As a home owner we can all appreciate a repair that we can tackle ourselves. Besides saving a bit of money, there is a personal satisfaction in looking back at the repair and saying “I did it myself”. This guide aims to address several common window woes and arm you with clear instructions plus a materials list so you go in prepared. With any repair, know your own DIY comfort level. When in doubt, seek a professional's advice.
Materials: Single edge razor blade, Goo Gone/Lift Off, Rags, Work Gloves
Step 1: Wearing work gloves, use your razor blade to gently loosen as much of the residue as possible. Keep the blade clean by wiping occasionally with a rag, if necessary change the blade if it becomes dull.
Step 2: Apply a thin layer of residue remover like Goo Gone or Lift Off with a rag. These mixtures are often citrus based and are non-abrasive. Allow the remover to soak a few minutes and then gently wipe off with a clean rag. A more stubborn residue may need a solvent such as rubbing alcohol to be completely removed.
Step 3: A quick spritz of window cleaner wiped with a paper towel completes the job.
For swelling due to damp weather: Open the window as high as you can. Working gently from one side to the other, place a small block under the window and tap with your hammer. This method avoids harming your window and breaking any glass. Once the window is raised apply a thin layer of Vaseline or rub candle wax on the track. Lower and raise the window until the lubricant works in and you feel the window opens smoothly.
For painted shut windows: Using your putty knife, gently work the knife between the window joint until the window is free from the dried paint. If the paint is really thick applying a solvent may help in prepping the area first. Always test a small area to ensure no damage will occur to various surfaces. When the window is moving again, gently scrap away any paint residue you can.
Removing a Broken Window Pane
Materials:Gloves, goggles, small pliers, masking tape, utility knife, vacuum, old towel
Step 1: Safety first! Before you begin, place a towel underneath to catch debris. Wear goggles, gloves and footwear to protect yourself.
Step 2: Crisscross the area with masking tape. As you remove the broken shards this will help keep smaller pieces from dropping or flying in the air.
Step 3: Remove the larger pieces first. Line your trash bag with some leftover newspaper so glass does not poke through. As you begin to remove smaller pieces you may need to loosen them from the putty with your utility knife. Grasp these smaller bits with a pliers using gentle force to avoid shattering.
Step 4: When all the glass has been removed, use your vacuum to suck up the remaining pieces.
Replacing a Torn Window Screen
This video from ACE hardware store shows you how to repair both small and large tears.
Now that you have tackled your windows, let's keep the momentum going with this excellent piece on ailing doors from Paul Bianchina of the Morning Call. He will have your doors back in swing in no time. Read Paul's article below.
Easy fixes for ailing doors
By Paul Bianchina
If you have some doors around your house that aren’t working quite right, don’t despair. There are a number of quick and easy fixes that will take care of whatever’s sticking, squeaking, swinging or otherwise ailing your doors.
The door binds in the upper corner of the jamb: This is a common complaint, since the weight of the door wants to pull it down at an angle from the top corner, opposite the upper hinge, causing the door to bind against the jamb in that corner.
To fix it, remove one or two of the screws that hold the hinge to the jamb. Replace these screws with new ones that are long enough to reach all the way through the jamb and into the stud behind the jamb; you’ll want to predrill new pilot holes through the existing holes in the jamb to make it easier to drive the screws. These new, longer screws will pull the jamb back up against the stud and take the angle out of the door frame, relieving that pinch point in the corner.
The door binds against other parts of the jamb: First of all, ask yourself when this started happening. Is it only in the winter? If so, it’s probably due to seasonal swelling, which happens when the wood absorbs moisture from the air. Check to see if the door is being directly exposed to moisture, such as a drip from a leaky gutter, or perhaps it’s constantly shaded by overhanging trees and rarely dries. If you can identify the cause of the seasonal moisture, correct it. Be careful about planing a door during the winter — when it dries out again, it’ll be undersized for the opening.
If the binding isn’t seasonal, look for stress cracks in the drywall or moldings around the door. This can indicate settling issues, which may be caused by shifts in the home’s foundation, or simple drying of the wood framing, especially in newer homes. If the settling doesn’t continue and the binding doesn’t worsen, you can relieve the bound area by tapping against the door frame with a hammer and a block of wood, or by removing the door from its hinges and sanding or planing it a little. If the settling is worsening, consult with a contractor or structural engineer.
The door won’t stay latched: If the door won’t stay latched or needs to be pushed hard to get it to latch into the strike plate, first look at the way the door is fitting in the jamb. If you see that it appears to be leaning down at the upper corner, try installing longer screws as described above. Otherwise, it’s a matter of readjusting the strike plate. Site the latch to see where it’s hitting the strike plate, to determine if the plate needs to move up or down. If necessary, coat the latch with lipstick or crayon and then close the door — the resulting marks on the strike plate will help indicate where it’s hitting.
If only a small adjustment is needed, use a small file or a rotary tool with a metal grinding bit and enlarge the strike plate opening as needed. If a larger adjustment is necessary, unscrew and remove the strike plate, then reposition it on the jamb and reinstall it. You may need to chisel the jamb slightly to accept the plate in its new position.
Screws are coming out: If the screws that hold the hinges are coming out of the jamb, or you’ve had to reposition the strike plate and the screws want to go back into the old holes, you need to create new wood for the screws to grab into. This is easily done by drilling out the old screw holes to the size of a standard hardwood dowel, typically 3/8 inch. Apply glue to the dowel, insert it into the hole, allow it to dry, then cut it off flush with the surrounding surface. Drill a new pilot hole into the dowel, and re-insert the screws.
The door swings and won’t stay open: This is caused by a door that’s out of plumb in its opening. To correct it, you need to insert a small amount of shim between the back of the hinge and the door jamb — usually the bottom hinge. Loosen the hinge screws almost all the way, so that you have some play between the hinge and the jamb. Insert a piece of wooden shim or other material, such as small pieces of plastic laminate, behind the hinge, then retighten the screws.
The door latch hits the strike plate: This is caused by a strike cylinder that’s worked loose, or by a loose doorknob. If the strike cylinder that goes into the edge of the door is held in place with a small rectangular plate and two screws, first try tightening the screws. If they’ll tighten and hold okay, that will pull the cylinder back into the door and hold it. If the screws won’t hold, then you’ll need to install dowels as described above.
First, loosen the screws holding the doorknob, so that you have a little play in the knob. Set a block of wood against the strike cylinder, and tap it with a hammer to drive it back into the door until it’s flush with the door’s edge. Finally, securely tighten the doorknob’s screws to hold the knob and cylinder in place.
The door hits the wall: You need to install a door stop. The simplest type is a solid or flexible stop with a screw on one end and a rubber cap on the other, which is screwed into a pilot hole that’s drilled into the door or into the baseboard. Another style is a hinge stop, which is used when you want to stop the door before it can open far enough to contact a stop on a wall. To install this type of stop, remove the top or center hinge pin, slip it through the hinge stop, then reinstall the pin in the hinge. The hinge stop has an adjustable rod that screws in and out to contact the door at different points.
Have a home repair or remodeling question for Paul? He can be reached by email at [email protected].