How to Fix a Stuck Window

A stuck window on a hot summer day is a nightmare when all you want is a cool breeze flowing through your house. Windows stick for a variety of reasons and unsticking them usually only requires a little muscle and the right technique. There’s more than one reason a window can get stuck, there’s also more than one way to get the window moving again.

If you’re a homeowner, there has probably been a time in your life where you’ve been left wondering how to fix a stuck window. If not, consider yourself lucky and take notes! Though beautiful, wood-framed windows are notorious for swelling during wet or cold weather which makes them difficult to open. Trying to force them open can damage their frames and lead to costly repairs.

stuck window

Don’t break out the crowbar just yet. Before trying the methods we suggest below, make sure your window is unlocked. You may think that’s an obvious answer, but it’s surprising how many little locks windows have.

Plus, if your home is older, the windows could have been nailed shut by the first homeowners.

Also, remember that sometimes windows don’t always open the way you expect them to. Once you’re certain the window isn’t locked and you know the direction it should open, here are a few tricks to identifying the cause of what is making it stick.

Painted Shut

If a window has been painted shut, it can be opened by gently running a putty knife between it and the frame. Start at one corner and work your way around, then repeat on the outside of the window before attempting to open.

If it’s been painted shut for a while you may need to lightly tap the corners of the frame (not the window glass) with a hammer to loosen the window. Wrap the head of the hammer in cloth to cushion the blow and prevent leaving marks.


Water-logged windows can often be easily fixed by aiming a blow-dryer at the gap between the window and the frame. Keep the hot air moving for five-to-ten minutes before trying to lift the window.

If it gets stuck again, aim the blow-dryer at that area for another five minutes. Repeat until the window opens fully.

Methods for Loosening a Stuck Window

The following methods work in most stuck window cases. However, if none of these methods work, you’ll need to take the window apart to remove excessive paint build up, sand rough edges and lubricate them with soap or candle wax.

Method 1

Wrap a cloth around a block of wood, place it against the window frame at the bottom of one side, and tap it gently with a hammer. Go to the bottom of the other side of the window frame and do the same. Go back and forth between both sides of the sash, moving up, until you’ve reached the top of the window frame.

Method 2

If the seal around the window doesn’t give after you’ve tried method one, try using a hammer and a stiff-bladed putty knife to give you a bit more force.

Slide the putty knife into the cracks and tap the handle gently with a hammer. Work your way around the window sash, tapping gently as you go. Place a block of wood on the window sill. Put a pry bar under one end of the sash and rock the bar backward, over the block of wood. Go back and put the bar under the sash on the first side. Repeat these steps, working the pry bar toward the center, until you’ve lifted the entire bottom sash. Now, Try lifting the window.

Method 3

Try cutting the seal. It’s a slow, tedious process, so be patient and work slowly and carefully. Remember that paint can build up in a number of places. Run your utility knife through the crack to break the paint seal. Rattle the sash gently to free it from the window frame. Next, Try raising the window.

Keep Your Windows from Sticking

It’s very important to stop your window from sticking. Not only will you not be able to use it, but it can help prevent allergy problems. Not to mention it’s a fire hazard. There are a few things you need to do to prevent it from happening.

Clean the window track by vacuuming with the brush attachment. Then, using a toothbrush and hot, soapy water, scrub the track to remove any remaining grime. Reduce friction on the window by running a candle stub or bar of soap along them. Use silicone lubricant on the vinyl window. Be careful not to overspray onto the glass.

beautiful living room windows

Run a dehumidifier in rooms where the windows routinely stick due to moisture. In bathrooms, run the exhaust fan for 15 minutes after each shower. In kitchens, use the vent over the cooktop to remove steam from the air when you cook and let the dishwasher cool completely before opening it after a cycle.

Sand and repaint if other methods don’t keep windows from sticking. To do this, you’ll need to scrape down to the bare wood and sand it to get a smooth surface. Apply a thin coat of primer and, once that’s dry, apply a light coat of fresh paint. Once that’s fully dry the window should open and close like new.

It’s Not Hard to Fix a Stuck Window

A window that won’t budge is a common and persistent problem among homeowners. Most of the time the stuck window is an easy fix. However, there can be problems such as a shifting foundation, warped wood or damaged frames that may require professional experts. If you feel that your window needs more than just these simple methods to help get unstuck, find an expert in your area today!

Sometimes, when a stuck window is due to warping and rotting of wood windows, it can’t be fixed. That’s when you need to turn to window replacement. Homeowners in the Midwest turn to Feldco for all of their window needs – just ask Eliza about her replacement windows.

We have been providing homeowners with premium, custom-made windows for nearly 50 years. We ensure the windows are measured properly and installed to perfection the first time. Don’t wait, get a free quote now and see why over 500,000 homeowners have trusted us with their home improvement project.

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