One of the most commonly found things in any house is horizontal blinds. There are a variety of different shades and blinds like roller shades or vertical blinds, but the most commonly used ones are horizontal, and they come in many different sizes and designs. There are wood, faux wood, metallic, plastic, vinyl, and more types of horizontal blinds, but the basic mechanisms along which they work are all the same. Seeing as these are the most common types of blinds in the U.S.A., or even worldwide, in today’s article, we will discuss what one can do if one of their horizontal blinds needs repairing.
There are multiple parts of blinds that can be in need of repair since even though the mechanisms behind the working of blinds are simple, there are still quite a lot of moving parts or elements which can get damaged. If you don’t want to call a professional for some smaller problem with your blinds, but would rather like to see what you can do yourself, this article is for you. We put together a step-by-step guide to fixing some of the main problems people have with blinds, and also some info on the basic mechanisms that allow blinds to function the way they do. Read on for more!
How Do Blinds Work?
Blinds are made of a collection of slats that can be made of a variety of materials, such as wood, faux wood, aluminum, plastic, vinyl, PVC, and more. These slats are stringed together in even spaces and can be lowered and raised with strings. Also, these slats can be rotated/tilted upwards or downwards in order to control the amount of light that enters an indoor space. This is done either with a string- or cord-controlled rotation device or with a so-called wand.
The strings which are used to lower or raise the blinds are connected to the strings which hold the slats. By pulling the strings down, the slats are raised and thus the blind is collapsed into a thin set of slats at the top of the window, near the headrail. One must pay attention to pull the strings at an equal pace, since either of the two (or sometimes three) strings are connected to different parts of the blinds, and raising them at different speeds can deform some of the slats or just make a mess out of the neatly aligned slats, possibly even producing some knots here and there.
These lift strings are the ones that pass through the center of the slats in two or more places. The other strings at the ends (width-wise) of the slats are called ladder strings, and they are controlled by mechanisms in the headrail. Their function is to tilt the slats upwards or downwards. This is done by engaging a wand- or cord-controlled wand tilter. This wand tilter then turns the drums, which are the parts of the mechanism to which the ladder strings are attached. With the turning of the drums, the ladder strings tilt the slats in the desired direction.
Though there are many other types of blinds and there are also many other details to be talked about if one wants to analyze the parts of a standard system of blinds, the general concept of how these devices to work have been illustrated. With this much knowledge about the way blinds work, you will more than likely be able to fix the most common problems you might face.
Step 1: Analyze the Issue
First, before even touching the blinds, you need to evaluate your situation. This is important since even though blinds have simple mechanisms, there is a lot that can go wrong if you start taking apart the blind in a hurry. Take a careful look at the strings, the slats, the wand, or the cords. If everything is alright with them, check in the headrail what might be causing your specific problem.
One of the most common problems with blinds is that the blinds keep getting stuck or cannot be fixed in one place at all. This is one of the issues that we will go over in today’s article. You can identify if this is your problem by trying to pull down the drawcords or lifting cords, and then gently pulling the strings to the right and letting go. A peg should have fallen into the bottom of its rail and should have secured the string in its place. If this doesn’t happen, you might have a rusty, deformed, or just old cord lock. On the other hand, you can immediately notice if your lock is stuck if you cannot let your blinds down or move them from their current position at all.
Another common issue with blinds is a broken, bent, or deformed slat. We will also go over how this can be fixed, which is by removing and replacing a slat. Often, bending a slat will result in it having a permanent and mark on it, which can be really annoying since it can break and reflect light in a different way than the other slats do, or just be so deformed that the movement of the slat is compromised.
Once you have identified what is your issue, do your research if needed or call a professional, but if you have either of these two very common problems, this article will give you all the answers you need.
Step 2: Repairing a Bad Cord Lock
First, let’s talk about repairing a cord lock. This is one of the most common issues there are with blinds since this part of the headrail and cord is the one that probably undergoes the most amount of friction from all other elements of the blinds. Constantly pulling the cord up and down can wear the cord out, as well as the locking mechanism, which is a simple, mechanical lock most of the time, which relies on sliding up and down in a rail to lock the cord in place.
There are two versions of this problem as mentioned earlier: a stuck locking mechanism, or one that cannot be secured in place. Both of these issues should first be handled by taking a closer look at the problem. Perhaps you locked the cord a little bit too harshly into its place, and now the peg is stuck in place. In a simple scenario like this one, you can use a pencil, screwdriver, or another sturdy, straight, long rod to push the peg out of its position.
On the other hand, your locking mechanism might not be working at all. This can also happen due to a couple of different reasons, one of them being that the peg can also get stuck at the top of its rail. Though this is a rare scenario, it happens with older blinds, and you should see if you can just knock it down from there and keep using the blinds normally. For this, you will probably have to open the headrail, and even take down the blinds.
Another reason this might happen is that the rail has deformed over the years of use and has become wider than usual, so the peg, even in its bottom position, cannot hold the cords tightly.
