Pella casement windows sticking


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Old 10-21-09, 07:14 AM
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Angry Pella casement windows sticking

In May 2009, 4 months ago, our contractor installed new Pella Designer series casement windows throughout the house. We stained the pine wood inside, rather than painting. We have had many problems with the windows. Our current problem is that now the windows are very difficult to open. We didn't open them much throughout the summer season, but we opened them maybe a few times and had no problems. Now we cannot simply crank them open. We have to push on the window itself, hard, to get them to open. This is happening to all the windows throughout the house, about 13 windows in all. To us, it feels like the the window is sticking to the frame. Our contractor is coming out next week primarily to look at the new minisplit heat pump, which never worked correctly. Hopefully, he will also take a look at the windows then. However, I would like to get your opinion before we see him. The painting crew for the home renovation has consistently cut corners whenever possible, thinning paint with water, painting one coat when two are required, etc. Could using a water-based primer instead of an oil based cause this window sticking?
 
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Old 10-21-09, 03:17 PM
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Open each casement window and look on the top and bottom of the frame and see if the temporary plastic shim is still stuck to the frame of the window. Its a piece of black or grey plastic that's about 1" wide and 2" long. As the sash rolls closed, they act like a ramp to keep the window centered during shipping. Those blocks are supposed to be removed after the windows are installed. If they aren't removed they can cause the windows to stick shut, and sometimes can make them hard to get closed... which sounds like what you are describing.

So if you find them, pull them out and throw them away.
 
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Old 10-22-09, 03:48 AM
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Is the window sash painted or stained?

Latex enamels can be bad about sticking. I rarely use any waterbase poly so I on't know if it's similiar. After you 'force' the window open - is there any damage to the paint/poly?
 
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Old 10-22-09, 05:21 AM
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Yeah, it's confusing how the post was written... saying they stained the interior then asking questions about paint. Regardless, I can't see how this could have anything to do with the finish on the windows, whether it be paint or varnish, since Pella windows have no wood-wood contact anywhere around the sash. The only thing that "might" stick is the inward facing part of the sash to the outward facing bulb weatherstrip. But I don't think that's why these windows are sticking.
 
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Old 10-22-09, 07:57 AM
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I've painted or stained a lot of casement windows over the years but I never paid a lot of attention to what brands. Casement windows seem to shut/seal tighter than the typical double hung. Even when using oil base or waterborne enamel, you can have problems with the window sticking if it is fully shut too soon. I've always tried to leave them cracked open for a few days. Unless these windows have weatherstrip to weatherstrip contact and no paint/poly to weatherstrip contact - they can stick from uncured paint.

I'm not trying to say it isn't caused by unremove shims [I vaguely remember them, maybe removed them to paint] but rather giving another possible cause.... from a painter's perspective
 
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Old 10-26-09, 01:56 PM
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Wood-to-wood contact on Pella casement windows

First thanks to everyone for your kind replies.

Second, we stained the interior wood of the windows. We did not paint them, we stained them. The exterior is vinyl.

Third, the plastic shipping spacers have all been removed.

Fourth, on all of our Pella Designer Series windows, there is wood-to-wood contact all around the sash and the frame of the window, about 1/4" of wood-to-wood contact all around.

To me, it felt like the sticking was along the vertical side of the sash, but my husband just found a line of sticky residue along the horizontal part of the sash, in a straight line, where the wood-to-wood contact occurs.

We just talked with our contractor and he said he could fix this, but did not tell us how. I remain concerned because this obviously is not a common problem. Some of these windows were stained when we were out of town, but some of the windows were stained when we were home, and I know the ones that were stained when we were home were left open at least 24 hours and given plenty of time to dry. One was even left open for 3 days, and it is sticking severely also.

Of course, I sure would appreciate hearing from anyone who has heard of this problem. And I'll let you know as things develop further.
 
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Old 10-26-09, 03:15 PM
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Again, there is NO wood to wood contact on a Pella Designer Series casement. If you have "Pella Proline" windows, it may be a different story.

