How to Repair Double-Hung Windows

October 10, 2010

The complexity of repairing your window depends on which parts are malfunctioning. Understanding the parts and how they work together can help you understand better how to repair double-hung windows.

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Anatomy of Double-Hung Windows

Here's a list of where to locate each part, what it does, and part-by-part tips how to repair double-hung windows:

  • Jamb liners--or window tracks. These are the grooves on either side of the window sash that hold the sash in place. The mechanism that allows double hung windows to be opened and closed is located behind the jamb liner in the wall next to the window. If you're repairing wooden framed double-hung windows, you can expect to damage the finish and surfaces surrounding the window when it becomes necessary to remove the jamb liners. Your windows may have a spring mechanism that can be removed from the sash; this requires less damage to jamb liners and surrounding areas.
  • Sash. This is the framed glass. Double hung windows may have one fixed sash and one moving sash, or two moving sashes.
  • Stops. These are thin strips of wood on both sides of the inside sash that hold it in place. The stops must be removed before removing the sash from the window frame. Gently remove stops using a pry bar; if they don't budge, they may be connected to the jamb liner or sash with paint.
  • Parting bead. This is another slim piece of wood that separates the inner and outer sashes.
  • Ropes, pulleys, and weights. These comprise the mechanism that allows your window sash(es) to move. They are typically accessed by a door located inside of the jamb liner. Use a screwdriver for opening the access door. If the access door isn't big enough, you can access these parts by removing the interior molding. Remove paint from the pulleys and replace old cotton ropes with 1/4- inch nylon ropes.

Many problems with double hung windows result from excess paint on sashes. Remove paint clumps and sand the sashes smooth. Repaint sashes and use paste wax for lubricating the sides of window sashes before reinstalling them.

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