How to Fix Faulty Windows

Windows won’t open or close? That’s a big problem! You want windows that will allow you to enjoy a nice breeze or keep the elements out. More importantly, in an emergency situation, you need windows that work. Windows that won’t open are a hazard, and windows that won’t lock are a security risk.

How do you fix faulty windows? Can they be fixed?

Let’s talk about the various problems that can cause your windows to stick, how to identify them, and how to fix them.

Keep reading to find out.

Causes of Faulty Windows


Dirt, debris, and even bugs that has accumulated on a single or double-hung window’s track can add a lot of friction—preventing it from opening and closing properly. Rust can do the same thing.

Shifting Foundation

When your house’s foundation shifts due to improper water drainage, it can put pressure on the window. This causes the sashes to come out of alignment and prevents the window from operating correctly.


If your home is particularly humid—say, because you left the window open on a rainy day—it can cause the sashes to swell. As a result, your window can be temporarily harder to open and close.

Wood Warping

Wood window frames absorb moisture. If they are allowed to evaporate, then it’s not a problem. However, long-term exposure to humidity and moisture can eventually cause the wood frame to warp and even rot. Warping and rotting will both cause a window to be faulty.

Damaged Parts

There are many parts to a window, and damage to one or more of them can make the window stick. Here are just a few examples:

  • A loose screw on a single or double-hung window’s sliding track is preventing the window from sliding smoothly.
  • The gears in a casement or awning window are stripped, bent, chipped, or broken, preventing the crank that opens and closes the window from working as it should.
  • The window’s hinges are loose, causing the sash to come out of alignment.
  • The window’s lock or other hardware are out of place or broken.
  • The window or frame itself is bent or damaged.

Improper Painting & Caulking

If done haphazardly, paint and caulk can cause a window to stick. That’s because any paint or caulk that gets on a window’s gears, tracks, or springs will prevent those parts from working properly. (And of course, we’ve seen many a window painted shut!)

Improper Installation

Windows should never be hard to open or close immediately after their installation. If this is the case for one or more of your windows, it likely wasn’t installed correctly.

Repairing Faulty Windows

With any luck, the repair for your faulty window will be minor.

This would be the case if the cause of your faulty window is debris, humidity, a damaged part, or improper painting/caulking. Debris and improper painting/caulking can be fixed with some elbow grease—cleaning away the debris, chipping away excess paint/caulk, and lubricating the track and/or metal window parts. A damaged part can be fixed, of course, by replacing the part. And humidity-related window sticking—provided it’s temporary and not causing warping—will often resolve on its own when the weather dries up. (You can also close your windows when it rains and use a dehumidifier.)

Unfortunately, other problems require more major repairs.

Window warping, rot, and significant damage to the window or frame itself (like a bent metal window frame) will require extensive repairs. Depending on the amount of damage to the window, it may be cheaper to replace it entirely.

Similarly, improper installation is a big problem. (Down the line, it can cause problems like leaks, water damage to your walls, toxic mold growth, and more.) In this case, your best bet is to have the window installation company come back to fix or re-install the window.

Finally, it’s not always possible to fix a window that sticks from a settling foundation, since the window is no longer level. This is a foundation problem, not a window problem.

Need Help with Your Faulty Windows?

If you tried the minor repairs and that didn’t work, or you just don’t know what’s wrong with your windows, we’re here to help.

Our local, family-owned and -operated business has been helping Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky homeowners with their commercial glass, auto glass, glass shower and window needs for more than 70 years. Contact us today at our Elsmere, Covington, or Dry Ridge locations.