Fix a Stuck Window

 

Reasons for a Stuck Window

Fixing a stuck window is not difficult as windows can become stuck for different reasons:
  • Timber framed windows may warp in wet, humid conditions.
  • A stuck window can become difficult to open from a build-up of dirt or too many layers of paint applied over many years.
  • Check around the window, both inside and outside the house to see if there is any obvious cause for the window sticking.
For example, is there a nail or screw driven into the window frame or a lock stopping the window from opening?   All that may be required is to remove these and the window will open.

How to open a stuck window

Method 1

  • Use a utility knife or paint scraper and run the edge of the blade around the edge of the window and window frame, inside and outside the window.
  • Check if the window now opens.

Method 2

  • Take a hammer and small block of wood.
  • Lay the wood against the window frame and with the hammer GENTLY tap the wood around the window frame to free up the window.
  • Check to see if the window opens.
 

Method 3

  • With an sash window (lifts up/down) use a crowbar (also known as a prybar).
  • With a block of wood see if you can pry open the window using a crowbar to gently lever under the lip of the window.
  • The purpose of the block of wood is to prevent damage to the window frame.
 

Stuck Window Preventative Maintenance

Option 1 – Build up dirt in the window track

Often a stuck window is due to a build up of dirt in the tracks over the years.  This is a simple fix.
  • Open the window as far as it will go.
  • Take a tooth-brush or similar hard bristle brush, household cleaner and clean any dirt and grime in the window channels. Allow to dry.
  • Spray the window channel with a silicone lubricant spray. Let the spray dry.
  • Check to see if the window now opens and closes freely.
To maintain the window opening and closing easily clean the window tracks once or twice a year.

Option 2 – Build up of layers of paint

If you have a stuck window it may be caused by a build-up of layers of paint over many years.  You will need to strip back the layers of paint in the window. Tools required:
  1. Paint stripper and paint brush to fit the width of the window channel
  2. Rubber gloves
  3. Dust mask (to avoid breathing in fumes)
  4. Cleaning cloth
  5. Sandpaper
  6. Undercoat and topcoat paint with brush and paint clean-up liquid
Steps:
  • Open the window as far as possible
  • Put on rubber gloves and dust mask
  • Brush on a paint stripper along the window channels.
  • After the required waiting time for the paint stripper to work, scrape off the excess paint and dispose of correctly.
  • Sand the channels to remove any loose paint.
  • Check to see if the window now opens and closes freely.
  • Allow enough clearance for reapplying an undercoat and top coat of paint to the sanded surface.
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Remove mold

remove mold In this post you will about mold, how to remove mold, why it is important to remove mold and steps to take to prevent mold.  Left untreated, mold can become a health hazard.

What is Mold?

Mold is a fungus that requires ongoing dampness or moisture to grow.  Mold usually occurs only in those areas that are constantly damp or moist, or where there is poor ventilation.  The key to preventing mold is to keep the inside of your home dry.  Mold spores travel through the air and land in wet areas where they can go about reproducing.

Why should you be concerned about damp mold?

If walls become stained with mold and are left untreated over time the mold will be difficult to remove and eventually may cause wood rot and structural damage. If left untreated mold can also affect people’s health. Some years ago, I helped my daughter moved out of a home which was built in 1893 in the state of Victoria, Australia.  There was the smell of mold in cupboards, and I could see mold on the bathroom walls.  Obvious signs of mold were easy to deal with.  However, it was not until moving day that my daughter discovered, a large patch of mold had formed on the underside of her latex mattress.  The mold on the mattress was treated immediately.  Mold can cause respiratory problems, allergies and other serious health problems if left unchecked. 

What can you do to prevent mold growth?

The key to preventing mold is to maintain a dry, warm home with good ventilation as dry surfaces do not promote mold growth.  Undertake the following checks on a regular basis, particularly in winter or humid conditions during summer:
  • Look up at ceilings and if you see blackish specks or a discoloration in the ceiling this may indicate a leak in the roof. If you climb into the roof cavity you may be able to find the source of the leak and take the appropriate action to have it fixed.
  • If condensation or dampness forms on the inside of windows or glass doors used a towel or cloth to remove the damp.
  • Are there any signs of black mold forming in grouting around the shower and bath in bathrooms? This is caused by continuous damp air during showering or bathing.
  • Is there a smell inside kitchen cupboards when opened? Include other cupboards in the house and garage. If there is damp in the cupboards you will smell mold which indicates mold is growing.  Check curtains and blinds for mold as they can brush up against damp windows.

How to remove mold

The following non-toxic solutions are suggested as I have found they are effective in removing mold. Vinegar is reported to be effective in killing 82% of mold, so it is well worth trying first.

Option 1 – 5% White Vinegar

  • Take a small spray bottle and pour undiluted vinegar into the spray bottle
  • Spray on the affected area and leave. Do not rinse
There will be a strong vinegar smell initially, but this should dissipate after a few hours.

Option 2 – Apple Cider Vinegar

  • Mix 1-part water to 2 parts Apple Cider Vinegar in a spray bottle
  • Spray on affected area and leave. Do not rinse.

Option 3 – Tea Tree Oil

  • Mix 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil with 2 cups of water in a spray bottle.
  • Spray on affected area and leave. Do not rinse.
There will be a strong smell of tea tree oil initially, but this should dissipate after a few hours. Leave windows and doors open to allow in fresh air. Remember:  the key to preventing mold is to keep a warm, dry well-ventilated home.

DIY Home Repairs

 

When it comes to DIY home repairs many people ask the question whether they should do it themselves.

As most people lead busy lives, the purpose of this post is to help you figure out whether some tasks are worth doing yourself, or whether it is more beneficial to pay a qualified trades person.

Armed with the correct knowledge and tools most people should be capable of undertaking basic DFIY home repairs and maintenance. For example:

  • changing a tap washer
  • clearing a blocked vanity pipe
  • cleaning gutters
  • painting walls
  • laying floor and wall tiles
  • changing a light bulb
  • fixing a stuck window or door
  • fixing a hole in a wall
  • measuring and estimating the amount of paint or tiles needed for a job
  • And… much more

Measuring success in DIY home repair is not just about saving money, but also the immense satisfaction you will feel in finishing a job, standing back and admiring your efforts.

To help you decide whether to undertake the task yourself consider the following:

  • Estimate how long it will take you to DIY the task compared to a qualified trades person then multiple your hours x 3 times your estimate.
  • Do you have the required replacement parts and tools needed, or will you have to purchase these?
  • Use the hourly rate you get paid in your full-time job as the basis for estimating your labour cost to complete the DIY home repair, plus add in the cost of purchasing the required parts.
  • Phone your local qualified trades person and get a quote for the tradie to fix the repair.
  • Armed with this information you can calculate whether it is cheaper to do it yourself or pay a trades person.

For example, if a leaking tap is caused by a worn tap washer, replacing a tap washer in a conventional tap is straightforward.

If you already have multi-grip pliers all you will need to purchase from your local hardware store, is a pack of replacement tap washers for around $5 – $7.

If you are a beginner it may take you around 20-30 minutes to dis-assemble the tap components, replace the washer and re-assemble the tap assembly.

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However, if you engage the services of a qualified plumber the cost of replacing that worn tap washer will be significantly higher. For example, the plumber you may charge around $80+ per hour, plus call out fee, traveling time and GST. Once you get a quote or estimate from the plumber you can then decide whether to  “give it a go” yourself.

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