How to Repair Pleated Shades

woman opening pleated blinds in front of snowy town
  • 1-3 hours
  • Beginner
  • 25-50
What You'll Need
Tape measure
Replacement cord
What You'll Need
Tape measure
Replacement cord

Pleated shades, or cellular shades, are a type of window drapery that are pleated in a horizontal manner and when not in used can be pulled and bunched at the top to sit flat and hide it from plain site. This is one of the most common types of shade used by most households. Common problems do occur through constant use and the strings start to loosen or totally break making it uneven when pulled up or making it not usable at all. The most common part a pleated shade can undergo is when the strings deteriorate and have to be replaced.

Step 1 - Remove the Shades

Raise the shades all the way up so they are compressed to the railing. To remove, the shades they are held by an assembly bracket and could usually be snapped off by tilting the railing down. If not, use a screwdriver to unhook it from the mount.

Step 2 - Remove Cord Lock

Remove cord lock without removing the cover from the head rail and detach one end cap from the moving rail. Note how the cords are threaded and then cut the cords at the end of the rail. Once cut, pull the cut ends through the cord lock. Set aside the cord lock along with its cover and end cap so that you may be able to use it again later. The cut cords may be discarded. If a stop ball system is used, keep all its components for later use.

Step 3 - Remove Rails from the Fabric

To do this, slide the railing from the end of the fabric which is located opposite the cord lock. You may observe that the only both the bottom and top cells of the shade stack fit inside these railings. They are made up of reinforced aluminum slat or a stiff plastic material commonly known as filler strips. It is very important not to remove or change the positions of the filler strips.

Step 4 - Remove Washers and Cord

Pull off the washers and cord lengths from the bottom of the fabric stack and discard but keep the other parts except for the string. These parts might be needed after replacing the cords. If the end part of the cord guides are simply worn out, you may just re-use the other unused end to save money. Unused cord length maybe inside the bottom rail. The cord guides would usually fit through the holes located on the top and filler strip. Make sure the guides are aligned with the edges of the fabric so that it functions properly and evenly when opened.

Step 5 - Measure Cord Length

Using a tape measure, take your new cord and measure the length of the shades and cut the cord twice that measurement plus with width measurement of the shade.

Step 6 - Thread Cord

Using a restring needle, thread the cord through the holes. Thread it through the cord guide and fabric stack. Carefully pass the restring needle through the cord guide and pull it from the bottom railing. Repeat procedure for the other cord hole.

red pleated blinds

Step 7 - Attach Plastic Washer

Attach a plastic washer at the bottom end of each cord so that the fabric shades do not slip off. Knot it well. This will prevent the cord from slipping back up through the stack. Pull cord from the top to ensure that the cord is snug at the bottom.

Step 8 - Slide Bottom Rail

Slide into place the bottom rail on the bottom cell and filler strip.

Step 9 - Slide the Head Rail

Slide the head rail into the filler strip and top cell. Run cords along the center of the top cell toward the cord lock side of the fabric stack. Make sure not to cross the cords or this will entangled them when pulling it up. Always maintain the tautness of the cord when sliding on the rail making sure the cord guides remain even and straight.

Step 10 - Route Cords along Cord Channel

The cords should end at the cord lock.

Step 11 - Install Cord Lock

Also install end caps onto the rails. Attach end cap tightly on the bottom rail. Slide cord lock with its cover by the cords to the end of the head rail. Push the cord lock onto the head rail, keeping tension on the cords to avoid entangling them.

Step 12 - Re-install the Shade

Make sure that the cord lock is locking the cords on the fabric when it is up, open or compressed. Snap on the head rail onto the brackets and secure them. The lips of the brackets should fit snugly on the front grooves of the railing.

Step 13 - Test the Mechanism

Test it by pulling onto the string if the fabric bunches up evenly and nicely on top and it locks the right way. If the shade assembly feels wobbly when pulling, tighten the brackets enough to secure it in place.