How to Make Vinyl Windows Slide Easier
Vinyl is one of the most popular materials homeowners choose in their windows and siding. It’s durable, cost-effective, and energy-efficient, and to top it all off, vinyl is available in several color options. Sometimes, however, you may encounter some difficulty in opening and closing your vinyl windows.
Here are a few guidelines that can help you troubleshoot sliding issues concerning your vinyl windows:
Clean the Tracks
One of the most common reasons vinyl windows become stuck and refuse to slide is because dirt and grime are obstructing their track. Cleaning the track is an easy process. Start with grabbing a shop vacuum to suck up dirt and debris. You can also use a clean, dry microfiber cloth. Make sure to open the window up completely to clean all of the track parts that are not reachable when the window is closed.
Wipe the window down with water mixed with mild dish soap or a mixture of vinegar and water. Dry off the mixture with another clean microfiber cloth.
In some cases, just a simple wipe-down of the vinyl window tracks is enough to allow the window to slide easier. If the window is still having a hard time sliding, you can then try applying lubricant to the tracks. Storms, dirt, bugs, and debris from trees can clog up the window track, so you’ll want to clean your windows every couple of months to ensure that they slide with ease.
Vinyl windows require the occasional lubricant spray to help them open and close easier. This spray can be found online or at your local home improvement store. Look for sprays that are designed for vinyl applications. This information is displayed on the product labeling. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the back of the labeling when you’re applying the spray lubricant.
Typically, you’ll want to first apply the silicone spray lubricant on the window tracks when the window is closed. This is to prevent cast-off spray from making a mess on the glass and the windowsill, which can be difficult to remove. Spray the lubricant into a dry cloth and apply alongside the grooves on the window track.
Then, reapply the lubricant onto the cloth and open the window to wipe the parts of the track you could not get when the window was closed. Repeat this process a few times to evenly distribute the lubricant onto the track. Any excess silicone lubricant can be wiped up with a water-based cleaner and a damp cloth.
Lubricating a window’s vinyl track will solve the majority of the issue, but if not, you will need to investigate further. You won’t have to lubricate the windows as often as you will need to clean out the tracks, but it’s a good idea to keep the spray on hand in case the window struggles to open and close. In other cases, it could be an issue of weather stripping that needs to be replaced.
Replacing Weather Stripping
Sometimes, weather stripping deteriorates and peels, which can block a window track and make it difficult to open and close your vinyl window. Weather stripping can peel or double over on itself, jamming the track. Not only does this hinder the window’s function, but it makes the window less energy efficient. Weather stripping is essential in keeping energy inside the home and making sure you aren’t paying more than you should on your monthly utility bills.
If the weather stripping seals look to be in good shape but are just out of position, you just need to reattach them in place. You’ll want to clean and lubricate the window regardless, as to ensure the window can slide properly along its track.
For weather stripping that needs to be replaced, use a putty or utility knife to remove the old weather stripping. Kits are sold online or at your local home improvement store. You can follow the manufacturer’s instructions in replacing your weather stripping. You’ll need to trim the seal to fit your window size. Once you’re finished replacing the weather stripping, clean the track and lubricate it with a silicone spray.
Troubleshooting Sliding Issues
If cleaning the track, lubricating, and replacing the weather stripping isn’t doing the trick, something could be obstructing the track that needs to be reset into place. Modern windows are designed for easy removal for cleaning. Sliding issues could be because the window wasn’t popped back into its proper place after it was taken out for cleaning.
For pieces and parts that need to be replaced in your vinyl window system, you can contact your window manufacturer. If the window is under warranty, getting new parts shouldn’t be an issue. If the window was a recent upgrade, your window contractor should be able to help you identify why the vinyl window is having issues with its track if lubricating and cleaning aren’t effective.