Vinyl Window Parts--3 Repairs You Can Do Yourself
March 16, 2011
If your vinyl double-hung window panes aren't fogged, but the sash won't stay up, you may not need new windows. Mechanical vinyl window parts can be replaced. If you're an experienced handyperson you can do the repairs yourself.
Repairable Vinyl Window Parts
- Sash pulls:These are the interior handles used to raise or open double-hung or other types of windows. If simply tightening the screws doesn't solve the problem, the underlying wood (on clad wood windows) may be rotten or worn. Cut away the bad wood, then fill, sand, and paint or stain it. You may then prefer to relocate the handle into original wood up, down, or to the side of its original placement, but the repaired area will look new.
- Pulley-type sash balances: On older windows this is a mechanical unit containing weights, pulleys and cords, that raises and lowers the upper and lower window sashes. Often there is a cotton cord visible in the frame which protrudes from the hidden mechanism. To access the sash balance you must remove the decorative molding at the sides of the window, using a sharp utility knife or large Xacto knife. You may find a parts number and brand name on the old sash balance to use in ordering the new system. If not, call a window dealer and ask for help. Once the new parts arrive, remove the old balances, install the new ones, and replace the trim molding. Caulk and touch up the molding, if necessary.
- Spring-type sash balances: Newer windows often have removable jambs, which is the part in which which the sash rides up and down. Inside the jamb is a spring mechanism with a cord, and if the window won't stay in place when raised, the mechanism may have broken parts. This doesn't require removing the trim molding, but to get at the jamb to find the part number, the window sash(es) must be carefully removed. To do this, raise the sash a bit, then pull its head rail while pushing the bottom rail on one side firmly against the jamb. Repeat for the other side. Then use a stiff putty knife wedged under the stop that retains the jamb and pull it upwards . Remove the jamb and find the part number, then replace the jamb and sashes until the new sash balances arrive. Be sure to do both sides. Reverse procedures to install the new jambs.
Sounds difficult? Hiring the repairs is less costly than replacing windows. Ask for a labor guaranty. Do the repairs in dry, warm weather to keep snug while the parts arrive.