Tips for Freeing Sticking Windows

Occasionally, you may have to deal with sticking windows at home. Various factors may cause a window to get stuck. A buildup of dirt and debris in the window casing can hinder normal operation. Problems in the foundation of your home can cause windows to lose alignment and get stuck. Sometimes, a window is painted and shut before it completely dries. This effectively glues the window closed. High humidity can cause doors and windows to swell and bind them in the jamb. Whatever the case, it helps if you know how to free a stuck window.

Identify Paint Bonds

Windows that have been painted over are the most common causes of stuck windows. It is usually easy to spot the paint seal on a stuck window. However, if you’re unable to see the seal, you need to determine where the bond is. Insert a piece of paper between the window casing and the perimeter of the window sash. Slide the paper all round the sash. When the paper can't move through the gap, take note of this as a stuck point. Use a utility knife to cut through the paint bond.

Cut Through the Bond

Firmly press a utility knife, scraper or window zipper into the bond. Your objective is to cut through the bond between the window sash and the casing. Trace the knife through the bond, back and forth. You may have to trace several times, before the bond finally gives way. Attempt to open the window. If it doesn’t open, go outside and and look for a bond in the same manner.

Hammer and Block of Wood

You could also try and free the window with a hammer and wooden block. Work from the inside of the window. Hold a small block of wood against the window sash. Strike the wood gently  with a hammer. Be careful to direct the pressure outwards from the sash and not inwards towards the glass. This will help to prevent breakage of the glass. You also want to be sure not to damage the woodwork. Move the wood along the sash so that you’re able to tap all around. The pressure from the hammer should loosen the stuck window and enable you to open it.


Rub the wax of a candle at the areas where the window is stuck. It helps to lubricate the window and loosen it. You should then be able to slide the window up and down. It also helps to rub the candle wax along the tracks of the casing once you get the window open. It helps to lubricate the channels in the window casing. Then, open and shut the window a few times to make sure it is functional.

Unscrew the Latch

A faulty latch may cause a window to get stuck. The latch may appear to be open when, in actual fact, it is stuck. This prevents the window from any movement. If you’ve pried all round the window frame and it still doesn’t open, try the latch. Use a screwdriver to remove screws from the casing. Once you’ve removed the latch, you should be able to open the window. Make arrangements to replace the latch.