How to Fix Common Problems With Your Home's Wood Windows

Posted on: 4 March 2016

When your home's wood windows are stuck, close too quickly, or otherwise are giving you problems, you don't necessarily need to replace them altogether. Often a few quick fixes can be enough to get the windows back on track and working and looking their best. Note below how to fix a few common problems with your home's wood windows before you call a contractor or window salesperson for replacements.

1. Stuck windows

Wood windows are notorious for getting sticky, in that they don't open and close easily. This is because wood often expands over the years since it absorbs moisture from the atmosphere. You can try to rub some wax onto the inside of the window in order to allow it to glide more smoothly, or remove the window casing from the frame and plane down just a small amount of wood. This can keep it from sticking.

Windows on a hinge may get stuck because the hinge is damaged and not allowing the window to remain flat or on its track. The window may actually be leaning to one side or another. This can often happen with wood windows since they're typically heavier than vinyl windows, so they pull away at the hinges more often. Since hinges are relatively inexpensive, it's good to consider just replacing them altogether for a window that stays where it should and then opens and closes easily.

2. Windows that won't stay closed and locked

If you lock your windows and notice that they don't stay locked and closed, usually it's the mortise plate or the plate that is attached to the window frame that is the problem. This plate can come loose after many years of use and as the connectors or screws move out of place. Open the window and note whether the mortise plate seems loose and if so, you would do well to remove it altogether and then replace it with new screws. Deeper screws can keep it in place better and keep your windows secure so they don't open even after they've been locked.

3. Chipped sills

Wood window sills often get chipped and damaged because of too much moisture that makes the wood soft and more prone to breakage, or if the wood becomes too dry and brittle. If the chip is too large to fill in with wood filler alone, cut a small patch from another piece of wood that you can slide into the chipped or broken area. You can then fill this over with wood putty, then sand and paint or stain the entire sill.