We often take for granted the easy functionality of windows until they stop working like they are supposed to. Most of us will take notice when opening older windows in our homes becomes difficult. This can become frustrating when we are used to newer windows that glide open easily and close with little to no effort. When old windows have not received the proper upkeep and maintenance that they require, they will degrade. This is a small task that most will overlook until the windows are not working as they should.

Why Are Old Windows Hard to Open?

As with most things in life, prevention is better than repairing. Taking time to clean the windows and lubricate the hinges can prevent these situations from arising. These preventative measures will assist in keeping older windows operating smoothly. The few main reasons for older windows being hard to open as well as unexpected old window problems will be discussed below.

Dirt and Debris

The most common cause of a window not opening properly is the build-up of dirt and debris around the window frame, as well as on the window stays and hinges. When there is a build-up around the frame of the window, it will either prevent the window from being closed properly or prevent it from opening. This can be attributed to the stickiness caused by the build-up.

The window stays and hinges are also at risk on older windows. Both components are important parts that help the window open and close. If these moving parts have any dirt or debris, it can cause them to stick. In a moment of frustration, force on these moving parts can break them and cause further issues! Therefore, preventative measures and window repair such as cleaning the track, and fixing loose or stripped screws are more than worth it.


The window frame material is another factor as to why it may be difficult to open the window. Window materials that are easier to open are generally aluminum, fiberglass, or vinyl. Conversely, wood windows experience more issues due to hot and cold weather causing the wood to expand and contract. In colder temperatures, wood will contract and will expand in hotter temperatures. When wood expands it makes it hard to close the window into the frame. When the window is closed, wood will expand against the frame, causing it to become stuck when trying to open it.

Type of Window

The type of the window is also a factor as to why it may be difficult to open. Opening single and double-hung windows can be difficult because dirt and debris can build up easily. Therefore, you should clean and lubricate these types of windows often.

Casement windows are also known for being difficult to open and close. However, most casement window issues will vary depending on the manufacturer. By having a closer look and going through the owner’s manual, you will be able to identify the root of the problem. When you lift the sash there may be loose screws or screws that have been stripped. To solve the problem, tighten and replace screws on an as-need basis

The last type of window that can be difficult to open and close is the sliding window. To investigate or repair the track that sliding windows operate on, remove the sash. The groove on these tracks can also have a build-up of dirt. To fix the problem, clean and lubricate the sliding window track often. In some cases, there may be an issue with the rollers and they may need replacing.

Other Causes to Look Out For

While the above mentioned are the main causes of difficulty when opening a window, there are some other aspects to consider as well. When the foundation of your home shifts, this can cause the window frame to get bent out of shape, making it less likely that the window fits flush. Warped wood, from constant expansion and contraction, can also change the shape of the frame and even damage it. Damaged windows from external factors can also cause the window to fall out of alignment.

Careless paint jobs are another common reason windows get stuck. Windows that are painted shut are easy to fix. Slid a putty knife along the edges to free the window sash from the casing.

Either way, when there is an issue, you should tackle it as soon as possible to prevent further damage from occurring. Contact a window repair professional to ensure your window problem is taken care of properly.

Additional Reading: How Do You Deep Clean Window Tracks?

Discount Window and Door of Omaha

At Discount Window and Door of Omaha, we are committed to providing the best quality doors and replacement windows. We employ the most skilled installers to ensure the highest standard of quality service. Our Omaha door and window installers are highly trained, certified industry professionals with years of experience, including some second and third-generation employees.

Contact us for a FREE Estimate!
(402) 884-8989