How to Open a Locked Window?

How to Open a Locked Window?

It’s happened to all of us. We’re coming home from a long day at work, and we can’t get into our house because we locked the door and left our keys inside. Or maybe we just went for a walk on a beautiful day and came back to find our window was shuttered tight. Whatever the reason, it’s frustrating when you can’t get into your own home or office. In this article, we’ll provide tips and tricks for opening locked windows in every possible situation!

Determine the Lock Type

The first step in opening a locked window is to determine the type of lock you’re dealing with. There are several different types of locks, and each one requires a different approach. The most common types of locks are:

  • Doorknob locks
  • Deadbolts
  • Sliding glass door locks
  • Window latches

Once you’ve determined the type of lock, you can move on to the next step. Some opening methods won’t work with certain lock types and that is precisely why determining the lock type is important.[1], [2]

Determine the Type of Your Window

The second step in opening a locked window is to determine the type of window you’re dealing with. There are three types of windows:

Determine the Type of Your Window

  • Casement windows that are hinged on one side and open like a door.
  • Sash windows that open by sliding vertically.
  • Sliding windows slide horizontally along tracks.

Window locks are typically installed on casement windows and sliding windows. Sash windows are less common, but they can have locks as well. If you’re not sure what type of window you have, take a look at the screws or bolts around the edge of the frame. If there are no screws or bolts, it’s likely a casement window. If there are screws or bolts close to the top of the frame, it’s likely a sliding window. Now we will look into each of these types in more detail. [2], [3], [4], [6]

Casement window

A casement window is one that opens like a door, with hinges on only one side. A cranked mechanism may be used to open or close a typical casement window. [3], [4], [5], [6]

Sliding window

If your window slides horizontally along tracks, it’s a sliding window. Unlike casement windows, sliding windows aren’t attached to the hinge. They’re held in place by a track on the top and bottom of the window. [3],[5], [6]

There are two types of sliding windows: single-pane and double-pane. Single-pane windows only have one pane of glass, while double-pane windows have two panes of glass that are separated by a layer of air or gas. Double-pane windows are more energy efficient and provide better insulation than single-pane windows. [7]

To open a locked sliding window, unlock the latch and slide the window open. Some sliding windows also have a lock that can be turned to keep the window from opening.

Window locks are common on both casement and sliding windows, so make sure you know how to unlock them before trying to open the window. [3], [5], [6]

Sash window

If your window opens by sliding vertically, it’s a sash window. To open a locked sash window, start by unlatching the lock at the top of the window. Then, push up on the bottom of the window to raise it. [3], [5], [6]

Sash window

There are two types of sash windows:

  • Single Hung Windows: these windows have one sash that moves up and down.
  • Double Hung Windows: these windows have two sashes, one on top of the other, that move up and down. [3], [5], [6]

Opening the Stuck Casement Window

When your casement window is stuck and you can’t open it using the crank, there are a few things you can try.

Open it with a credit card

If the space between the window and frame is enough, you may be able to open the window with just a credit card. Just insert the card into the space and then apply pressure to force the window open. During the whole ordeal, put pressure on the door. [1]

Spray lubricant on the crank.

WD-40 or another spray lubricant will help to loosen up the mechanism and allow you to open the window. This method will also help if your screws or any other part of the locking mechanism go rusted. Keep in mind that this is a temporary fix, so you’ll need to reapply the lubricant regularly. [3], [4], [5], [6]

Open it with a knife and possibly a hammer

If the window is painted shut, use a putty knife or other thin object to break the paint seal. To make this work, you will need a bread knife or a putty knife as they are a perfect choice for this job.

Use a hammer and knife to pry open the window. Start by gently tapping around the perimeter of the window with the hammer to loosen it. Then, insert the screwdriver or a knife between the frame and sash and twist it to pry the window open.

Keep in mind that the knife method will only work if your door has a spring-loaded latch as a lock. [2], [3], [4], [5], [6]

Removing paint and rough edges with sandpaper

Removing paint and rough edges with sandpaper

You can also use sandpaper to remove the paint from your window or smooth out the edges.

Use a medium-grit sandpaper to remove paint from the frame. If the frame is made of wood, you can also use a fine-grit sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges. [3], [5]

By prizing and pushing it open

When the window is slightly open, you may be able to open it by prizing and pushing it open.

