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Do It Yourself! How To Remove And Replace Broken Window Blind Slats

A broken window blind slat, often caused by a curious pet or child, is unsightly and can lead you to think about replacing the entire set. However, broken slats aren't difficult to remove and replace; in fact, it is something you can do yourself with only a bare minimum of household tools and at zero cost. Below is what you need to know about fixing broken slats:

Tools and materials you will need

  • Needle nose pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Scissors

What you need to do

1. Understand how blinds are assembled – all kinds of blinds, whether plantation-style, mini-blinds, or venetian blinds, are put together in a similar manner. Before working on them, you need to understand a few basics of their assembly so you can visualize your final results. Here are a few of the parts explained:

  • Ladder cords – each ladder cord consists of  two vertical, parallel strings with evenly distributed horizontal strings that tie them together. They get their name due to their distinct ladder-like appearance. Ladder cords are placed at each side of the blind assembly. The horizontal cords serve as "rungs" on the "ladder", and the slats rest upon them, one slat per horizontal cord. The ladder cords are attached to the blind shuttering mechanism at the top end.
  • Lift cords – the lift cords consist of single strings that run vertically between the ladder cords; The lift cords are attached to the blind lifting mechanism at the top, and are also fastened to the bottom rail.
  • Bottom rail – the bottom rail serves to provide weight for the blinds so they hang properly and is also a base of support for both shuttering and lifting of blinds.

2. Fully open the blinds and lower them to their maximum extent – open the blind slats so they are horizontal, and release the lifting mechanism to permit all the slats to all hang freely. If necessary, pull the blinds away from the window sill so they can hang without any interference.

3. Remove the bottom cord fasteners – turn the bottom rail up so you can view its underside. At each end of the rail, there will be a plug that holds both the lift cords and ladder cords in-place. Carefully pry this plug free from its position using a flat-bladed screwdriver or a pair of needle nose pliers.

4. Remove the bottom rail – examine the lift cord and its relationship to the plugs. In some blinds, the lift cords are routed through the center of the plugs and tied with stopper knots to hold them in position. In other sets, the lift cords will be knotted inside the bottom rail. In either situation, push the rail up to give yourself sufficient slack to access the knots and untie them. The ladder cord "rungs" should have been released when you pulled the plugs from the rail. Carefully slide the bottom rail free from its position.

5. Remove slats beneath and including the broken slat – take a close look at how the lift cord is routed through the blind slats and between the ladder cord. It is commonly woven in-and-out of the ladder cord "rungs"; if so, remember that when reassembling the blinds later. Next, pull the lift cords up and out of the slats; this will permit you to pull the slats away from the ladder cords. Pull away each slat from the bottom-up until you reach the broken slat, and remove it, too.

6. Reinstall the slats – after removing the bad slat, slide unbroken slats into the gaps between the ladder cords so each slat rests upon the "rungs". Be sure the slats are positioned properly and are lined-up with the centers of each ladder cord. Next, route the lift cord down through the holes in each slat so that the lift cords are in-between the two strands of each ladder cord. Recall the manner in which the lift cords were woven as you determined in step 5, and recreate the alignment as necessary. Continue positioning slats and routing lift cords until you reach the bottom.

7. Reattach the bottom rail – slide the bottom rail into the ladder cords so the rail rests upon the "rungs" immediately below the last slat. Insert the lift cords into each rail and push them through to the other side; if you have difficulty working the cords through the rail, tape the lift cords to toothpicks to help you push them through like a sewing needle. After getting the cords through, either tie an appropriate stopper knot that rests inside the rail or inside the plug. Position the ladder cord "rungs" over each plug hole, and push the plugs firmly into position so they trap the ladder cords and hold the lift cords in position. Trim excess cord material with a pair of scissors.

8. Test your blinds for proper functioning – once you get the blinds reassembled, test them for proper lifting and shuttering. If they fail to open or you detect binding, recheck your lift cords to ensure you properly routed them or that they aren't caught on a slat or the bottom rail.

For more information on window replacement check out companies like Ken Caryl Glass Inc.