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How to Fix Common Window Problems (page 1 of 2)

Learn how to maintain and repair common problems on wood or vinyl windows, such as sticking, rotten sills and removing glass.
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

More in Windows Walls and Doors

Remove Casement and Plane Edge if Wood is Sticking Watch Video

Step-by-Step Instructions For:

Freeing Stuck Wooden Windows

Wooden windows can swell in wet weather. Try rubbing candle wax along the sticking edge of the window. If that does not work, plane away some wood as shown in image 1. You can plane the opening edge of a casement. Take off enough extra wood to allow for painting.

Unscrew the casement from its hinges so that you can plane the sticking edge.
Tap a screwdriver with a hammer to free painted-in screws (image 2).

Movement of wood due to damp weather can also make fasteners difficult to close, or lead to loose, rattling windows. Fix the problem by adjusting the positions, as if you were installing from scratch. If adjustment only requires minimal movement, you may have to move the fastener so you can attach into solid wood.

Repairing a Rotten Sill

If a small area of a wooden sill is rotten, but the rest of the window is sound, you can just replace this part of the sill.

Cut back the sill to sound wood (image 1). Use it as a template for the patch. Mark the position of the groove under the sill (the drip groove).

Cut the patch slightly larger than the rotten section you removed. Use a router to cut out the drip groove. Screw the patch in place and then plane it smooth. Make sure to countersink the screws so they won't be in the way of the plane.

Other wooden frame repairs
Another option for fixing loose joints is to strengthen them with dowel.
If a whole section of your window is rotten, then pry the piece out and make a replacement, using the old section as a template. If rot is more widespread, you should replace the entire window.

Adjusting a Mortise-Plate

If the mortise-plate for a mortise-type catch is poorly fitted, it makes the catch difficult to use and can prevent it from holding the window closed securely. Remove the mortise-plate and refit it properly.

Unscrew the mortise-plate from the window frame (image 1).

Reposition the mortise-plate. Draw around the outside and the inside of the mortise-plate with a pencil (image 2).

Use a chisel to adjust the size of the mortise if necessary. Reattach the mortise-plate and check that it fits snugly (image 3).

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Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009