The sash on a Pella Designer Series window closes against a bulb weatherstrip, which prevents any wood to wood contact, separating the wood on the sash from the wood on the frame by 1/16" or so. You likely need to open the windows 90 degrees, and clean any residue off of the outward-facing bulb weatherstrip that contacts the perimeter of the sash. I'd recommend paint thinner on a rag as a solvent to try initially. Lacquer thinner would be the next step... but you'd have to be careful to ONLY clean the weatherstrip, because it will dissolve your finish if you get it on the finished wood areas.

Also, just FYI, the exterior on a Pella Designer Series casement is clad in aluminum, not vinyl.
 
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Old 10-31-09, 04:29 AM
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Polyurathane finish

XSleeper, you are correct about the no wood-to-wood contact on the Designer windows. The wood of the sash does make contact with the bulb weatherstrip. So far our contractor has done nothing to address the problem of our windows sticking. They have said their first approach is going to be applying wax to the windows, exactly where on the windows I don't know.

I asked the supervisor today exactly how the interior of the Pella windows was finished. He showed me the empty cans of wood conditioner and stain, but we could not find any cans of polyurethane sealer of any kind anywhere.

So my question is if a conditioner and then oil-based stain were applied, but no polyurethane sealant of any kind, would this cause the windows to stick shut.

I have given up trying to open the Pella windows at all, for fear of damaging the track system.

Also, it is interesting that on the inside bottom corner of each frame with a sash that won't open, there is about a 1/4 inch round spot of a tacky substance. It looks like it could be some of the stain.

So if it turns out we do need to apply 3 coats of a polyurethane sealant to the interior side of the window, what is the best way to do this? Do the window sashes need to be removed again to do this correctly? If we have to remove the sashes, should the between-the-glass blinds be removed? How should the polyurethane be applied? How long should each coat be allowed to dry before the next coat is applied? How long should the window be allowed to dry before reinstalling it and closing it?
 
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Old 10-31-09, 05:15 AM
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"on the inside bottom corner of each frame with a sash that won't open, there is about a 1/4 inch round spot of a tacky substance. It looks like it could be some of the stain"

That sounds right. The stain is normally applied with a brush and then the excess should be wiped off with a rag.

I've never bothered to use a wood conditioner on window sash and rarely on wood trim. IMO it's only needed when staining large areas of soft wood like pine. The wood conditioner prevents the wood from obsorbing as much stain but shouldn't be a problem if the excess stain is removed within a few minutes of application.

What does the stained wood look like? Polyurathane [even satin] will have some sheen. Stain alone tends to look dead flat. I rarely remove the sash to stain/paint windows. 3 coats of poly gives the best finish although 2 coats might be ok. The poly should be sanded and dusted between coats. The poly would be applied by brush.

If there isn't any poly on the windows - DON'T APPLY WAX!!!! Wax will prevent poly [or any coating] from adhereing to the wood.

The excess stain puddles can be removed with a wet thinner rag. Temperature and humidity can alter drying times but generally an oil base poly needs 12-24 hrs to dry and sand between coats. 24 hrs should be plenty of drying time [with oil base coatings] before the windows are completely shut. Latex or waterbased coatings will dry quicker but take longer to cure so they would need more time before closing the window tightly.
 
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Old 11-09-09, 10:46 AM
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Possible finishes for the windows that are still sticking shut

Our contractor still has not done anything about our Pella windows sticking shut. His supervisor said he was not sure what the windows were finished with and would get back with us. That was three weeks ago. We had a lot of work done on the house, but I found three cans of wood finish in the carport:
Sher-Wood Vinyl Sealer
Man-O-War Marine Spar Varnish
Wood Classics Fast Dry Oil Varnish
Linseed Oil - Boiled

My husband tells me he thinks the linseed oil was used on the wood soffits. He doesn't know what the other finishes were used for.

Would any of the finishes work for the interior wood frames of Pella windows after they had been stained? Would any of them be inappropriate? The Pella owner's manual says to apply 2 or 3 coats of a finish like polyurethane. None of these products contains polyurethane. The Marine Spar Varnish has an alkyd resin and phenolic modified resin.

