Q: The sash windows in my rented flat are really hard to open and close. Some even get completely stuck. Any suggestions?
A: If your window frames are wood, chances are a thick build-up of old paint on the sashes and the jamb liners is clogging up the works. That’s pretty common in rental apartments, which are repainted often. Another culprit is high humidity or damp weather, which causes the wooden parts to swell and stick. Still, it’s unlikely you’ll want to strip everything back to the wood and then prime and repaint – and there’s nothing you can do about the weather. Instead, try removing any gunk that has accumulated on the surfaces. That includes flaky paint, residue from old weatherstripping, and dirt. (Take appropriate precautions in old buildings, which may contain lead paint.) Then lubricate the surfaces with either a silicone spray or paraffin wax. For the latter, an unscented votive candle works great. For metal windows, use a white lithium grease.
– Roy Berendsohn and David Agrell