect your eyes and hands in case of shattering.
Step 1: Cut Through the Paint
Carefully cut through the paint in the joint between the sash and stops with a putty knife. Hold the blade flat against the sash frame and slide it along the perimeter so the serrated edge cuts the paint bond between the sash and stops, and between the meeting rails of the two sashes (or wherever your window is sticking). Cut along both sides of each sash as many times as necessary until the blade penetrates about ½" and slides freely.
Step 2: Repeat
Repeat the procedure on the exterior side of the sash if necessary.
For stubborn jams, place a 2" by 4" wood block against the face of the sash and next to the window frame and tap the block lightly with a hammer. Move the block to another location and repeat as necessary.
Step 3: Check the Sashes
Move the window sashes up and down. If they move but not freely, try removing the sash and remove built-up paint off the sash or out of the channels with a scraper.
To keep painted surfaces from sticking together, lubricate the window channels and sashes with talcum powder.
Step 1: Wash Windowsills and Frames
On the exterior (or on unusually dirty interiors), wash the windowsill and frame with mild detergent and water before you begin cleaning the glass.
Step 2: Clean Panes
Clean the window panes using professional strength window glass cleaner and a large squeegee. Start at the top and work your way down to prevent drips. Clean the outside from left to right and the inside from top to bottom to help you to see which side streaks and smudges are on. To avoid streaks, don't clean windows when the sun is shining on them.
Step 3: Apply First Drying Stroke
Using the squeegee, make your first stroke across the top of the pane, with the blade angled so you only clear the top two inches of the glass. Wipe the blade clean with a cloth.
If you don't want to use a squeegee, you can wipe the windows with lint-free cloth, imitation chamois, or crumpled newspapers.
Step 4: Complete Drying
Starting on one side of the just dried area at the top of the window, draw the squeegee down to the bottom of the glass, dry the blade and repeat. The trick with a squeegee is to always start in the dry area and overlap each stroke. When your chamois or cloth gets dirty, wash it out in the cleaning solution and wring it out well.
Minor Screen Repair
Step 1: Repair Small Holes
Small holes and tears in a window screen is a relatively easily home repair. Holes ¼" or smaller can be sealed with a drop of quick-drying household cement.
Step 2: Repair Large Holes
For a slightly larger hole, purchase a piece of replacement screening that's larger than the damaged area. Remove a half-dozen strands on all four edges, leaving single strands sticking out along each edge. Overlay the patch screening on the damaged area and weave the loose strands through the old screening to anchor the patch.
If the hole is bigger than, say, the bottom of the coffee mug, you're better off replacing the whole screen.
Congratulations! You can enjoy the view out your window again!
Un-Stick Stuck Windows
Project Shopping List
Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.