What to Do About a Stuck Window

When all you want is a cool breeze blowing through your house, a stuck window can be a nightmare, especially on a hot summer day. Windows stick for various reasons and fixing them often requires the right technique and a little muscle.

stuck window

There are many reasons a window can get stuck, and there are many ways to fix these kinds of window problems.

Why Windows Get Stuck

As a homeowner, you have probably encountered a stuck window. There are many reasons why metal, vinyl, or wooden window types will not open or close.

Below are the most likely reasons your window will not open or close.


A vinyl or metal window may be tight-fitted and just needs to be properly lubricated. There might also be a rigid hinge that needs to be lubricated or readjusted using the right lubricant.

Why Wood Windows Stick

A wooden window may not be centered when trying to close it once you’ve opened it; there may be some looseness in the window making it hard to close. Part of the wood in the wooden window may be rotten and needs replacement.

dirty stuck windows

Wood windows can also bulge up during humid or wet weather thus making it a burden to close.

Dirt and Debris

Your window may have debris or dirt in the track it slides in which makes it harder to close.

Faulty Locks

A metal lock or catch in the window may be out of place or have loose screws that make it impossible to close the window properly. The window fastener may be loose or non-functional and this prevents the window from closing easily.

Poor Paint Job

The window frames may have been painted shut.

Although they are beautiful, wood-framed windows often swell during cold or wet weather, which makes them difficult to open. Trying to force them to open can cause severe damage and lead to expensive repairs.

Solutions for Stuck Windows

Before trying the suggested methods, ensure that your window is unlocked. This may seem obvious, but sometimes windows have several locks. Also, keep in mind that sometimes windows don’t open in the direction you expect them to.

Once you’re sure that your window is unlocked and that you know the direction it should open, here are some things you can do to deal with sticking windows.

Check for Loose Screws

If your window has a loose fastener, use a screwdriver or any appropriate tool to tighten the screws so that the window can shut completely. If the fastener is still loose after making the fittings or screws tight, you may need to replace it, or the wood may be ruined at the point where it attaches to the fastener. If the fastener is loose fitting, you can use some wood filler to make it stay tight and in place.

Rotted Wood May Be the Culprit

If a wood window does not open or close, some wood on this window may be rotten or damaged. Examine which part of the wood is causing the problem then remove and replace that piece of wood. Use the old parts that you have removed to determine the shape and size you will need to repair and fix the window.

rotted window

Once you have inserted the new piece in place, test the window. If it still has mobility issues, you may need to file or plane the wood so it can fit properly. Once you’re done, paint the wood and match its color to the rest of the window.

Lubricate Where Needed

If the window feels tight when you’re sliding it on the track, you may need to lubricate it. For this you can use candle wax or beeswax. If the problem is severe, apply a silicone-based spray on the areas that seem to be tight, or lubricate and spray the whole window and the window sliding track.

You may need to lubricate a vinyl window that has a rigid hinge using silicone spray or replace it in case it is defective. If you lubricate it and it still has closing and opening problems, try adjusting it to align it perfectly, or if you find it to be defective, replace it.

Inspect the Locks

If a window lock or metal catch is out of place or loose, remove it and examine the catch or lock and look at the area it attaches to. Either the catch or lock is not screwed in properly or in the right position. Ensure the hole that the screw fits into is not too big to prevent the catch from being securely attached. Try to reinstall the lock or catch and adjust it so it gets into the right position to lock the window. If the catch or lock is damaged, replace it.

Clean the Tracks

If you find your window can’t close or open and you see it has debris or dirt in the sliding track, clean it using a canister vacuum or wipe away the objects that are preventing it from moving properly. Once you clean the sliding track, lubricate it using candle or beeswax, which will keep it lubricated and make it easy to close and open.

Wood Swell

If your wooden window is swollen up due to high humidity or heavy rain, add a small amount of candle or beeswax to the edge of the window frame and the sliding track. If this does not solve the problem, locate the area that is preventing the window from closing and use a file to remove the swollen part until the window can close and open normally. If needed, repaint the area.

If It’s Painted Shut

If your window is shut after it was painted, you can open it by lightly running a putty knife between the window and the frame. Begin from one corner and make your way all round the window, then repeat the procedure on the outer side of the window before you attempt to open it.

Stuck Windows Need to Be Fixed Right Away

It is crucial to prevent your windows from sticking. The above steps are easy to follow. However, if for any reason nothing seems to work, seek the help of a window professional near you. And if your window is completely damaged, get it replaced as soon as possible.

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