If there is a situation like the one described above, or any other problem for which the optimal solution would be to replace the locking mechanism completely, it is often better to do so, since a locking mechanism will cost you only a couple of bucks, and it is one of the most problematic parts of the blinds, so buying a new one might solve many of your potential problems.
Step 2.1: Replacing the Cord Lock
If there is no way around it, you might have to change the locking mechanism entirely. As mentioned earlier, this doesn’t cost much, and in this part of our article, we will even tell you exactly how to do it. Follow these steps for a successful replacement of the cord lock:
- Remove the blinds from the window.
- Take off the cover of the headrail if there is no other to access the cord lock.
- Untie the knots at the end of the draw/lifting cords. This will allow you to pull the cord through the lock and thus remove it.
- Pull the strings completely through the locking mechanism (tip: mark the strings at the points where the knots were tied so you know where to tie them again)
- Unscrew/unfasten the old cord lock mechanism. Usually, you can just push it out of its place.
- Push it out of the headrail, or take it out whichever way you can, according to the type of headrail you have.
- Place in the new cord lock mechanism and fasten/screw it into place. Usually, you only have to push this item into the headrail and it will let out a loud clicking noise when it clicks into place.
- Pull the draw/lifting cord through the cord lock mechanism.
- Tie the knot at the end of the cord.
- Reassemble your headrail and place your blinds back into their place
Following these simple steps, you can save yourself quite the money if you replace the locking mechanism on your own, without the help of a professional. This, however, works only for such simple constructions, if you have an electric blind or some other, more complicated system, it is best to ask for direct help.
Step 3: Repairing a Blind Slat
If you also want to replace a blind slat after changing your locking mechanism, you are in for a fun, easy, and rewarding activity. Slats are long and thin, which makes them highly susceptible to many kinds of damage. This is why the most common repair job when it comes to blinds is definitely the replacement or repairing of slats. Due to the many strings and cords which are of measured length and angle, it might seem daunting to even give this process thought, but it is actually very easy to change slats, even easier than changing cord locks!
If you want to save yourself some cash and want to replace some slats yourself, we have compiled a step-by-step guide for this issue as well. We simplified it and broke it down into enough steps so it is easy to follow and also effective. Slats will often break or warp, which is both aesthetically and also sometimes mechanically problematic. If you have been putting off this task for a while because you don’t exactly know how to do it, follow these steps and you will be done in no time!
Step 3.1: Replacing Blind Slats
One of the simplest repairs to do on blinds, but still one of the most common ones to be done by professionals, is the replacement of slats. One of the funniest things about this is, that it is such a simple process to do, that you don’t even have to take your blinds off of the wall or even touch the headrail. Recommend this guide to people you know so they can also learn this basic household skill and save money! If you follow this step-by-step guide, you will have replaced your broken and damaged slats, or even all of them if you like within minutes!
- Find the securing button or plug at the bottom or the side of the bottom rail. This is a circular plug that you can identify by seeing the drawcord run into it and is secured by it.
- Remove the plug from the bottom rail of your blinds. You can do this most effectively and safely with a flathead screwdriver, but a butter knife or some other study and thin object will also do the trick.
- Untie the knot at the end of the draw/lifting cord. This will allow you to pull the string through the slats.
- Pull the drawcord out of the slats, all until you reach the one you want to replace.
- Slide-out the slat you want to replace in either direction once the drawcord is not restricting its movement. All the other slats can stay in their place, you only need to remove the one that you want to replace.
- Slide the replacement slat through the ladder chords, the same way the other slats are placed and how the previously removed once stood.
- Start pulling the drawcord through all of the slats to connect the blind slats again. This is the most meticulous part of the job, but make sure you don’t miss a slat or you will have to start again.
- Once you reach the bottom rail, pull the cord through it (and the plug if that is the type you have) and tie a knot.
- Take the plug you previously removed and secure it back in its place.
- Enjoy your newly repaired blind slats.
Though following the step-by-step guide we have written is more than enough for you to successfully replace your slats or your cord locking mechanisms, there are a couple of extra tips we want to share with you about these processes and blinds repairing, in general, to make it easier for you.
- Always have the manufacturing number available. It is written on the inside of the headrail, but if it is unintelligible due to damage or age, it is better to keep the original manual or description of the product. This is important so you can order cords and other parts of your blinds specific to your model. It is essential to get the string lengths right, for example, or you can mess up your whole set.
- If in trouble, always contact the company you bought the blinds from or a trained professional. The more high-end blinds you have, the more likely you cannot fix or repair them in any way. If this is the case, or if you are just unsure, it is better to contact a professional, since it will still be cheaper than having to buy a completely new set of blinds because you deformed the headrail when changing the cord lock, for example.
- Make sure you do a checkup of your blinds once every 2-3 months. If you want to keep your blinds functioning properly for a long time, we advise you to take your blinds off, look into the headrail compartment, check out the cords (they can tear due to the constant friction), the slats, and whatever else you can. It is a lot easier to spot a problem early and then quickly fix it rather than letting your blinds deteriorate for years and then having to change the entire set.