How do vertical blinds work?

Vertical blinds are an excellent solution for a large window or glass door. They're easy to operate, provide convenient opening and closing to allow for the light conditions that you want at any given time, and easily slide out of the way so you can use the door or open the window.

Whether you're trying to troubleshoot and repair blinds that aren't working or you're just curious, deciphering how blinds work can be a bit confusing. This article will focus on the operation of standard vertical blinds that use a blind wand.


Vertical blinds include a sliding mechanism that allows you to slide them out of the way so that you can open a door or window. Each individual blind vane is attached to a sliding piece that is inserted into the track that runs along the head rail of the blinds. When you pull the blind wand open or closed, the blinds slide in unison one way or the other on the track. Before sliding out of the way, you should be sure that the blinds are open so that they don't get stuck together and impede motion.


The second operation of blinds involves turning the blinds open to let light in or closed to keep light out. There is a bit more componentry going on in this operation, but it's still pretty simple to assess. The blind wand is attached to a gear mechanism. When you turn the blind wand, the gear turns and in effect causes the axle that runs the length of the head rail to turn. Each blind is also connected to a small gear mechanism that is turned by the spinning axle. The result is that each blind vane is opened or closed by its individual gear.

Turning Repair

Anyone who has ever used blinds before knows that they can break down pretty regularly. The turning function is particularly prone to misoperation and breakage. Gears wear easily, and once the teeth on a gear wear down, the blinds won't operate properly. If none of the blinds are working and the axle is not moving, first check to make sure that all the individual vanes are properly aligned and facing the same direction. Sometimes vanes face the wrong direction and prevent proper turning. If this isn't your issue, there's likely a problem with the gear box attached to the blind wand. Remove the wand and try repairing or replacing the box. Make sure that the gear is properly aligned. If it is just one blind piece that isn't turning, the problem is probably a stripped gear on that blind. Adjust or replace the gear. Follow the resource link below for a good blind parts Website or contact the manufacturer of your blinds for warranty or parts.

Sliding Repair

A possible issue with sliding is that the blinds won't properly slide closed. Since each blind vane is linked to the track individually, they won't slide in unison if they become disconnected. While they will still slide open, since one blind will push the next, they may not slide back closed. In this case your blind wand may just slide on its own without pulling the actual blinds. There is usually a thin wire that connects each blind slider with the next located over the metal axle. If the blinds aren't working, the wire is probably disconnected or broken and should be replaced.