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Replacement Windows

How to Fix Hard-to-Open Windows

6 min read

Opening your windows for fresh air only to discover that they’re hard or impossible to open is frustrating. Not to mention, it’s dangerous in the case of an emergency. Luckily, most problems that make windows difficult to open are easy to fix on your own! It’s just a matter of understanding what’s causing your windows to be hard to open and close.

Troubleshooting Hard-to-Open Windows

Double Hung and Sliding Windows that are Hard to Open and Close

If your single hung, double hung, or sliding windows don’t slide smoothly, the problem may be dirt and grime in the tracks. Luckily, all you need to solve this problem is a little elbow grease.

How to clean and lubricate vinyl windows:

  1. Vacuum loose dirt and debris from all four sides of the window frame using your vacuum’s hose attachment
  2. Clean the tracks with an all-purpose cleaner, focusing on the two vertical sides
  3. Apply a small amount of silicone-based lubricant to the tracks
  4. Slide the window up and down or back and forth a few times to allow the lubricant to work into the tracks

If your window frames are wooden:

  1. Vacuum up the loose dirt from all four sides of the window frame
  2. Clean the frames with a small amount of furniture wax on a soft cloth, focusing on the two vertical sides
  3. Use wax to lubricate the window tracks
  4. Slide the window up and down or back and forth a few times to allow the wax to work into and spread along the tracks
window opening

To prevent this issue in the future, be sure to regularly clean your windows.

If cleaning the tracks didn’t solve your problem, the spring in the window may be the issue. Replacing or repairing the spring requires a few specialized tools and some window repair know-how, so we recommend having a professional fix this.

Windows That Are Hard to Push Open

Casement and awning windows are the two most common types of windows that push open, but our garden windows also have panels that open outward. When a window is hard to push open, it’s important to check the hinges first. Stiff hinges are a common issue, and they’re easily fixed with a little lubricant.

To lubricate hinges on a casement, awning, or garden window:

  1. Open the window completely
  2. Wipe any loose dirt away from the hinge
  3. Spray a silicone based lubricant on the hinge and wipe away any drips
  4. Open and close the window a few times to allow the lubricant to get deep into the hinge
window closing

When lubricating the hinges doesn’t fix the problem, it may be a bigger issue with loose or stripped screws. If you are capable, remove the sash and examine the screws to see if any of them need to be replaced. Replacing stripped screws with new screws should fix the problem.

If you have lubricated your hinges and replaced stripped screws, but the problem persists, the issue is likely the operator, the part that connects to the crank and pushes the window open. If this is the case, you will need to replace the operator. Unless you’re comfortable with window repair, we recommend consulting a professional for this repair.

Additional Tips for Hard-to-Open Windows


What is the best lubricant for sliding windows?

The best lubricant for sliding windows is a silicone-based spray. It reduces friction and doesn’t attract dust and grime.

How do you lubricate hard-to-open windows?

To lubricate hard-to-open windows, clean the tracks or hinges first. Apply a silicone-based lubricant and operate the window several times to distribute the lubricant evenly.

How do you fix a hard-to-open sliding window?

Fix a hard-to-open sliding window by cleaning the tracks and applying a silicone-based lubricant. If this doesn’t work, check for misalignment or damaged rollers, and replace them if necessary.

Windows Still Stuck?

If these DIY fixes didn’t work for you, your windows may need to be replaced. If you’re ready to upgrade your windows, contact us to schedule your free in-home or virtual consultation! All of our windows are covered by our industry-leading warranty, so you’ll never have to worry about repairing your windows yourself.

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