clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

How to Repair Damaged Window Sash Cords

Ask This Old House general contractor Tom Silva helps a homeowner fix window sash cords to keep her double hung window in balance

Repairing window sash cords

  1. Remove the screws holding the stop beads with a screwdriver.
  2. Remove the sash from the window opening.
  3. Remove the screws holding the doors to the weight pockets using a screwdriver.
  4. Take out the old weights and broken sash cords.
  5. Feed a cotton line down the pulley hole and into the weight pocket.
  6. Tie off the bottom end of the cotton line to the old weight on each side and return the sash weight to the window pocket.
  7. Cut the opposite side of the line. Leave slack measuring about two-thirds the length of the window opening.
  8. Replace the door to the weight pocket using screwdriver and screws.
  9. Pull on the cotton line and lift the weight almost to the top of the jamb. Fish the line along the dado cut of the sash. Tie a knot where the line meets the hole in the sash.
  10. Put the knot in the hole and nail it into the sash using a hammer and nail.
  11. Repeat on the opposite side.
  12. Cut any excess cotton line using a utility knife.
  13. Place the sash back into the window opening.
  14. Replace the stop beads on the jamb using a screwdriver and screws.
  15. If the pulley squeaks, use a silicone spray.


Replacement sash cord can be purchased at a hardware store or home center.

The display window that demonstrates how sash weights operate was on loan from Boston Building Resources.