Introduction: How to Ease Open a Painted Shut Sash Window

About: Inventor and Emergency Doctor.

In this Instructable you will learn how to ease open a painted shut sash window. The window in the small bathroom on our landing had been painted shut some time ago and there was no other ventilation in the room. Mold formed in the corners of the room so I thought it would be a great idea to get the stuck window open.

Time; might only take ten minutes. This one took me 2 hours.

Difficulty; medium.

Step 1: You Will Need

  • A Stanley knife with a good, nonslip handle.
  • An old screwdriver or blunt chisel. You might not need this but you will see later why I did.
  • A good pair of PPE earplugs such as ZenPlugs PPE Molded Ear Plugs. If you are using a hammer in a small enclosed room you are at risk of noise-induced hearing-loss. I developed these myself to be comfortable and really good for reducing dangerous noise levels. If you need some good ear plugs which are also great for sleeping and swimming you can get them from here
  • A hammer.
  • A piece of candle wax. This was left over from my recent Fibre Optic Candle Clock Project you can see in my other Instructables.

Step 2: Cut Through the Paint

Hold the Stanley knife firmly in one hand, perpendicular to the glass and run down the painted joint between the sash window and its frame. You may need to do this several times to get through the paint.

Try to avoid damaging the wood by running the knife in the space between the sash and the frame.

The first image shows the painted up edge. The second image shows the knife being used to cut through the paint. Be very careful at this stage to keep your other hand well out of the way and mind your knuckles on the windowsill, otherwise you might end up with skinned knuckles like I did in the third photograph.

The fourth image shows the joint after running the knife down the edge.

Step 3: Cutting Through the Paint 2

Next hold the blade at a 30-45 degree angle and run it down the paint. This cuts away a section and creates space. Again, try to avoid cutting the wood. You may not need to do this stage if the windows are not too badly painted up or if the gap is narrow. If the gap is wide and/or very full of paint this is a good way to get it out.

The second image shows the window after this stage has been completed.

Step 4: The Top of the Window

You may also need to cut around the top; this can be rather tricky. Get hold of the sash and gently pull it backwards and forwards to see if you have freed it up.

Step 5: Loosen the Window

I *gently* tapped the screwdriver into the gap to loosen it. It is possible to damage the wood this way so it's not really recommended. The reason I did it was that I realised after about half an hour that the outside of the window is inaccessible without scaffolding so I would not be able to ease it from the outside.

I was happy to do it to my own window, you may not be happy to do it to yours. In the event there was no noticeable damage to the wood.

Step 6: Filler

After scraping away a lot of paint and finding that the window still wouldn't open I realised that somebody rather annoying had filled the gap with CEMENT FILLER. This took a full hour for me to get out and was where I really needed the old blunt screwdriver to scrape it out. A brush or vacuum cleaner would also be useful to get the broken-up filler out of the gap.

As you can see, there is quite a large gap between the frame and the sash, so there was plenty of space for the screwdriver. You won't need to do this stage if there is no filler. It is also not a good idea if the window is tight in the frame.

Some slight damage happened to the wood but nothing which couldn't be sorted out with a sand.

Step 7: Loosening the Window

Whilst working round the edge of the sash you can periodically wobble the window with your hand both to loosen it and check your progress. I also *gently* tapped the underside of the upper rail of the sash upwards to help loosen it.

Step 8: Result!

After 2 hours work, this was an exciting moment! It only opened a couple of inches to start with. The third image shows that there was only damage to the terrible paint job and no penetration of the wood by the screwdriver.

Step 9: Candle

To get the sash fully open I rubbed a piece of candle wax hard on the running surfaces of the frame. After opening and closing it a couple of times it was moving easily.

Step 10: An Open Window!

A proud moment. Now it just needs a good rub down and a lick of paint.

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Hand Tools Only Contest 2017

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Hand Tools Only Contest 2017