Stuck windows are a fairly common household problem, of which there can be more than one cause. Here’s a look at what causes windows to get stuck and how they can be addressed.
Common Causes of Stuck Windows
Expansion and contraction due to temperature changes is one of the most common causes of windows getting stuck. Wood, in particular, tends to expand and contract unevenly, which results in warped frames and/or sashes. When this happens, the frames won’t properly fit together, resulting in stuck or difficult-to-close windows.
Shifting foundations also cause windows to stick. This problem is actually far more common than many homeowners realize. When this happens, the frames and sashes won’t line up properly, resulting in tight areas that won’t allow windows to open or close properly. In addition to misalignment, air leaks may also form, which may impact your home’s energy efficiency. Egress windows are of particular concern here as it is important to make sure these windows are easily opened from the inside when needed.
Fortunately, not all causes are as drastic. Windows sometimes get stuck when dust and grit get lodged in tracks and hinges. Damaged windows as well as hardware corrosion issues have been known to cause windows to get stuck, too.
Quick Fixes and Maintenance Tips
Before you break out your toolbox, note that you should leave the repair work to your window contractor. Otherwise, you are risking further damage or voiding your warranty. That said, there are a few things you can try that may get your windows unstuck and prevent them from sticking again.
Use Your Windows Regularly — One of the reasons why windows have moving sashes is so you can open them up to let fresh air inside. Regular ventilation has some actual health benefits, the least of which is keeping your home free from indoor air pollutants. Using your windows also helps minimize the chances of the hardware getting stuck.
Keep Your Windows Clean — Make it a habit to clean your windows as often as is recommended in your care and maintenance manual. Less dirt on the windows means fewer chances of them sticking.
Apply Lubricant — Apply a silicon-based lubricant to hinges, latches and operator arms if they’re stuck. Avoid using oil-based lubricants as oil tends to attract dust.
As a final note, consider investing in quality replacement windows. In addition to features like low maintenance requirements and quality hardware, they also come with warranties that may cover frame material and hardware.