You can open an outward-opening casement with your fingers if it’s not latched. If your lever is in horizontal position, that means the window isn’t shut tight and just needs some encouragement from behind to pull down on its hinges so they will release completely before pushing open or lifting upwards once released.

This method only works if the window is not completely stuck shut.

Once you’ve opened the window, make sure to relock it so that it doesn’t happen again. [6]

By levering a casement off the frame

When the window is completely stuck shut and you can’t pry it open, you may need to lever the casement off the frame.

Start by removing the screws that hold the window in place. If there are no screws, look for nails or other fasteners. Once you’ve removed all of the fasteners, insert a putty knife or screwdriver between the frame and sash and twist it to pry the window open.

You may need to use a hammer to tap on the putty knife or screwdriver to loosen up the window. Once you’ve pried the window open far enough, you should be able to lift it off of the frame completely. Remember to reattach any screws or nails before putting the window back in place. [6]

Opening the Stuck Sliding Window

If your sliding window is stuck, there are a few things you can check for first before trying something more drastic.

Start by checking the tracks for dirt or debris. If the tracks are dirty, clean them with a vacuum cleaner or a brush.

Opening the Stuck Sliding Window

Next, check the rollers on the bottom of the window. If they’re damaged, you may need to replace them. If the rollers are in good condition, spray them with WD-40 or another lubricant and see if that helps the issue. Otherwise, you will need to resort to one of the more invasive methods below.

Opening the stuck sliding window by levering it open

In cases when the window refuses to budge at all, you may need to lever it open.

Start by removing the screws that hold the window in place. If there are no screws, look for nails or other fasteners. Once you’ve removed all of the fasteners, insert a putty knife or screwdriver between the frame and sash and twist it to pry the window open.

You may need to use a hammer to tap on the putty knife or screwdriver to loosen up the window. Once you’ve pried the window open far enough, you should be able to lift it off of the frame completely. Remember to reattach any screws or nails before putting the window back in place.

Opening the stuck sliding window by using a blade

If the window is completely stuck shut and you can’t pry it open, you may need to use a blade.

Start by removing the screws that hold the window in place. If there are no screws, look for nails or other fasteners. Once you’ve removed all of the fasteners, insert a putty knife or screwdriver between the frame and sash and twist it to pry the window open.

You may need to use a hammer to tap on the putty knife or screwdriver to loosen up the window. Once you’ve pried the window open far enough, cut through any caulking or sealant around the edge of the frame with a utility knife. Then, insert a blade (like an X-Acto knife) between the frame and sash and twist it to pry the window open. [2], [3], [5], [6]

Opening the stuck sliding window by jiggling it to loosen the lock

If the window is stuck and you’ve tried all of the other methods, you may need to jiggle it to loosen the lock.

Start by inserting a thin object like a screwdriver or putty knife into the crack between the frame and sash. To accomplish this, you must push your fingers underneath the hinge of the glass and rock it gently from side to side. Pry the window open until it’s wide enough to fit your hand in. Then, use your hand to push on the bottom of the window and raise it up. [6]

This method only works if the window is not completely stuck shut.

Window locks are common on both casement and sliding windows, so make sure you know how to unlock them before trying to open the window.

Opening the Stuck Sash Window

When it comes to sash windows, no matter the type, the lower sash always moves. So if the window isn’t completely stuck, it’s entirely possible to push the lower sash upwards with your hands alone.

Opening the Stuck Sash Window

However, if that doesn’t help, there are more options to try out.

Opening the sash window with a knife

If the window is completely stuck shut and you can’t push it open with your hands, try using a knife.

You may be able to slide a knife between the two sashes if your sash window has just a basic top latch on top of the lower sash. [2], [3], [5], [6]

Use a prybar to lever up the sash

If you can’t get the window open with a knife, try using a crowbar. This is an option if your sash window has side locks that need to be released before the window will open.

Locate the spot on each side of the window where it attaches to the frame and place the crowbar there. Pry up gently until you hear or feel the locks release. Then, push on one side of the upper sash and pull it towards you so that it opens completely.

