How to fix a roller shade

Written by chyrene pendleton
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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.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

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

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Instructions

    Adjust the Spring Tension

  1. 1

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

  2. 2

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

  3. 3

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

  4. 4

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

    Adjust an Uncoiled Spring

  1. 1

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

  2. 2

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

  3. 3

    Adjust the spring tension.

    Release a Locked Spring

  1. 1

    Remove the roller shade from the brackets.

  2. 2

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

  3. 3

    Adjust the spring tension.

    Replace the Roller Shade Fabric

  1. 1

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

  2. 2

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

  3. 3

    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.

  4. 4

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

Tips and warnings

  • 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.

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