Re­pair Stuck Sash & Bro­ken Locks

Over time, old win­dow sash gets painted shut; mis­aligned sash locks may break.

Old House Journal - - Quick Makeovers -


To break the seal of a painted-in win­dow, insert a putty knife or 5-in-1 tool be­tween the sash stile and the side jamb. Tap gen­tly with a ham­mer and work your way around the sash. Have a vac­uum handy for de­bris. Re­peat on the win­dow’s exterior. Shake the sash to see if it is loose enough to move. If not, place a pry bar un­der the stile and gen­tly rock one side loose. (Work in­side or out.) Re­peat on the other side. Do not put the pry bar at the cen­ter—the glass will crack! Go back and forth on each side slowly un­til sash re­leases. Vac­uum out chan­nels and lubri­cate them with sil­i­cone spray.


Re­move the bro­ken sash lock and re­move any dirt. Fill the old screw holes with wood putty. To avoid us­ing the old holes, shift the place­ment of the new sash lock ¼" (any more than that and the lock will look off-cen­ter). Mark the lo­ca­tion of the new drill holes, mak­ing sure that two pieces won’t catch on each other as the win­dow is opened and closed. Ad­just the place­ment as needed. At­tach the top, non-mov­ing piece first on up­per sash, fol­lowed by the bot­tom move­able piece on lower sash. (If pos­si­ble, have a helper hold the up­per sash as you work.) Check that the lock “hook” moves smoothly and tightly into the latch and that the sash moves freely.

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