Home > Home Window Repair

Home Window Repair

Other than broken windowpanes or damaged window screens, the biggest repair need for home windows pertains to window movement. Home windows are supposed to be opened and closed. If they lose the ability to do so, some window repair is in order.
There are three main home window varieties: sash windows, sliding windows, and casement windows. Each of these windows open and close differently and utilize different mechanisms, so they must be repaired accordingly. The more complex a window’s opening mechanism, the more challenging they can be to repair.

Repairing a Sash Window
Sash windows are the most common household windows. They feature two sashes that move up and down along vertical tracks. When this movement is inhibited, or the bottom sash won’t stay up, the problem usually lies in the pivot bars and window balance shoes. Pivot bars allow the window to tilt inwards, and the shoes permit the window to move up and down and stay in place when open.
To check the status of the pivot bars, open the window and tilt it inwards until it sits at a 90-degree angle. The pivot bars will be short slender strips of metal that sit at the bottom of the window sash. Check the bars for damage or twisting. If the bars are twisted, then gently return them to a straightened position. If the bars are damaged, they will need to be replaced with new ones. When installing pivot bars, they can easily be removed and replaced with a screwdriver. Replacement parts can be found at your local window supply store.
To check the window shoes, open the window to the same 90-degree angle. Shoes are small plastic or metal parts with U-shaped slots that should sit halfway up the window sash. If you find them closer to the bottom, then they have slipped out of place. Use a screwdriver to turn the U-shaped slot to the side, unlock the shoe, slide it back into place, and then turn the slot to lock it again. If you find that the shoes have been damaged, then they will need to be replaced. They can also easily be removed and reinstalled with a screwdriver.

Repairing a Sliding Window
Sliding windows are essentially vertical versions of sash windows. They have one or more sashes that are fitted with rollers and slide along tracks at the top and bottom of the window. Sliding windows have the simplest mechanisms, so they are the easiest to repair. Dirty tracks or damaged rollers cause the most common problems.
To clean the tracks, start by removing the sashes. Release any safety measures that are holding the sash in place, lift it up into the upper track, and tilt the bottom out to remove it. Repeat this step with all the sashes. Then thoroughly clean the tracks by vacuuming any debris and using a cloth soaked in a solvent to scrub away any built-up dirt or residue. To enhance the sliding movement of your window, coat the tracks in a lubricant.

While the sashes are out of the window, check the status of the rollers. Give them a good cleaning if they are dirty, and check for any damage. If the rollers are damaged, replacement rollers can be found at your local window supply store. Be sure you know what size and brand of window you have before buying the new parts. Once you have the replacement rollers, remove the old ones with a screwdriver, and screw the new ones into the sashes. Replace the window sashes and check the sliding movement of the window. You should be all set!

Repairing a Casement Window
Casement windows are commonly found in older homes and don’t feature tracks like the previous two windows. They swing outward on a horizontal plane via hinges that connect them to the frame and are controlled by a crank on the inside of the window. They have the most complicated mechanism but are not too difficult to repair. Common issues with casement windows are stripped crank gears and stuck crank operators.

To check if the gears in the handle or crank operator are damaged, remove the handle and the operator cover with a screwdriver and look for any wear and tear. If any of the gears appear to be stripped, then either the handle or the crank operator (or both) will need to be replaced. Check for the brand of your window, and then order replacement parts from a local supply store or directly from the window manufacturer. To replace the mechanism, unscrew the faulty operator and detach the crank arm. Set the new one in its place and screw it in. Reattach the crank arm to the operator and install the new crank handle.

If you are having an issue with a stubborn crank operator, but the gears do not appear to be stripped, try cleaning and adding a lubricant to the gears. If that doesn’t work, then the operator may just need to be replaced. Follow the same steps above and install a new operator mechanism. Your window should function as good as new!