Roman Blinds: Lift Problems

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Get your Roman shades to work perfectly again.

Troubleshooting a Roman shade is an easy do-it-yourself project. Elegant and functional, these shades have been in use for centuries and the design has not changed much at all. The mechanics of the shade make the repairs straightforward and the materials are available at most home improvement stores.


Determine the Problem

Find the problems with a Roman shade by looking at the back side of the shade. The side facing the window will have the strings, hooks, rings and pulleys. Look for missing, broken or bent rings and hooks. Look for strings missing, twisted, knotted or disconnected from the bottom rail. Check the pulley to make certain that the roller is working.

Broken, Twisted or Knotted Strings

Remove broken, twisted or knotted strings and replace with similar cording. Attach the new string securely to the bottom rail in exactly the same place as the old string. Staple or nail the bottom strings to the bottom rail. Lace the new strings through the same rings, top hooks and through the pulley in the same pattern as the broken string being removed. Staple or brad nail disconnected strings to the bottom rail.


Broken or Missing Rings or Hooks

Remove and replace rings or top hooks if they are bent, broken or missing. Purchase similar rings at hardware or fabric stores. Use similar size and shape rings and hooks to the original. Replace all of the rings or top hooks if necessary. Sew new rings on fabric tapes and on liner fabric in exactly the same pattern as the original design.

Crooked Top Rail

Straighten and strengthen a worn or warped top rail by adding an additional rail to the existing top rail. Measure the top rail of the shade and cut a piece of 1-by-2-inch board. Cover the piece of wood with fabric similar or complementary to the existing Roman shade. Screw the new wooden rail to the old rail and secure both of them to the window.


Pulley Not Working

Replace the pulley with a new one purchased from a DIY store. Purchase a new pulley similar to the one being replaced. Pulleys do all of the heavy lifting for the Roman shade and must be screwed into the top rail. Screw the new pulley into the top rail in a slightly different location so that the screws are securely attached. Check the roller of the pulley. Remove any lint, dust or loose string with a damp artist brush. Remove all tags and labels from the new pulley. Spray the roller with silicone lubricant. Wipe off any excess lubricant. Restring the Roman shade by pulling all of the cords through the top hooks and then through the pulley.


Crooked Shades

Check the strings for tension while the shade is up, down and in motion. Stand behind the shade and move it up and down. Watch the motion of all of the strings and the pulley. Look for wear marks on strings. Dark wear marks are an indication that some strings are doing all the "heavy lifting" and the tension is incorrect. Tighten the tension on the strings while the shade is in the down position. Stand behind the shade and gently pull each string until it is just taut from the bottom through the pulley. Tie a knot in the group of strings on the outside of the pulley.