How to Fix Old Windows That Won’t Stay Up


A lot of times, when you go to clean your windows or get them ready for painting, they may not stay in the open position. This is because the hinges have become rusty, and it isn’t easy to hold the window up while you are trying to wash it. You treat for rust and oil with WD40, but that doesn’t seem to help much. If you want your windows to stay open while working on them, there is something called “Prest O’Grip” that should help solve this problem.

This product has been around since 1947 (ask my Grandfather) and is still a family-owned business today located in Indianapolis, Indiana.   But if you want to go for a more detailed process, then this article is for you. Here I will discuss a useful technique on how to fix old windows that won’t stay up.

How to Fix Old Windows That Won't Stay Up

Step-wise Guide on How to Fix Old Windows That Won’t Stay Up

Step 1: Check Window Sash and Tilt Mechanism

If your window is tilting or sagging, it could be because the weight balance has shifted, or there is scarring on the frame at the pulley point. The weights on the sash may be too heavy or not heavy enough to counterbalance the lift weight. To fix this, you need to balance the tilt/sash so that when the window is fully raised, the bottom of the frame rests solidly against your windowsill.

If you find that this is not happening, try adjusting them to correct this problem before proceeding with any further steps.

Step 2: Hinges are Loose

If the windows do not stay up, the hose or pivot points may be loose, causing them to sag. So first, check each window’s hinges to see if they are loose and adjust where necessary. Most of this work can be done using a screwdriver by turning off the screws holding on the hinge covers, loosening small bolts to raise the hinges, and re-tightening them in place afterward.

So long as you do not over-tighten each bolt after checking that it is all right again, this should help with any sagging issues preventing your window from staying fully open while closed tight against the frame at all times without leaving gaps between window and frame (if applicable).

Step 3: Check the Window Frame

If the window frame is bowed outwards or too close to the window itself, then there may not be enough room to open your windows fully.

If this is the case, proceed with a combination of steps two and four; first, make sure that each window hinge is tightened and that there are no loose spots on any of them that prevent you from raising your windows as far as they can go (if applicable) then use a roofing nail file or something similar to shave down your wood-framed windows so that they fit snugly into their places without leaving gaps.

Step 4: Make Sure All Windows Are Opening Correctly

It’s possible that one or more of your old double-hung are not opening correctly, which could be due to loose ropes or chains, a bent lift-rod that cannot properly counterbalance the window weight when it is opened fully, etc. Ensure all your windows are moving as you intend them to by following instructions for adjusting/repairing each separately if necessary.

 due to loose ropes or chains,

Step 5: Glass may Need Replacing

If all else fails and you’ve tried every possible fix (including professional repair work), then it’s possible that your old double-hung glass needs to be replaced. This can be expensive and time-consuming, but it should solve every problem preventing your windows from staying open on their own, especially if they appear jammed in place at any point.

Other reasons for this occurring include moisture damage, having caused the window pane’s frame to rot, storm damage to broken panes from their frames, and possibly even shattered existing glass.

Step 6: Look into Replacing Your Windows with New Ones

Even if you do not wish to replace all of your old windows, it may be worth looking into replacing some of them to keep up your home properly. Much older style double hung is too heavy for our modern-day, energy-efficient windows, weighing less than the older models they were made to work with. In other words, this can create a safety hazard for anyone having difficulty holding up the older window sashes when raising or lowering them.

Precautions While Performing How to Fix Old Windows That Won’t Stay Up:

  • While fixing windows that don’t stay up is essential, it is also essential to take certain precautions to ensure the safety of your family members and friends from any hazards that may result due to breakage of window glass, cut hands or fingers, and other mishaps.
  • Remove furniture items from around windows so they are not close enough. An individual could accidentally bump into them while the homeowner fixes broken window sills, frames, and screens.
  • Ensure that there are no children under five years old anywhere in the surrounding area where you work with a hammer and nail gun if this job calls for such tools.
  • Be sure to wear protective eye gear ( goggles ) because breaking glass going flying can cause injury – even to adults.
  • Make sure that your hands are protected by wearing work gloves when doing this job, and be careful not to allow any small children around while you’re fixing broken window frames and sills – especially if the project calls for using a hammer or nail gun.

