Options for Opening Jammed Windows
Windows that refuse to open are the bane of homeowners
everywhere. It might happen because a window was painted shut, or
perhaps years of neglect have allowed the window to swell in its
frame. The temptation to use a crowbar or brute strength to
open a stubborn window can
be overwhelming, but those are not the best options for safety.
How to Open the Stubborn Jammed Window
When you are trying to open a window that just doesn't want to
budge, start with the easiest way to open it and go from there.
Here's how to handle the problem:
- Wear leather work gloves and eye protection. Even with your
most careful efforts, your hand could slip, and that could mean
- Identify the problem as best you can. Is there paint on the
inside of the window? How about the outside? Look at the tracks at
the top of the window--occasionally something falls into a track,
preventing the window from going up all the way.
- If the window has swelled in its frame, opening it can be
difficult or impossible until that situation is remedied, so
consider a dehumidifier or other methods to reduce wood
- Most issues with jammed windows come from old paint. If this is
the problem, start with a wide, stiff-blade putty knife. Push the
knife gently into the seam between the sash and the interior stop,
cutting through the paint as you go. Don't forget to push the knife
deep into corners to get the paint that might have flowed into the
- Still not enough? Consider using paint thinner to help you
remove many layers of dried paint. If you go this route, ensure
that you can open other windows in the room or set up a fan for
adequate ventilation. Follow the manufacturer's directions for
proper use of the chemicals.
- When you try to open the window again, use the handles to
gently raise the window, or place your gloved hands on either side
of the top of the sash to push it up. Never force the window or
push from the center of the top of the sash--that could break the
When all else fails and that stubborn window simply does not
open, it's time to call a window
contractor to pinpoint the problem. If the window can be fixed,
great--but if not, they can tell you what you need to know about
replacing that old window with a new, easy-to-open model.
Check out some of these popular projects in your neighborhood: