5 Common Window Shade Problems

partially open roman shades on windows
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 10-60
What You'll Need
Staple gun
Upholstery glue
What You'll Need
Staple gun
Upholstery glue

The simple function of a window shade makes common problems easy to remedy. Let's identify the issue and then provide the easy DIY repair solution.

1. Shade Goes up Too Fast

This means that the tension spring inside the roller is wound too tight. The tension spring is inside the roller that holds the window shade in place.

To fix the problem, roll up the shade and lift the roller out of the bracket attached to the window. While it is in your hand, unroll the shade manually until it is down about 1/2 of the window's length. Place the roller back into the window brackets and test the tension by triggering the window shade to go back up in the normal way. If the shade still flies up, repeat the tension release process again until the return becomes milder.

2. Shade Goes up Too Slow

window shades on several windows

The tension spring is now too loose and needs manual correction.

In order to tighten the spring, pull the shade down halfway, and lift the roller out of the window brackets. Manually roll the shade back up until it is positioned as it would normally be open on the window. Place the roller back into the window brackets and test by pulling down the shade. If it is still too slow for your liking, repeat the process until the shade raises quickly but not violently.

3. Shade Won't Go Down at All

This means the tension spring has been locked up inside the roller.

Remove the roller entirely from the window. Using standard size pliers, twist the flat pin at the end of the roller in a clockwise direction until you feel and hear the spring release from inside. The sound you are hearing is the internal "pawl" (the latch that only allows for one direction movement) releasing the internal ratchet, which controls the spring. Next, readjust the spring using the same method used to increase the speed of the blind going up.

4. Shade Won't Go up at All

window shade

Remove the shade from the window entirely. Using pliers, turn the flat sided pin clockwise until you feel some resistance. Once you stop turning the latch will engage. Place the roller back into the window brackets and adjust the speed of the shade using the tension adjustment method recommended above.

5. The Shade is Brittle and Cracked

If the tension roller is still working, it's simply time to replace the shade fabric. Remove shade from window brackets. Unroll the shade until you can access the top of the fabric, as it is either adhered or stapled to the roller itself. Remove the old shade fabric by simply pulling it off and then discarding.

Replace with new shade of any firm fabric that is of equal width and length. Upholstery glue will work, but you will need to ensure the fabric is securely attached and the glue is dry before returning to the window. Stapling is also an effective way of replacing the shade, but be certain your staples are flush with the roller. Strong tape is another method.

Once the shade has been securely attached, roll it half way up and once again adjust its up and down functions by the "Shade Goes Up Too Fast" instructions above.