How to remove bottom window sash – Step-by-step guide

There are several circumstances where you may want to remove one of the sashes from a window:

  1. Repair or replace the sash: If the sash is damaged or has broken glass, you may need to remove it to repair or replace it.
  2. Clean the sash or window frame: Removing the sash can make it easier to clean both the sash and the window frame, especially if there is debris or dust that has accumulated.
  3. Access the window frame: In some cases, you may need to access the window frame itself for repairs such as cord replacement or general refurbishment, and removing one sash can make this easier.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to remove the bottom window sash:

How to remove bottom window sash

Prepare the workspace

Clear the area: Remove any furniture or objects near the window, including curtains or blinds, to create a clear workspace. Cover the floor and any nearby surfaces with protective sheeting or drop cloths to prevent damage or debris from getting on your floors, furniture, or walls.

Gather the necessary tools, such as a flat-head screwdriver, utility knife, and protective gloves.

Open the window

Unlock and open the bottom sash slightly to access the components holding it in place.

Remove the staff beads

The staff beads are thin strips of wood that run along the inside of the window frame and hold the sash in place.

They are typically located on both sides of the sash.

The staff beads may be painted in place, making them difficult to remove.

Use a utility knife or a sharp chisel to carefully cut through the paint where the staff bead meets the window frame. 

Use a chisel to gently pry the staff bead away from the frame.

Work your way around the staff bead, using caution not to damage the window frame or the staff bead itself.

Once the staff bead is loosened, use a pry bar or flathead screwdriver to gently pry it away from the window frame. Work your way along the length of the staff bead, using caution not to damage the window frame or the staff bead, as they will need to be reinstalled later.

Cut the sash cords or disconnect the sash balances

If the window has traditional sash cords and weights, use a utility knife to cut the cords on both sides of the sash. Hold the sash securely as you cut, as the window will no longer be supported once the cords are severed. If the window has a sash balance system, carefully disconnect the sash balances from the sides of the sash.

Remove the bottom sash:

With the staff beads removed and the sash cords or balances disconnected, gently lift the bottom sash out of the frame. If necessary, wiggle the sash slightly to release it from the frame.

Be mindful of any remaining sash cords or balances, as they can still cause injury if not handled with care.

Safely store the sash, as you will need to reinstall it later 🙂

Place the bottom sash in a safe location where it won’t be damaged or exposed to the elements. Keep track of any removed components, such as staff beads, for reinstallation later.