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How to Repair a Sliding Window?

Last modified: 2021-10-07 | Approximate reading time 3 mins

Sliding windows gained popularity in the mid-20th century, but are still a widely popular feature in the modern home. Their ability to be used easily makes them appealing for homes with children or those with limited mobility as well as homes with narrow layouts.

Whether above your kitchen sink or in your bathroom, over time these windows can stick, break or become difficult to operate.

Regular maintenance is key to maintaining your sliding windows in good shape. Dirt and grime can cause these windows to malfunction, as well as issues with the tracks they sit on or when the moving parts wear out. Regardless of the case, these windows can be fixed quickly by even the most novice of homeowners.

How to repair a sliding window

Clean the window tracks

First things first, if any dirt like dust or debris find their way into the track, it will hinder the window from sliding. If you are finding that your window is frequently sticking when you attempt to open or close it, chances are the track needs to be cleaned in order for everything to move freely. This job can be done with your vacuum cleaner if it is accompanied by a dust brush. Following a thorough dusting, clean the remaining dirt and grime using a warm, soapy cloth.

Further, if you have an old toothbrush on hand, use this to clean out the intricacies of the track, including channels, corners and any tiny pieces that make up the mechanism. Finally, be sure to spray the track with a silicone lubricant so that friction will be reduced and the window can move readily. 

lavage fenêtre_entretenir fenêtre

Move the sash and reconfigure the sliding window's track

After cleaning the track, make sure the window is properly figured on the track. This can usually be done by simply lifting the window up by about ½ an inch and then, placing it back down so that it slides along the track smoothly. If the problem isn’t as simple as just removing and realigning the track,  you may have to take another approach.

Start by removing the trim pieces at both the top and bottom and these will be screwed in to hold the window to the track. Once this part has been removed, you can clean the top and bottom channels of the window and this includes the rollers and any other parts that keep the windows sliding.

Regardless if your track is metal, wood or plastic spray it down, as well as the other moving parts with a silicone lubricant. Place the window down to test out how easily it slides, and once you have determined that everything is in working order, you can put the trim back on the window. 

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Track Repairs

large sliding

source: Flickr

The track of your sliding window is one of the most important pieces, as it guides the window open and closed. At certain times, the track itself gets bent if accidentally hit or damaged by way of the window frame, an air conditioner moving in and out or otherwise. If the track has a small kink, it can sometimes be repaired by hand. In other instances, it’s not that easy and will need to be moved back with flat-blade pliers.  

Bend the track back into place, but make sure to do this job carefully, as you could risk bending it too far in one direction or another. If the track is bent outward, you can use a wooden or rubber mallet tapped on top of a screwdriver to hit it back into place.  If the track is vinyl, you may need to remove the pieces that are broken, though if bent, they will be more difficult to realign. Of course, if you find that the track is too bent out of shape to be replaced, it would be recommended that you install a new track altogether. 

Missing Parts

A sliding window track incorporates several small pieces, and thus, there are plenty of ways for this technology to malfunction. Parts will vary from product to product, company to company, so if a specific part of your sliding window breaks, you may have to contact the manufacturer to find a replacement

For more information on maintaining your windows, you can also consult these articles:

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