Be very careful when using a crowbar because too much force can damage both the window and frame. [3], [5], [6]

Opening any window by cutting the glass

If all of the other methods have failed, you may need to cut the glass to open the window. This is a last resort and should only be done if there’s an emergency and you can’t find another way to open the window.

Use a glass cutter or utility knife to score a line around the edge of the window where it meets the frame.

In an emergency, you can use anything starting from hammers and crowbars to break the glass. Be very careful when doing this because broken glass can cause injuries.

Once you’ve removed all of the broken glass, open the window by prying it up with a putty knife or screwdriver as described in one of the earlier methods.

Be sure to clean up any broken glass and dispose of it properly. It’s best to call a professional if you’re not comfortable doing this yourself. [6]

If you’re having trouble opening a window, there are a few possible issues that might be causing the problem. The most common issue is that the window is painted shut. This happens when paint gets into the cracks between the frame and sash and dries, making it difficult to open the window.

Another possibility is that the weatherstripping has become stuck to the frame or sash. Weatherstripping is used to seal gaps around windows and doors and keep out drafts. Over time, it can become brittle and crack, which can make it difficult to open windows.

You might also have a problem with the hardware if your window won’t stay up or closed. The most likely culprit is a damaged spring in the hinge. If this is the case, you may need to call a professional to repair or replace the hardware.

Window locks are also common culprits when windows won’t open. Be sure to know how to unlock your window before trying to open it.

When windows stick, it’s often because of rust or coated screws. You can try spraying silicone on the hinges and WD-40 to help them move freely again.

Window locks are also common culprits when windows won’t open. Be sure to know how to unlock your window before trying to open it.

Of course forgetting or losing the window keys is another common reason windows can’t be opened. You will have to force open your window in that case.

If you’ve tried all of these methods listed above and your window still won’t open, it may be time to call a professional. They will be able to determine what’s causing the problem and fix it for you. [2], [3], [4], [5], [6]

The possible negative consequences of forcing a shut window open

If you force a window open that is shut too tightly, you run the risk of breaking the window. Forcing a window open can also damage the frame or sash. If this happens, you may need to call a professional to repair or replace the damaged parts. If this happens, you will need to replace the entire window, which can be expensive.

You also run the risk of injuring yourself if you try to force a window open. Be sure to use caution and always wear gloves when working with windows.

FAQ

Can you open a locked sliding window?

Yes, you can open a locked sliding window by using a knife or crowbar to release the locks. You can also try loosing the lock, and if all these methods fail then you may need to cut through the glass to get it open.

Can you force a window open if it’s not locked?

It depends on the type of window. Normally, you can’t force a window open if it’s not locked because there are mechanisms in place (like locks and latches) that keep it secure. However, some windows (like casement windows) have hinges on one side so they can be opened even if they’re not locked.

Can you open your locked house window from the outside?

It depends on the type of window. Many house windows can be opened from the inside even if they’re locked from the outside. However, some windows (like sliding windows) can only be opened from the inside. If you’re locked out of your house, you may need to use a crowbar or knife to get in through a window.

Can you unlock a locked window without an instrument?

It depends on the type of window. Many window locks can be unlocked with a simple twist or turn of the key. However, some windows (like sliding windows) have locking mechanisms that require a special tool like a screwdriver or putty knife to unlock them.

If you can’t find the key to your window lock or it’s broken, you may need to call a professional for help.

Useful Video: How to open a broken uPVC window lock

Conclusions

Now that you know how to open a locked window, you can be prepared for any situation. No matter the window type you have or whether your window is stuck, painted shut, or just plain old locked, there’s a way to get it open. Just remember to take caution when using tools like knives and screwdrivers, and always practice safety first.

References:

  1. https://www.championwindow.com/window-buyers-guide/types-of-home-window-locks/
  2. https://allaboutknife.com/how-to-open-a-locked-window-with-a-knife/
  3. https://www.wcmanet.org/how-to-open-a-locked-window/
  4. https://www.thehomehacksdiy.com/how-to-open-a-locked-window-3-types-of-locks/
  5. https://homesteady.com/how-12201699-fix-warped-casement-window.html
  6. https://alluringhouse.com/how-to-open-a-window-from-the-outside/
  7. https://www.uswindow-door.com/blog/why-double-pane-sliding-glass-doors-are-perfect-for-your-patio