When you move into an older home, it’s not uncommon to find at least one painted window closed. Wooden windows add a lot of historic character to a home, but when their frames and sashes get covered in layers of paint, it can be almost impossible to open them. While professional painters will use techniques to avoid this, DIYers can accidentally paint closed windows when trying to get the job done quickly. Fortunately, it is not necessary to completely replace the windows; you can peel them off yourself with some basic tools.
Read on to learn how to open painted and shuttered windows with a technique that doesn’t take much time or require special supplies.
BEFORE YOU START
This task requires a putty knife and utility knife or window zipper. While many people already have putty knives and box cutters in their toolboxes, investing in a window zipper, which is designed for windows that are painted and closed, will make the job easier and is recommended if you open more than one window in your home. . For the purposes of this article, we will describe how to peel off painted windows with a window zipper, although the process is similar when using a putty knife.
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STEP 1: Protect yourself from lead paint.
When working on painted shuttered windows in an older home, there is a good chance that they have been painted with paint that contains lead. To avoid possible exposure to lead when removing paint, it is important to protect yourself. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends wearing an N100-rated disposable respirator when working with lead paint to prevent inadvertent inhalation. Wearing protective clothing, such as disposable coveralls, shoe covers, and a painter’s hat, provides added protection.
STEP 2: Remove the latch.
Windows typically get stuck when paint dries between the window frame and jamb stops and gap stops. The frame is the part of the window that moves up and down, and the stops help direct the frame. However, before addressing any of those items, it is important to address the latch.
If the window latch got covered in paint, it’s best to unscrew and remove it completely rather than trying to remove the paint. The window opening process will be easier when the latch is out of the way, and it can be reinstalled at the end of the process.
STEP 3: Use the window zipper to cut along the seams.
Slide the window zipper between the stop flange (the piece of wood that covers the top and sides of the window) and the window frame (the frame that contains the glass). If you intend to keep the paint rather than remove it, it is important to be careful not to damage the paint on the frame or around the edges of the stop flange. The idea is to use enough force to cut through any old caulking or paint that is preventing the blade from moving. After completing this step, the window should open with a little force.
STEP 4: Pry the window open from the outside.
If the window is still stuck, it may be painted and closed from the outside. Head outside to access the outer side of the window. Do the same action you used on the inside, using the window zipper to cut along the edge of the sheet. Then carefully use a pry bar to lift the lower sash open.
STEP 5: Lubricate the window to prevent re-sticking.
At this point the paint seal has been broken and the window should open and close relatively easily. However, to prevent sticking again, it’s best to provide some lubrication. Using a standard bar of soap, rub along the edges of the channel in which the blade rides. This will allow the blade to move more smoothly.
After reading this article, you should have a clearer idea of how to open windows that are closed with paint. By investing in a simple tool, or using the ones you already have on hand, your stuck window can be repaired in just a few minutes. Follow these steps on how to strip a painted window and pay special attention to the safety instructions for dealing with windows that may be coated with lead paint.
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