I took pictures of the gummy puddles on the sill, the gum on the weather strip, and the gummy line on the wood frame, but I couldn't copy them to this post.
 
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Old 11-09-09, 03:14 PM
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Pics can be posted using a free site like Image hosting, free photo sharing & video sharing at Photobucket

SWP's Sherwood vinyl sealer is a waterbased varnish. I've not used it as I prefer the oil base varnish/poly. It should be suitable for all interior wood trim. I don't know if it dries to a hard enough film to prevent sticking.

Spar varnish is formulated for stained/natural wood in exterior applications - like your front door.

If I was doing the job, I would likely use SWP's wood classic fast dry sanding sealer [1-2 coats] and the wood classic varnish for the finish [1-2] coats - for a total of 3 coats over the stain [if used] Oil base varnish is an acceptable substitute for poly. I like it because you can use the oil base sanding sealer which dries fast and sands relatively easy. Most oil base sanding sealers aren't compatible with most polyurathanes. Poly dries to a harder film, takes longer to dry and is harder to sand.

Here in the S.E. linseed oil doesn't have a lot of uses because if it's used as a finish - it's prone to mildew Mixed 50/50 with mineral spirits it does make a good preprimer for dried out wood - especially good to prime raw wood on window sash prior to reglazing.
 
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Old 11-09-09, 03:50 PM
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Old 11-10-09, 02:38 AM
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Thanks gunguy. I'll try this tomorrow when I'm on my computer with the pictures.
 
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Old 11-10-09, 02:41 AM
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Thanks, marksr. I'm going to try posting pictures tomorrow. Still have not heard from our contractor on this.
 
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Old 08-28-13, 08:12 AM
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an easy adjustment that worked for me

I just moved into a home a week ago with Pella casement windows. Built in 1980. Most windows work fine. But some "stick" and don't close all the way or enough to engage the latch. Here's a solution that worked for me. If you look closely at the closing arm mechanism you'll see that there's a hook on it that catches a latch on the hardware attached to the sash. When it gets close enough it "grabs" it and pulls the bottom of the sash tight. On the windows that I was having trouble with, the hook wasn't close enough to catch the latch. If you unscrew the hardware from the bottom of the sash (3 screws for me) you'll see that the holes in the hardware are not round but are oval. This allows a little bit of "play" in where the hardware attaches to the sash. I took advantage of this play to slide the hardware as far away from the hinge as possible and then re-tighten the screws. This moved the latch closer to the hook on the closer hardware enough that they engaged upon closing and the crank pulled the bottom of the sash tight to the frame, thus allowing the latch to close. Worked for me. Probably wouldn't work on a more severe problem.
 
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Old 10-12-13, 05:07 PM
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Exclamation Still looking for solution

My Pella casement window was installed about a year ago. It works fine when closing, but I usually have to take the screen off and give the window a shove when I want to open it. I think it may be the upper hook that's not disengaging. Not seeing any shims left behind, no puddles of stain or polyurethane.
 
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Old 10-14-13, 02:10 PM
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Thumbs up My old casements...

I have just restored one of my casement windows. The outside paint was peeling from years of neglect and the inside wood and framework was very dry.

I removed the sash...removed paint from outside the window and exterior frame. Gave all wood a light sanding and 2 coats of a 50/50 linseed oil / turpentine mix & let it soak in & dry for 2 days. Using Sarco type M putty, reset all glass. Gave all inner wood 2 coats of Ruby Shellac (turned out stunning!!) primed & painted outside trim around casements & trim pieces in sash. the outside edges of sash got only 1 coat of the shellac...but they all got the following Spring Bronze weatherstripping: 1 1/4" Spring Bronze Weatherstrip Kit

Sorry, but plastics in any form are not reliable on doors or windows. Plastic is a petroleum product & will dry out , crack & fall apart.

In many cases, I reused weatherstripping that was original to my house.

She was built in 1916 & still standing strong.
 
 

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