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How To Lubricate Casement Windows [And How Often To Do So]

Casement windows are growing in popularity in American homes recently. They open wider than many other windows, allowing more ventilation and airflow. They also seal very tightly, but they require regular lubrication and care to maintain a tight seal. So how do you lubricate casement windows, and how often? We've checked with experts and installers for their official advice.
 
Casement windows must be cleaned regularly, as even a little bit of dirt or debris can affect how the window moves on the track. They should also be lubricated every six months or so to prevent the moving parts of the window from sticking or jamming up. Use a silicone-based lubricant spray.
 
But why do you have to lubricate the window, and how exactly do you do it? Why do you have to use silicone-based sprays? And what do you do if you're already having trouble with the window - if you can't get it to shut, for example? We'll cover all that and more, so keep reading!

A broken white casement window with a light blue frost, How To Lubricate Casement Windows [And How Often To Do So]

How (And Why) To Lubricate Casement Windows

Crank casement windows have three sets of moving parts - locking mechanisms, operator arms, and the crank unit. To keep things moving smoothly, it's necessary to maintain the window properly. This includes regularly lubricating those moving parts, roughly every six months or so.
 
First, remove as much dirt, dust, and grit as you can. The method doesn't really matter, just clean however you prefer. In the end, if you've got the dirt out of the way, that's all that matters.
 
Then, open the window to check the movement. If it feels like the window isn't opening smoothly, don't force it. You don't want to break a piece being too rough. 
 
Now, use a silicone-based lubricant spray on the operator arms. Make sure it gets into all of the joints and really seeps in. You may also be able to add some lubrication to the crank mechanism (remove the cover first, if possible). Give the locking mechanism a few squirts of the spray as well.
 
Be sure to really get all the nook and crannies, working it into every joint of the arms and crank. Let it sit for a few minutes. Then, (gently) try to open and close the window again.
 
Note: Always use a silicone-based spray. This is important. Don't use an oil-based lubricant. These attract and "stick to" dirt and dust, something you don't want to be trapped in your window gears. 

An up close photo of a white framed casement window

How Do You Adjust A Casement Window That Won't Close?

Casement windows can be a bit tricky when they stop moving the way that you want. If you're unable to get your casement window to close, first, just visually inspect the frame and area around it. Is something in the way? Even a bit of dirt or a few dead bugs can throw the window off.
 
Some windows have two sides, which close together with a separator bar in the middle. If yours is this style, examine the separator. It may be out of alignment or damaged in some way, keeping the window from closing normally.
 
Similarly, check over the hinges. If one window is a bit loose or irregular, you may be able to spot the problem by comparing it to other windows. Examine any trim around the window as well - it may be interfering with the movement of the window.
 
This helpful video can also offer some possible solutions. If your window isn't perfectly square, it might not be able to shut properly. This video will help you identify and solve that problem.
 

How Do You Close A Casement Window That Is Stuck Open?

If you can't get your window to move at all, you have an even bigger problem. Sure, it's frustrating struggling with a window that won't close and latch shut. But when it's stuck open and won't close at all, that's even worse!
 
Usually, this indicates something is wrong with the crank. If the crank turns but the window doesn't close, you may have stripped the gears in the crank. Try to remove the outer casing and inspect the assembly. If you know who the original window manufacturer is, you may be able to easily get a replacement part.
 
You can also check the arm that opens and closes the window and see how it moves in the window track. If it seems to jam or can't slide well, make sure everything is cleaned and lubricated. 

A screened window with white casement

Can Casement Windows Be Cleaned From Inside?

You can clean most casement windows from the inside. In fact, casement windows are one of the easiest to clean for this very reason.
 
Start by removing the screen while the window is closed. You can clean the screen off. Then, set it aside while you clean the inside of the window.
 
Once you're done with the inside, just open the casement window at 90 degrees. You may have to unlock the sash by lifting the sash handle. In most newer windows, you can just slide your hand between the frame and the sash. You can safely clean the outside of the windows without ever leaving the comfort of your home. 
 
Unfortunately, in some very old windows, there may not be enough room for this. The window opens too close to the frame, not leaving enough space for your hand. In this case, you'll just have to go outside and clean the old-fashioned way.

A white awning window of a small room

How Do I Maintain My Timber Window Frames?

Timber windows look great. They're stylish and attractive. But old, rotten wood? Not so much. So you'll need to keep up some careful maintenance to make sure they stay looking great.

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Luckily, keeping your timber windows in shape isn't really that hard. It only takes a few steps, including:

  • Keep them clean - over time, dirt and other contaminants on your window can be damaging (even acidic). Don't let grime settle for too long. Just wipe it down with a damp cloth or sponge every few months. If it's really dirty, use soapy water for extra cleaning power about twice a year - use a mild, non-abrasive soap or detergent.
  • Once the window is clean, use a window treatment like this:

Click here to see this wood oil at Amazon.

  • Use a water-based sealant/ finish on your window frames. This will keep out moisture, reduce exposure, and help to prevent wood rot. For the best protection, use several coats that include primer, exterior paint, and a sealant, like a varnish.  You can, for example, skip the paint - but do more than one coat of sealant to make up the difference. Similarly, you can use a paint that has primer already in it - but use two coats. Layers are your friend when trying to keep the elements off the wood. 
  • Make sure your windows have adequate insulation. Poor insulation doesn't just affect your heating bills. The gaps that let cold air in, also mean a lot of air and moisture are moving around the window frame. This, eventually, leads to rot and shortens the life span of the wood. 

A black colored casement awning window

In Conclusion...

Casement windows provide excellent ventilation and a tight seal. This means, however, that regular maintenance is necessary to keep them working as intended. Clean them and lubricate the track and moving parts with a silicone-based spray every six months or so.

A broken white casement window with a light blue frost

If you notice that the track or the mechanisms are beginning to stick, don't use force to open the window. Instead, try cleaning the parts thoroughly and re-lubricating them.

You may also need to examine the track and sides of the window for a loose hinge, off-centered window, warping in the frame, or other minor but visible defects. Because they seal so tight, it doesn't take much to throw off the window's ability to seal at all. Keep an eye on the frame and movement to make sure you can nip small problems in the bud early. 

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