How to fix roller shades for windows

Written by rachelle proulx
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How to fix roller shades for windows
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Roller, or roll-up, shades are an inexpensive way to cover windows, providing privacy and controlling light in a room. These shades are made of a thin, flexible covering attached to a hollow roller, which has a coiled spring inside. The spring creates tension when the shade is pulled down. A ratchet mechanism located at the end of the roll stops the shade's movement when you stop pulling on the shade. Roller shades are held in brackets mounted inside or outside the window frame. A few things can go wrong with a roller shade but fixing these problems isn't complicated.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Screwdriver
  • Scissors
  • T-square
  • Replacement fabric
  • Staples
  • Staple gun
  • Pliers
  • Canned air
  • Penetrating oil

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Instructions

    Falling Shade

  1. 1

    Inspect the shade's mounting brackets to make sure they're not broken and causing the shade to fall. Replace any broken brackets.

  2. 2

    Remove the shade from the brackets. Measure the distance between the metal tips on each end of the shade. Measure the distance between the mounted brackets. If the brackets are too far apart for the shade to fit snugly, it can fall.

  3. 3

    Move the brackets slightly closer together until the shade fits snugly. If the brackets are mounted inside the window, you will have to insert a shim behind the bracket to move the bracket inward. Most shades have a metal end that depresses to give it some "wiggle room" for fitting.

    Damaged Fabric

  1. 1

    Take the shade down from its brackets and unroll it fully. Pull the old fabric off the roll, or cut it off with scissors.

  2. 2

    Cut a piece of fabric the same size as the fabric you removed. Line up the new fabric on the roller with a T-square. Staple the edge of the fabric to the roller every few inches, using your staple gun.

  3. 3

    Pull on the fabric and hand roll it to add and release tension. Place the shade back into its brackets.

    Fast-Rolling Shades

  1. 1

    Roll the shade up fully. Remove it from the brackets.

  2. 2

    Unroll the shade halfway, using your hands. Place the shade back into its brackets.

  3. 3

    Repeat the process until the tension is correct and the shade is rolling normally.

    Slow-Rolling Shades

  1. 1

    Pull the shade halfway down. Remove it from the brackets.

  2. 2

    Roll the shade up with your hands. Place the shade back in the brackets.

  3. 3

    Repeat the process until the tension is correct and the shade is rolling normally.

    Shade Won't Rise

  1. 1

    Remove the shade from its brackets.

  2. 2

    Unroll the shade halfway by hand. Turn the flat pin at the end of the shade clockwise with pliers. Release the pin to allow the pawl -- a latch that permits movement in one direction -- to attach to the ratchet.

  3. 3

    Pull the fabric and hand roll it to add and release tension until it is correct. Place the shade back into its brackets.

    Shade Won't Stay Down

  1. 1

    Take shade out of the brackets.

  2. 2

    Remove the metal end of the shade with a screwdriver.

  3. 3

    Spray canned air on the pawl and the ratchet to remove dust. Lubricate the mechanisms with a small amount of penetrating oil.

  4. 4

    Snap the metal end cap back on roller.Put the roller back into brackets. Pull down the fabric to adjust the shade.

    Shade Won't Pull Down

  1. 1

    Remove the shade from its brackets.

  2. 2

    Turn the flat pin at the end of the shade clockwise with pliers. Release the pin quickly.

  3. 3

    Pull the fabric and hand roll it to add and release tension until it is correct. Place the shade back into its brackets.

Tips and warnings

  • If a shade is still broken after trying all these remedies, replace it. Keep the old shade for replacement parts.
  • Use caution when taking a shade apart, because the coiled spring can be dangerous.

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