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Cord Loop Controls – How to Repair

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Cord Loop Controls

Fabric shades of all kinds use cord loop controls.

You may not need to replace a cord loop that is dirty from handling. You can try running it through the washing machine. In my experience this can work quite well. Use a garment bag like those used for dainty fabrics if you machine wash a cord loop.  Otherwise your machine might eat the cord.

Cord loops also fray and break due to normal wear and tear. In that case your choices come down to repairing or replacing. Replacement is easy – repair, maybe not so much.

I’ll discuss both options in this article.

What to do if you want to replace an existing cord loop

Before you begin your search for a new cord loop, you need to do three things:

    1. Measure the old loop.

You need to know the size of the loop. You want the new loop to be the same size as the old one in order to avoid having to move the pulley attachment. This means no new screw holes in your wall or window frame.

Measure the distance that the loop drops from the top rail of the shade to the wall attachment pulley. You don’t need to measure the length of the piece of string that makes up the loop. Loops are specified by the drop distance and normally are available in whole foot increments only – that is, they will fit a drop of 3 feet, 4 feet, 5 feet, 6 feet, etc.

Loop tension is important. Slightly loose is better than too tight. You don’t want it to be sloppy, but a little bit of slack is good. This will reduce the stress on the cord, the pulley and the lift mechanism. If the new cord loop seems tight at the current pulley location, you would be wise to move the pulley.

    1. Measure the diameter of the cord in the old loop.

The diameter of the cord used to make the loop is also important. A smaller diameter cord may not work well in a shade designed for a larger diameter. Two common cord diameter designations are D-30 and D-40. The D-30 is the smaller of the two and the most common. It has a 2.7mm diameter. The D-40 is bigger at 3.2mm.

    1. Match the color of the cord in the old loop.
Additional Reading: forum discussions related to cord loop repair

4 thoughts on “Cord Loop Controls – How to Repair

  1. I have several windows with shades that have continuous cord loops that keep breaking at the butt weld for the loop. I would like to purchase a tool to repair the welded butt joint rather than purchasing several different prefabricated cord loops. Where can I obtain such a welding/splicing tool?

  2. Hi Jim,

    While I have never actually seen the cord loop fabrication process, it is my understanding that cord loops are welded together with high strength hot melt adhesives using machinery that is kind of pricey. I know from first hand experience that the hot melt available in craft stores is not strong enough.

    Cord loops are prefabricated in a set number of sizes and can’t be ordered made-to-measure. I suppose this is because cleanup after a production run is probably not the sort of thing you would want to have to do every day.

    To get a better feel for what kind of machinery we are talking about you may want to check out the videos at Hot Melt News, a blog site from a hot melt supplier. There aren’t any videos about cord loop fabrication machines but if you are a bit of a gear-head like me you might enjoy them just for what they are.

  3. I stumbled onto this discussion while trying to answer for myself the same question Jim Newsom asked. I have had success in customizing the loop length with a high-heat butt meld of the cut ends of a Hunter-Douglas cord loop. I hold the 2 ends against a tip of a soldering iron (the iron is stabilized in a clamp or vise) and then, as they start to melt, I pull them away and quickly push them against eachother and roll the joint with my fingers (hot, but not terrible). Once cool, careful trimming and shaping with a Dremel smoothes the joint and keeps it to the same calibre as the cord. Practice with some scrap pieces first, and although it doesn’t glow red, remember that the soldering iron is dangerous and keep your fingers and other flammables away.

  4. Hey Jeff,
    Good suggestion. I especially like the idea of the Dremel tool to trim the welded joint. I often encounter a rough weld on a new cord loop straight out of the factory. That’s a great solution and it gives me an excuse to buy a new tool. Thanks for contributing.

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