Saturday, February 18, 2012

Repairing our window shades…

Key West and Shark Valley 039

As many RV’ers can attest; if you own day/night shades they will eventually fail. And when one or more of the strings break they don’t work very well. Well as fate would have it two of our window shades finally broke, one in the living room behind our couch, and the other was the largest window in our bedroom.

As another annoyance the venetian blind that covers our front door window’s string catch also broke. This small piece of specialized plastic that holds the string that keeps the blind pulled up and secure had broken before and all we did was super-glue it. We did this three times and when it broke the fourth time I finally decided it was time to get a new one.

SnapsA trip to the nearby Camper’s World was in our future. As luck would have it they didn’t have the plastic piece I needed and suggested we try to order it from Tiffin Motorhomes. They did however have a restringing repair kit I purchased to repair our day/night shades.

Without the plastic piece I decided it best just to new hook installed improvise and found a old picture frame hanger that looked like it could work. Along with the use of a half of a replacement snap from our snap kit I was able to improvise and make a better mouse trap. The string that holds the mini blinds is now not as tight and thus easier to secure. The picture to the right shows the repair before it got some touchup paint.

Once I screwed in the new picture frame holder into the snap piece I had a string support for the blind that worked exquisitely better than our old one. Thought this tip might help others so here it is…

extenderPhilips head bitFeeling pretty smug about this repair I was finally ready to tackle the restringing of the day/night shades… Reading tons of web pages on how to perform such repairs I was pretty sure I could tackle this job as well… wrong!!! After several hours of simply trying to remove the blind from the valance or simply just removing the valance it was obvious I didn’t have the right tools.

A trip down to various hardware stores was made to purchase a 12” long Phillips screw bit for my power drill. This also turned out to be difficult and I finally had to settle for a six inch bit and a six inch extender. With these tools in hand removal of the valances was a whole lot easier even though I had to get a bit contorted to get to several of the screws inside the valance.

4 spring 4 strings shade diagramI removed the three screws on the top and the two on the sides of the valances. With the valances removed I had to remove several screws that were screwed in at an angle to hold the shade to the valance (which is why I was unable to simply remove the shades from the valance supports). With shades in hand and all the knowledge I gained from the web I was ready to restring the shades… Easy, right? Wrong!!!

After several failed attempts I got wise and contacted Don Boyd at Tiffin to see if they had a diagram for a shade with four springs and four strings. He sent me the one above (click to enlarge it) and when properly deciphered it actually worked. The picture of the diagram was confusing in that it appears to show the strings going diagonal in the top half of the night portion of the shade but they don’t. This is just a depiction showing that the strings on the outside go to the opposite inside part of the day portion of the shade. Once deciphered the restringing was a snap. I used a large needle after compressing the shades together and simply pushed the needle with the new string through and Shazam!!! The shades were repaired.

With the total cost of the stringing kit and the new bits at about $25.00 I was able to repair both blinds for $12.50 each. I still have enough string to repair a couple more when they break. The learning curve to repair these is pretty steep but once you figure it out, the repair of the next one can be done rather quickly. Hope this helps some other Tiffin owners out there in repairing their day/night shades.


  1. Boy, are you a smart man! Even with all the diagrams and phone calls to the right people, we probably still wouldn't be able to do what you did! But we have those terrific pull down shades with the metal cords, so hopefully, we'll have easier problems to solve if they need fixing!

  2. I guess I am just lazy- two of ours broke. I just tossed them and bought regular cell shades from Lowes. Now I am thinking I should have tried to fix them.

  3. Our blinds break also but we found this page that lead us through fixing them without the kit.
    Your isn't an easy task...that is for sure!

    I like you creative way of fixing the pull...very creative indeed!

  4. A learning curve for sure but now you have done it piece of cake. I have redone all of our metal venetian blinds, some twice now. No day night shades here and now take them down once a year to wash. I have restrung a few day night shades for friends as well and found some fabric stores have the proper cord in stock, I picked up 100 yards for 25 cents a yard so am prepared for the next fixes.

  5. They are a very poor design, and they break partly because they did not properly file all the burrs in the metal around the drilled holes. we have had redo four so far. We use 50# braided kite string which lasts a log longer.

  6. Been here, done the shade thing. Total pain in the________. But easier the second time. Still not a good time IMO. I'm pretty sure we paid more for the kit and had less left over than you did. So you're ahead of the game. Well done!!

    Learning a lot from your comments here. $.25 a YARD - WOW! We tried fabric stores, they never heard of it. I'm taking the 50# braided kite string advice next time and definitely agree about why the strings break. Sloppy workmanship.

  7. It must be catching, we just had to restring ours as well. We've removed our venetian blinds and the pull down on the front door, but that still leaves us five huge blinds. Fortunately we know how to fix them now (and so do you!).

    I love your bird shot, quite beautiful

  8. Kudos! Resourcefulness is indeed a big help in having repairs in homes. Also, there are advantages in having window shades. It would be able to help in cutting down your A/C costs by preventing sunlight from penetrating, keeping the room cool. Also, upholstery damage will be mitigated to furniture exposed under the sunlight.

    Kip Whitehead

  9. Great. Thanks for the tutorial. It's cheaper to go repairs than buying but when your window shades cannot be done with repairs anymore, buy another. Cheaper with good quality.

  10. Nice information about Blind Repair and Repairing of window shades…

  11. Oh thats a nice blog about Blind Repairs Salt Lake City which i had ever read.Thanks to share such type of blog with us.Your way of writing is really apppreciable.I would like to continue with your blog.

  12. The diagram shows the string going thru the upper shade diagonally. Wont work!