Windows are one of the main factors that make your home comfortable—or not. When you want to enjoy a nice breeze or keep out the elements, few things are more frustrating than a window that won’t open or close.

A stuck window is a common household issue, but it’s one that could point to larger problems. A window that won’t open or close may also have issues locking. Whether it’s a minor annoyance or a major cause for concern, no one wants to deal with a stuck window.

So, why do windows get stuck, anyway? Here are a few of the most common things that can prevent windows from opening or closing.

Common Causes of Stuck Windows

Shifting Foundation

A shifting foundation is the number one cause of sticking windows. When a house shifts, pressure is exerted onto the window frames.A distorted frame will cause the window sash channels (the tracks where a window slides) to no longer line up with the window, preventing it from fully opening or closing.

Warped Wood

After years of weathering, wooden windows can swell when exposed to rain or humidity. Moisture can also cause window paint to crack and allow water to penetrate the wood, causing varying degrees of warping or even rotting.


Dirt or debris in the window’s sliding track could be causing movement issues. Rust can also accumulate on the window’s metal sliding tracks, causing obstructions.


Different parts of the window could be damaged, causing it to stick. You could have a damaged frame,or the window itself could be damaged. You could also have broken hardware, such as a metal catch or window lock being loose or out of place.

What to Do About Stuck Windows

Okay, so you’ve identified what’s causing your window to refuse to open or close. What can you do to fix it? There are three main categories of solutions.

Minor Adjustments

Depending on the severity of the issue, you may only need some minor adjustments to fix your sticking window. If the window is misaligned due to a shifting foundation, simply lifting and pushing the window and the area around the lock may be enough to get it back into place. Other quick fixes, like lubricating or cleaning the sliding track, could be all that’s needed.

Window and Hardware Repairs

If the issues are more severe, window repairs may be necessary. For instance, if part of your wood window is rotting, you may need to replace the damaged section of wood. If you find a loose fastener, it may need to be replaced or repaired. If you’re not sure, call in window repair experts to assess the damage.

Window Replacement

Windows in your home that won’t open or close could be a sign of a larger issue. If damage to the window is too extensive, a replacement may be necessary. If you have multiple sticking or damaged windows, it could be time for an all-around window upgrade throughout your home. Vinyl windows causing problems? Consider upgrading to wood or wood-clad. It could also be time for replacement windows if your windows are old. When older windows begin to fail, you may want to consider if the cost of repair could be better spent on upgrading to new, more efficient windows.

Depending on your home, sticking windows can go from minor annoyances to major issues. If you aren’t able to fix stuck windows on your own, or if you think a window that refuses to open or close could be a sign of a larger problem,  contact the experts at Acme Glass. We’ll help you determine the next step that will be the best and most cost-effective for you.