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Upper Part of Window won't come down and its covering the screen? Answered

Bought a home in November. After crazy requirements for my bank loan and township requirements, the past owner hired his nephew, and let's just say, he went a little paint crazy. Yes inspection wise and walk through wise we opened the windows. (These are the old chain windows)  I honestly don't remember if the top part of the window were pulled down to test. But I know the bottoms opened at one point. I moved in, and since it was winter, I never thought anything about it. Fast forward to today....dying to open some windows. Got the bottoms up with resistance and then realized the screens were pulled all the way up to the top behind the upper window with a lock on them. Went to pull down the top part of the window to get the screen and they won't budge at all. Can't pull the screen down from the outside because of the lock. This is only on 5 windows on the first floor and 1 in the upstairs bathroom. The two rooms downstairs that are the problems are my living room and dining room, yet we did not have a problem with two very small windows that frame the others . (same age and type of window, just half the size in width)We were able to do my bedroom no problem. Got chisels and putty knives etc....they aren't budging. I heard to also try on the outside since they may have been painted out there too. I also heard they may be nailed or screwed in. All of the windows appear to be the same type and age (the house was built in 1930...unfortunately I do think they are original to the house) We will try from the outside and also check for screws. My fear is that it is just the age of them. Any other ideas???? A side question that may sound stupid? If I can't get them down, is there any way to get temp screens already made to put in on the bottom since I can't get the ones that are there down? We have heavy duty screen that we used to redo my porch door after my dog put a hole in it...I'm very close to stapling it up to the windows or something because I'm already feeling hot and claustrophobic !!! : )


Just remove the trim, pull the windows, clean them up, and reassemble.

PS. if after all is said and done, you still can't open the window, it's quite possible some lazy former home owner or flipper simply nailed it shut in lieu of replacing a failed sash cord/chain..

At that point, (I've run into it for about 10-15% or the ~100-120 or so windows I've repaired restored over the years) I generally dry scrape the frame near the window to find the finish nail heads and do whatever is required to remove them, even if it means gouging the frame to pull them out.

Worst case, if they're going to be painted anyway, one can resurface even a large gouge using a homemade or store bought woodfiller, Obviously, if the surface isn't painted, (ie, varnished, shellaced, or poly coated, one can more easily find any nail head that requires removal, and use delicacy when doing so to avoid damaging the natural finish.

Yup. More...

Now, in the first reply, you'll notice I suggested removing the trim as a last step, to completely clean up the windows and frame, right?

One *could, if one were of that mindset and had time to do a complete job right off the bat, instead of after all else, dispense with all the other stuff and just do it right.

Carefully use a razor (or razors...I find that one razor isn't enough for a full window, their blades dull quickly) on the the joints between the main frame and the trim pieces used to seal the windows into the frame, in order to reduce final surfacing/painting detail work, remove the trim. remove both windows and the parting strips, plane/sand/grind the paint from all items where it's not supposed to be, paint the windows and trim (if the parting strips get painted, make sure to sand well after allowing them to cure for a day or two, verify the sash pulleys are clean, secure, and well lubricated, reinstall all components, touch up paint on trim to main frame.

Voila, new old window. It's a joy later on. Something very satisfactory about an old window that looked to be made more of paint than window, which either doesn't open, won't close, or has a half inch thick wrinkled carpet of paint at the joints from stopgap draft fixes over the years (and as a bonus, now you truly understand what the term "stopgap" refers to and where it comes from...I just did...how cool is that? Soon as the word appeared on my screen (or in my head, when referring to this specific post and situation....I looked it up sure enough, origin is to fill a hole, although we now use stopgap ubiquitously to mean "temporary" or "emergency compromise") But I digress....

good luck!


3 years ago

I am trying to picture what you are talking about. I believe they are called double hung windows. There is a very good chance they are painted shut. That is the first thing I would check. You can take a utility knife and run it around where the window meets the frame to cut through the paint. If it was typical latex paint it should not have run into the frame itself. So what is sticking could just be the little bit of overlapping paint. If the window has swollen from moisture it could be stuck in the frame because of that. You could try getting some clear silicone spray with a little tube nozzle and spray that all the way around the window into the frame. That might help it to become up stuck. It is solvent based so it should not cause the wood to swell.

They do make "storm windows" that attach to the outside so that could help solve your screen problem if you still can't get them open.

+1 what we call in the UK sash windows. by the sounds.

They are notorious for being painted shut (or open).

Practically the only way to paint them is to remove the old paint totally.