Repairing Sliding Windows

Tracks for sliding (or gliding) windows are notorious collectors of dust and grit, which make for rough opening and closing. Keep tracks clean with regular vacuuming and scrub them when grime starts to build up. Scrape any paint away. To improve performance, spray with a silicone lubricant. If a slider jams, binds, or jumps loose, something may be lodged in the track or the track may be bent. If all seems clear, lift out the sash and check its grooved edges. Clean and lubricate these, too, if needed.

Remove a sash. To remove a sliding sash, partially open the window, then lift it up and pull its lower edge toward you. The second sash may be fixed in place, or you may need to remove some hold-down hardware before it can be slid over and removed.

Straighten a track. To straighten a bent track, cut a wood block to fit snugly in the channel and carefully tap the track against it. Or place a piece of metal on either side of the track and squeeze with a large pair of pliers.

Tools: Hammer, screwdriver, and large pliers.

Hardware Repairs for Sliding Windows

■ If a latch does not close readily, remove it and clean it with a brush and vacuum, then spray with silicone lubricant. Also check the strike, where the latch attaches, and clean away any obstructions. If the latch is broken, replace it.

■ To replace a roller or track, look for the manufacturer’s name on the window’s frame or the sash, and contact them by phone or on the web. A local hardware store may stock hardware for a window that’s common in your area.

Adjust dogs. “Catch-and-dog” window latches can get bent. Adjust them so that the dog’s “hind leg” hits against the catch. Bigger windows roll on sets of nylon wheels called sheaves, which are self-lubricating and rarely need attention. If a sheave is mangled, remove the assembly and replace it.

Fixing Awning

Tools: Hammer and screwdriver.

Awning windows are repaired /"I much like casements. If an arm is bent, place a piece of metal on either side and squeeze with a large pair of pliers. If you cannot straighten an arm, you may need to replace it. Keep operators moving freely. A stiff arm assembly could pull screws loose or even force apart the sash joints. Clean off rust with steel wool and lubricate with graphite or paraffin wax; never use oil because it attracts dust.

1. Unscrew the arm. To remove an awning sash, open it as far as you can. Disconnect the operator’s side or scissors arm, typically attached with two screws.

2. Disengage the sash. Tilt the sash to a horizontal position. Pry the sliding hinges to the side to disengage the sash. To completely remove a sash, tap out the pins of the upper hinges or unscrew the hinges from the jamb or from the sash.

Repairing Jalousie Windows

Tools: Hammer and screwdriver.

Jalousie window mechanisms J depend on a series of gears and levers that may be concealed in the jambs. Keep a jalousie operating smoothly by lubricating all the parts regularly with graphite or silicone—never oil, which will attract dust. Because they have so many moving parts, jalousies are relatively difficult to repair. Often you must dismantle the entire window to get at the vertical arms. If your unit jams, try freeing it with graphite or another non-oil lubricant.

Remove a slat. Simple tab-like clips hold jalousie slats in place. To remove one, just bend open the tab, slide the clip back slightly, and slide out the pane. Replace the slat, then bend each clip holder back to its original shape.

Service a crank. If a crank mechanism is stuck or is hard to operate, don’t force it. Lubricate the crank shaft and pivot points, and then work the handle back and forth slowly. If the crank turns without opening the slats, purchase and install a replacement crank.

Repairing Casement Windows

Accumulations of paint, grease, or dirt cause most casement window difficulties. If your casement is malfunctioning, check all sash and frame edges. A few minutes with a wire brush or scraper may remove the debris that is causing the rub. Examine the unit’s mechanical components. Lubricant may be all you need. Use automobile grease or oil for parts that are encased in a housing (such as the crank operator). Where parts will be exposed to the elements and dust, use graphite, paste wax, or silicone lubricant to avoid attracting dust.

If an arm is bent, remove it and set it on a hard, flat surface. Place a piece of metal on top, and tap with a hammer to straighten the arm. Or use a large pair of pliers. If a sash binds, partially close it and look for places where the window rubs against the sash. On a metal unit, scraping away excess paint may solve the problem. Wood casements sometimes suffer the same problems that bedevil doors. Solve these problems by adapting the door-fitting and planing techniques. Remove about he inch extra wood, then apply primer and paint.

Tools: Hammer, screwdriver, wire brush or scraper, pliers, lubricant, and perhaps a plane.

Clean the arm mechanism. If the sash is difficult to close, try cleaning the sliding arm mechanism with a wire brush. Lubricate with graphite or silicone.

Service the sliding mechanism. Sill-mounted sliding shoes trap dirt. Unscrew the channel, clean it and the sill, and then lubricate with paste wax.

Tighten latch screws. Tighten any loose latch screws. If a screw won’t tighten, tap slivers of wood into the screw holes and drive the screws again. If a handle won’t pull its sash snug, shim under it or add weather stripping.

Unwarp. If a wood sash has warped, counter-warp it with wood strips. Temporarily screw or nail the pieces so they warp the window in the opposite direction. Leave the strips in place for a couple of weeks.

Lubricate a crank. To keep cranks turning freely, apply graphite or a light oil. With some cranks you may need to take off the handle first.

Dismantle an operator. To dismantle an operator, disconnect the slide arm from the sash, then unscrew it from the frame.

Repack with lubricant. If the gears are encrusted with old grease, soak the operator mechanism in a solvent, then repack it with a multipurpose lubricant or automobile grease.

Insulation Ability of Window Treatments



Summer Reflective Efficiency

Winter Insulating Efficiency

Venetian blinds

Multiple parallel slats

Effective when closed

Virtually none


Tightly woven white fabric

Effective when closed

Fairly effective if tight-fitting


White shade cloth

Effective when closed

Virtually none


Insulating glass or single-glazing plus storm window

Not very effective

Cuts heat loss by 50%

Triple- and Low-E glazing

Insulating glass plus storm or coated glass

Low-E is fairly reflective

Cuts heat loss by 70%

Thermal shades

Quilted, fiber-filled material sealed tightly to a window frame

Very effective

Cuts heat loss by 80%

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