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How To Repair a Window Sash

The window sash is that wooden or metal frame which encloses one or more glass panes or lights. In single hung windows, one sash slides up or down in the window frame. In double hung windows, one sash slides up and the other sash slides down. Window sashes may also slide horizontally. In older windows, especially wooden ones, the window sash typically develops problems. The cord suspending the sash weights inside the window frame may break allowing the sash weights to fall to the base of the window frame. The wooden sash may develop dry rot from continued exposure to condensate forming on the windowpane. The sash may crack, split or warp making the sash difficult or impossible to open or close. All of these, and more, are reasons to repair or replace the window sash.

Repairing a wooden window sash

Replace the sash instead of the whole window. It works!

Replace the sash instead of the whole window. It works!

  1. If dry rot has developed in a wooden window sash you can repair that rotted area by injecting an epoxy into it, then sand it smooth and restore the finish.
  2. Auto body filler, also known as Bondo, works well to restore dry rotted sections of a wooden window sash, as well as repair cracks and splits to a lesser extent. Use small amounts of Bondo because it sets up quickly.
  3. If you need to remove the window sash from the window frame, remove the window stops from each side of the frame with a small flatbar. Pry carefully so you do not damage the frame or casing material. Once the stops are removed, the window sash will usually lift right out.
  4. If you are an experienced do-it-yourselfer you may be able to disassemble the window frame enough to retrieve the sash weight and restring the cord or replace the sash weight pulley at the top of the frame.

Replacing the window sash

  1. Another alternative to window sash replacement is to install a jamb liner repair kit and new window sash.
  2. Measure the window frame for the new sash and jamb liner assembly. You may want to contact a window or glazing company for details on how to measure for the new sash properly.
  3. Carefully remove the window sash stops.
  4. The window sash should lift right out.
  5. If the sash used counter weights, cut the cord and allow the counter weight and cord to fall inside the frame.
  6. Clean the window frame member where the jamb liner will fit.
  7. The jamb liner usually has a soft weather stripping back that fits against the window frame and seals the joint against outside air entry. The bottom of the liner is beveled to fit against the bottom window frame member.
  8. Attach the liner to the window frame with screws being careful not to distort the metal jamb liner as you tighten the screws.
  9. Tilt the new sash and insert each pivot point into its jamb track.
  10. Your new window sash is ready to go.
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