How to Fix Common Window and Door Issues

How to Fix Common Window and Door Issues

Windows and Doors provide movement, light, ventilation, visual contact with the outside world, and a means to an escape in an emergency.

Keeping windows and doors in good operating order is also important for reducing the amount of energy required to heat and cool your home. 

The following are 11 common windows and doors issues encountered by homeowners, and their solutions.

1. Sticky Hinges

Damp or damaged weather stripping is a possible cause for sticking doors. Inspect your weather stripping carefully for damage.

If you find a damaged area, straighten with small-nosed pliers and re-nail if it is loose. 

If the door sags at the hinges or swells from moisture, sticking may be apparent at the threshold.

Tighten the screws at the hinges if this is the problem.

If the screws are not long enough to hold the hinge in place, replace them one at a time with a longer screw, or insert a matchstick or wooden peg into the hole.

Cover the peg with epoxy glue and allow to dry thoroughly. Re-drill the hole and insert the screw. 

Look for a shiny spot on the door where it sticks.

Open and close the door slowly to find the spot.

Sand down the shiny area but do not sand too much or the door will not fit as tightly as it should. 

If the door or frame is badly out of shape, you may have to remove the door and plane down the part that drags. 

To stop the rattle in a knob, loosen the setscrew on the knob.

Remove the knob. Put a small piece of putty or modeling clay in the knob.

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Put the knob back on and push it on as far as possible. Tighten the screws. 

2. Squeaky Hinges

If the hinge seems to be the cause for the squeak, tap out the hinge pin with a hammer and screwdriver.

Apply a drop of oil and rub over the inside of the hinge, wiping off excess oil.

Place powdered graphite over the hinge, then reassemble.

If the hinge pin can’t be removed, use powdered graphite only. 

3. Noisy Friction Catches

If there seems to be an excess amount of noise on friction catches, there are several things you can do to eliminate this problem.

A stock lubricant can be used on a catch at the points of contact.

If the friction catch is on something like an oven door (which is near heat), use a lead pencil at the meeting points.

On spring hinges, powdered graphite eliminates the noise. 

4. Hard-To-Turn Locks

Use powdered graphite in a hard-to-turn lock and around the latch.

Do not use any oil on the locks, since dust adheres to it, and the lock is difficult to clean. 

5. Lack of Caulking on Exterior Doors and Windows

All exterior doors should be caulked and weather-stripped.

Research proves this is a place where you can save the most on your utility bills for the least amount of money. 

Caulking Materials Needed

  • Putty (synthetic) and putty knife.
  • Caulking compound (polyvinyl acetate type, in both rope and bulk form).
  • Solvent, such as cleaning fluid.
  • Small, pointed trowel.
  • Chisel (small, narrow blade, with a steel-capped handle).

How To Caulk

  1. Check the windows and door frames for cracks and holes that need caulking.
  2. Before applying new caulking (or putty) remove the old, and wipe the area clean with a cloth soaked with a solvent similar to cleaning fluid.
  3. To seal around glass in windows and doors, use putty and apply with a putty knife. Lay a small roll of putty, 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thick, around the sash or frame so that it fills the groove in which the glass rests.
  4. Make sure the putty is fully applied to both the glass and the sash or frame.
  5. Press the putty firmly with a knife to assure a good seal.
  6. Trim away excess as you work.
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6. Window Sealed With Excess Paint

To break a paint seal, tap a broad-blade putty knife between the sash and the frame, then work it back and forth.

Repeat this at several spots until the sash is free.

Once you get the sash moving, lubricate with paste wax, paraffin, or soap.

7. Windows Swelling Due to Moisture

Refit the window to allow for more clearance.

This is a job for a carpenter.

Failure of springs in double-hung windows.

Raise the window and get a good grip on the tube holding the spring.

Loosen the screw holding it to the jamb.

If the window raises too easily, let the spring turn a couple of revolutions.

If it is too hard to move, tighten the spring by turning it clockwise. You may need to adjust both lifts.

Replace the screw.

8. Casement Windows Needing Repair

Accumulations of paint, dirt, and grease interfere with the operation of the hardware on casement windows.

If you have one that is not operating properly, open it wide and check all sash and frame edges.

Clean thoroughly with a wire brush, scraper, or sandpaper.

Add a good lubricant and tighten all the screws. 

9. Lack of Lubrication

Avoid excess of oil or lubrication.

The following is a list of lubricants used on Windows and Doors and their recommended specific use:

  • Powdered graphite.
    Use in hard-to-clean areas where oil would combine with dust and become gummy.
    Powdered graphite is easily “puffed” into inaccessible areas.
  • Petroleum jelly.
    Good for sliding metal surfaces.
  • Stick lubricant.
    Use to lubricate metal at points where friction may develop (such as metal rubbing on metal).
  • Paraffin or paste wax.
    Use to lubricate points at which wood rubs on wood.
  • Oils or grease.
    Select an oil for your particular purpose.
    Sometimes the wrong oil aggravates the problem rather than helps it.
    There are lubricating oils and penetrating oils.
    Use lubricating oils to remove rust or to aid in loosening screws or movable parts.
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10. Broken Windows Needing Replacement

Supplies Needed

  • Window glass (correct size)
  • Putty or glazing compound
  • Putty knife
  • Hammer
  • Pliers
  • Glazier points

How To Replace Windows

  1. Work from the outside of the frame.
  2. Remove the broken glass with pliers to avoid cutting your fingers.
  3. Remove old putty and glazier points. Pliers are helpful to do this.
  4. Place a thin ribbon of putty in the frame.
  5. Place glass firmly against the putty.
  6. Insert glazier points. Tap in carefully to prevent breaking the glass. Points should be placed near the corners first, and then every 4 to 6 inches along the glass.
  7. Fill the groove with putty or glazing compound. Press it firmly against the glass with a putty knife or fingers. Smooth the surface with the putty knife. The putty should form a smooth seal around the window.

11. Screens Needing Repair

Supplies Needed

  • Screening or ready-cut screen patches
  • Shears
  • A ruler or small block of wood with a straight edge
  • Fine wire or nylon thread

How To Repair Screens

  1. Trim the hole in the screen to make smooth edges.
  2. Cut a rectangular patch an inch larger than the hole.
  3. Remove the three outside wires on all four sides of the patch.
  4. Bend the ends of the wires. An easy way is to bend them over a block or edge of a ruler.
  5. Put the patch over the hole from the outside. Hold it tight against the screen so that the small, bent wire ends go through the screen.
  6. From inside, bend down the ends of the wires toward the center of the hole. You may need someone outside to press against the patch while you do this.

Mending Screens

You can mend small holes by stitching back and forth with a fine wire or a nylon thread. Use a matching color.

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