A Guide to Troubleshooting Window Problems

There are a few different reasons you may need help with window problems, especially if you are moving. People have probably given you good moving advice, telling you to make sure little things like damaged window screens are replaced or repaired before you move out, but no one seems to ever actually provide instructions on how to handle these chores. Plus, there is a good chance your new home could pose window challenges you need to deal with, as well.


The best way to clean the glass is with a solution of white distilled vinegar and water. To avoid streaking use newspaper or clean coffee filters. Of course, you need to clean beyond the surface though. Grab your vacuum and clean the window sill. Then, add the dusting attachment and use it on the screens. Dirty window sills can also get washed with a vinegar and water solution.  Yucky windows can lead to a host of problems.

Repair a Small Rip

Just because there are rips in the window screen does not mean they need to be replaced. You do not even need a patch kit, if you are looking at a clean cut. You can easily stitch this back together using a needle and fishing line. Make sure you do not pull too tightly or the screen will pucker. Apply a coat of clear nail polish when you are done to make it a little more secure.

If you have a hole or a large rip then you need a patch kit, which you can get at a home supply or hardware store. You can also cut a patch out of a roll of screen just slightly larger than the hole, and apply fast-drying gel to the edges before pressing it firmly in place. Many window problems occur because of faulty screens.

Replacing a Screen

In most cases window screens are in some type of metal frame. If you have one damaged screen, it is worth it to buy a repair kit, so you have all the proper tools for future use. At some point there is a good chance that they will come in handy again.

To begin you will need to remove the window spline. Sometimes, the same spline can just be reused. If it is damaged you will want to replace it. Some spline will likely come in your screen repair kit. Otherwise you can buy a roll of it.

Cut new screen from a roll just a little larger than the frame. Use the wheel in your kit to force the edges of the screen into the channels in two touching sides. If a wheel was not included in your kit, a putty work will also work. Use a sharp utility knife to trim excess screen in the other two sides, and then once again use the wheel or putty knife to push the screen into the grooves. Line the spline with the channels and slowly push it in place using your tool.

Open a Stuck Window

Did the people who lived in your new home before you put a coat of fresh paint on the window frames and sills? You are probably thinking that was nice, and they must have gotten the same moving advice you did about leaving a home move-in ready, which is why you are replacing damaged screens! Well, you won’t be as happy with their generosity when you discover that they painted the windows shut. Of course, sometimes windows get stuck for no reason at all.

There is an actual tool called a Window Zipper you can use if they are painted shut. Otherwise, stick a putty knife between the sill or frame and the window and gently hammer to loosen the window from its place.