Dealing With Stuck Windows And Doors
By Kurt J Schefken
There are few things more annoying than stuck windows or doors. Especially if you are in a hurry, you don't want to be struggling with a door to get going.
There are many reasons a window may stick. Windows are usually made of wood and wood can expand or contract. Parts of a window may have been painted over that need to move, or sometimes the surfaces stick together. All of these problems can be solved.
-If a joint is painted over, cut the paint with a putty knife tool made for this purpose called a window zipper. Hold the blade against the sash and push the edge into the joint and pull it along.
-If there is paint build up from years of painting over, use a paint scraper to remove the excess paint from the window stop, parting strip and blind stop, all the while raising and lowering the sash. If it is a lower sash, you can remove the sash and scrape out the edges facing the window. As a final desperate measure, you can remove both sashes and strip all of the paint off and repaint and reinstall.
-If there is too much friction, lubricate the sash channels with wax or talcum powder. This prevents painted surfaces from sticking together. If weather stripping is blocking the channel, use a hammer to flatten the stripping.
-If the window is stuck for no apparent reason, a sharp rap to the center rail near the lock may loosen what is stuck. Use the palm of your hand or a rubber mallet.
-If you are losing heat in addition to having stuck windows, it may be worth the effort to replace the friction channels. Remove the sashes, weights and pulleys, and, using a rod or stick, push fiberglass into the openings for the weight cavities. With a hammer and chisel, notch the ends of the top parting strip to create new channels, and then replace the sashes in the window frame between the new channels. Tilt the assembly back into the opening and then reinstall the interior stops and adjust the tension. If the window is too loose, hammer a wood block against the stop at the nails to increase tension. Nail in additional nails when the tension is just right.
Usually door stick for the same reasons that windows do, but hinges may add some new reasons and complications.
-If the door is rubbing against the door jamb on the hinge side, shim the hinges out by unscrewing the hinge and placing a piece of cardboard behind it. If the door is rubbing against the door jamb on the other side, you may have to plane the door down. Mark the spot where it is rubbing and take the door down. Lay the door down and plane in the appropriate spot.
-If the hinge screws are loose, wedge the door open and remove the screws. Fold back the hinge and fit small wood pieces into the holes. Add glue and plane until the hole is filled and flush, then drill in new screws.
-If the door stop is binding on the hinge side of a door, pry off the stop. Then draw a line where the door closes and reposition the stop to the new position.
-If the latch and strike are out of alignment (usually because of settling of the house), you will have to adjust the strike plate. If it is too far, shim it with cardboard; if it is too close, remove the strike plate, chisel out a new mortise and drill new holes and replace the strike. You may have to fill the old mortise hole and sand it down.
About the Author: Kurt Schefken continually writes detailed papers on areas similar to best miter saws and woodworking saws. His abstracts on best table saws are published on his site .