Fixing Sash Windows That Are Painted Shut

Sash Window painted shut?

Traditional sash windows seem to have become a double-edged sword in the UK. Home owners want to keep them but no longer have the knowledge or the skills to maintain them. Sash windows will almost always be original to the property. Over time, cords will have broken, Sashes will have been painted shut and the overall effect is a tatty, non-working window which begs the question “where do I start?” Perhaps this will help.

An explanation of the sash window and its workings.

A sash window is basically a frame with hollow sides. Inside these sides are weights which are attached via cords or chains, through pulleys, to the sashes. In normal operation, the sashes move up and down and are counterbalanced by the weights via the pulleys.

The sashes are fitted from inside. Upper sash first, then, a parting bead which fits between the sashes and sits in a groove in the side of the frame. Then, the lower sash fits in and finally staff bead is fitted to the inside.

As the upper sash moves up and down it is held in place by the outside face of the frame and the parting bead. The lower sash is held in place by the parting bead and the staff beads.

Simple?

Painted shut Sash windows

If the outside of the window has been painted until th Double Glazing Sash Windows Kent e sashes will no longer move (most upper sashes seem to suffer from this) they can be freed-off with a hammer or mallet, decorators scraper and a chisel.

Ensure that whatever lock / catch the window has inside is locked. Then – on the outside, attempt to tap the chisel into the gap between the frame and the upper sash. A few taps up the sides should be sufficient to cause a crack to appear. Then, force the decorating scraper into the gap and attempt to slide it all around the gap between the sash and frame (including across the top). Then check underneath the bottom of the upper sash that there is a gap either side, otherwise – more tapping.

Return inside, check the gap between the parting bead and sash is not painted shut. If it is, hammer your scraper into the gap until the paint cracks between the two. Supporting the sash with one hand, undo the lock and see if the sash will lower. (remember, there are cords in the side which may be broken, you won’t know until it’s lowered ). If the sash will now wiggle about but wont lower, try carefully levering it downwards with your chisel or scraper jammed between the top and the frame. Use one hand to lever and the other to support the sash, once it moves, assess its tightness.




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