How to fix a roller shade

Updated February 21, 2017

Roller shades make practical window treatments, providing you with privacy as well as light filtering options. Inside of the roller shade you'll find a coiled spring. Other roller shade parts include a ratchet, a flat pin and a stationary round pin. When you pull on the shade, you place tension on the spring. When you stop pulling, a hinged device called a pawl fastens onto the ratchet, holding the tension and allowing forward movement only. The round pin moves freely on the other roller end. Fixing your roller shade usually requires taking a few minutes to adjust these parts.

Pull the shade down halfway. Remove the shade from the brackets and roll it up by hand. This tightens the spring tension.

Place the rolled up shade back onto the brackets. Test the tension and repeat until it works correctly.

Roll up the shade and remove it from the brackets if the spring tension is too strong.

Unroll the shade a few times by hand, then place the unrolled shade back onto the brackets.

Remove the roller shade from the brackets. Unroll the shade halfway.

Using a pair of pliers, turn the flat pin until you can feel the tension, then let the pawl grab onto the ratchet.

Adjust the spring tension.

Remove the roller shade from the brackets.

Using a pair of pliers, turn the flat pin clockwise to release the pawl, letting it go quickly. This unwinds the coil.

Adjust the spring tension.

Remove the roller shade from the brackets. Unroll the shade and remove the fabric.

Align the new fabric on the roller using a T-square. A T-square is a ruler with a short, sliding crosspiece.

Staple the new fabric onto the roller using a staple gun. Use an industrial strength wood glue to attach the new fabric to the roller if you don't have a staple gun. Use scissors to cut the fabric, if necessary.

Adjust the spring tension and place the roller shade onto the bracket.


Buy window shades made to last--these do not need much repair over the years. Save reusable parts of your old window shade if you must replace it, in case you ever need them. If the edges of your roller shade began to curl, use a blow dryer on low heat and direct it on the edges. Roll the edges by hand in the opposite direction of the curl to straighten them.


Replace roller shades made before the year 2000 or update them with cord repair kits from the Window Coverings Safety Council (800-506-4636). These older shades have cords that pull out, creating a loop that can cause strangulation in small children. Avoid overwinding the roller spring--this can cause permanent damage.

Things You'll Need

  • Pliers
  • Scissors
  • T-square
  • Staple gun
  • Industrial strength wood glue (optional)
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About the Author

Chyrene Pendleton has been a business owner and newsletter editor for more than seven years. She is a freelance writer with over 25 years experience and teaches a variety of topics, including alternative health, hair care and metaphysics. Pendleton is a certified television show producer, radio talk-show host and producer, and a computer programmer with a bachelor's degree in computer science.