How to Repair a Window Myself
Your windows are an important asset to your home. From an aesthetic design piece to adding value to your property, windows help light your home, seal in warm air during the winters, maintain cool temperatures during the summer, and protect you from potentially dangerous UV light. But, what happens when your window is broken and needs repair?
Below, we list common window problems and how you can repair the windows in your home.
Common Window Problems
A broken window does not simply mean its glass shattered. There are many reasons why you are experiencing a problem with your window—weather related, rotted wood, a misplaced mortise plate, repairing window trim, etc. These causes result in various window problems, including:
- Stuck windows – A stuck window is a common problem attributed with wooden windows. In extreme cold and heat, wood expands and contracts, making it difficult to open a wooden window from time to time.
- Loose or rattling windows – Due to wood expanding and contracting in extreme weather conditions, your window may not fit as snug as it used to in its casement.
- Rotten window sill – If the window sill is beginning to rot (or has already rotted), you will need to replace the sill to prevent the rot from spreading into its nearby wood.
- Misfit mortise-plate – A misfit mortise-plate prevents your window from securely closing, resulting in air drafts, increased noise levels, and a less secure seal.
- Stiff hinges – If the hinges on your window or broken or stiff, it could prevent you from opening your window and taking advantage of the beautiful outdoor weather.
- Broken window catch – Similar to a misplaced mortise-plate, a broken catch prevents your window from securely closing and sealing.
- Torn window screen – Your window screens help keep dirt, debris, and insects from touching your window pane and allow you to open windows without fear of anyone or anything from entering your home while the windows are open. Screens are lightweight and often rip or tear for various reasons.
- Shattered window – If your window is completely or partially shattered, you will need to call a window replacement company near you.
DIY Window Repair Tips
Although we always recommend hiring a professional window company to repair your windows, some problems can be resolved using at-home, DIY repair methods. However, use these tips with caution, as some window manufacturer warranties may be void if you attempt to repair your window yourself. It’s always a good idea to verify with your windows’ manufacturer before starting any repairs.
If you’re windows experience any of the issues outlined above, consider the following window repair tips:
- Stuck windows – To free a stuck window, try rubbing candle wax along its stuck edges. Additionally, you can plane the opening edge of a casement. To do this, first unscrew the casement from its hinges. Then, tap a screwdriver with a hammer or another household item to free the window.
- Loose or rattling windows – To repair a loose or rattling window you must adjust its positions—similar to installing an entirely new window. If your adjustment requires only a small amount of movement, you may need to adjust the fastener placement before attaching your window to solid wood again.
- Rotten window sill – So long as only a part of your window sill is rotten, it can be repaired quite easily. Cut the sill back to sound wood, using the cut portion of the sill as a template for its replacement piece. Cut the patch slightly larger than the removed rotten section. Then, use a router to cut the drip groove. Lastly, screw the patch in place and then plane it smooth. It’s important to remember to countersink the screws so they do not get in the way of the pane.
- Misfit mortise-plate – First, remove the mortise-plate from its window frame using an appropriately sized screwdriver. Then, reposition the plate to its new fitting. Trace the outside of the plate using a pencil so not to lose its placement. Then, use a chisel to change the size of the mortise, if necessary. Finally, reattach the mortise-plate and give it one final inspection.
- Stiff hinges – Use a low-viscosity oil (e.g. WD-40) to loosen your window’s hinge. Once your hinges move without friction, you may consider using a polish containing silicone to restore its shine.
- Broken window catch – To fix a broken window catch, pry off the fixing cover with a screwdriver. Then, remove and replace the catch.
- Torn window screen – If your screen is only slightly torn, purchase a window screen patch found at most hardware stores. Follow its directions to repair the torn screen.
- Shattered window – If your window is partially or completely shattered, call a window replacement company for professional window installation services.
Window Replacement in MD, DC & VA
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