You Can Check It Out to Balance an Off Center Window

Common Home Window Problems and How to Fix Them

So, you have a sliding glass door that has seen better days. The track doesn’t work right anymore, and it’s stuck in the open or closed position -or- your window won’t stay up after being raised.  These are both common problems, but I will show you how to fix them with little trouble and minimal cost.

Regarding windows, more than 50% of the problems with these items at home are neglect rather than wear and tear. Neglect can either be due to lack of upkeep or just plain living in filth (both mentally and physically).

Why Your Window is Sticking in the Open or Closed Position

This happens because one of a few things has happened:  The window lock mechanism simply isn’t working correctly anymore and needs to be fixed, or your window wasn’t installed properly the first time around. In my experience, windows that are hard to open/close aren’t due to any serious problems. More often than not, it’s a user error when it comes to sticking windows.

Use a Nail Gun

You can confirm this by testing your window on both sides; putting some pressure on the top part of the track while you’re trying to slide the glass up or down will cause a stuck window if there is no hardware problem whatsoever -and- pushing against both sides of the tracks should give you the maximum idea of what you’re dealing with. 

If it’s a user error, don’t be scared to keep trying!  There is a solution for every problem, and you can fix this by simply cleaning the track. If it’s still fixed on one side, you’re going to have to replace the hardware or wind up breaking your window should you choose to push harder against it.  I don’t recommend using the force of any kind when dealing with windows!

Fixing the Stuck-in Windows

Stuck windows are a common problem because sliding glass doors are just too big. Most people don’t realize that these things are literally built like tank shells. They’re heavy-duty and quite strong -but- they do wear down over time. There are two types of tracks used in sliding glass door manufacture, and both suffer from similar problems.

The first type is the ‘tab’ track.  This track has a channel that’s cut into it, and the glass slides in and out on these channels. These are very effective but aren’t nearly as durable as other types of tracks. The second type is called a ‘ball’ track. This one uses small metal balls to roll along the smooth tracks, creating absolutely no friction whatsoever:

Both of these methods work well, but if you need either replaced, you’re going to have to call up someone who knows what they’re doing because both methods involve installing hardware that requires specific screw sizes or ways to secure them properly, so they don’t fall off every few days (that’s really common with ball tracks).

However, there is one fix for a stuck sliding glass door.  It’s called a ‘Zipper Track’. This is a track that wraps around the entire top portion of the track and uses zippers to hold the window in place when it’s open (or closed):

The problem with this design is that they cost about $600.00, so unless you’re taking your sliding glass door apart because there’s an issue with the ball track or tab mechanism, you may want to skip on using them at all! Here are some fixes for windows that won’t stay up:


If your sliding glass door isn’t staying up, try to see if you can lift it and lock the doors in place without a problem.  If you’re able to do this, there’s no real need to replace anything because they’re usually as simple as cleaning the tracks. On the other hand, if your windows are sticking in their open or closed position altogether, check out both sides of the track and see if you can get them working again using some good old elbow grease (and/or window cleaner -at your own discretion).

I hope you have obtained all the necessary information about how to fix old windows that won’t stay up. Thank you and have a nice day!

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Angela Ervin

Angela Ervin

Angela is the executive editor of DIY quickly. She began her career as an interior designer before applying her strategic and creative passion to lifestyle and home. She has close to 15 years of experience in creative writing and online content strategy for housekeeping, home decorations as well as other niche efforts. She loves her job and has the privilege of working with an extraordinary team. She lives with her husband, two sons, and daughter in Petersburg. When she's not busy working she spent time with her family.

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