Do you have an old home? Does your home have old windows with weights? If you have windows without stop trim and need to replace the sash cord, or if you just just like old windows, read on for the tutorial.
Our Tudor Revival home was built in 1929 and still has some of the original windows. Many of the original features that my husband and I consider charming had been removed in the 1960s and 1970s during a remodel. One of our goals when we started renovating our home was to replace some of the features that had been removed. Some of the original windows were intact, which we loved but needed to repairs.
Besides some windows not opening at all, when we did pry them open, they wouldn’t stay open. We had a consultation with a window repair person who serves the area, and his wait list was over one year! We didn’t want to wait so long, and he was willing to give guidance on re-roping our windows. Our windows unfortunately don’t have a stop trim that allows for easy access to the weight or rope. This meant the fix was a bit more labor intensive. Speaking of windows, in my Easy DIY Wood Mantle I talk about beautiful lead glass windows that were hidden behind wood paneling! It’s worth a scroll to see the before and after. Anyway, if your old windows are in need of repair, specifically replacing the sash cord, read on!
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Step 1 – Gather Materials
We used just six materials to replace the sash cords. You can buy cord specific for window sashes, but this clothesline shown has worked just fine for the last couple years.
Step 2 – Use the utility knife to cut along the sash.
Slice along the length of the sash.
Step 3 – Pry to loosen the moulding.
Using the mini crowbar placed where molding meets the wall, tap the end with the hammer to loosen.
Step 4 – Use your hands to pull moulding off the wall.
Try to do this gently, especially if you want to save your trim and avoid needing to patch drywall.
Step 5 – Identify the parts.
With the moulding pulled off, you will see the pulley, cord, and weight exposed. Isn’t it cool looking? I almost wish the old gears were visible all the time.
Step 6 – Pull window loose to get to the cord.
Step 7 – Cut old cord from weight.
Step 8 – Cut a length of new cord to the same size as the old cord.
Step 9 – Feed cord through hole to wrap over the pulley.
Step 10 – Pull string over the pulley and through to the other side.
Step 11 – Tie a knot to fit into hole in window.
Step 12 – Fit new cord knot in window hole and nail down in place.
Step 13 – Loop cord through weight hole and tie a knot.
Step 14 – Cut excess cord from weight.
Repeat this process on the other side. Test out by opening and closing window. The window should now stay open, as well as open and close more smoothly.
Step 15 – Nail trim back in place.
This space is our back landing that leads to the backyard. To the left is the backdoor and to the right facing the window, is the staircase leading to the basement. I wish I had taken better “before” pictures of this window. When we moved in the trim was brown and under the brown there were signs of a previous kelly green! There were also bars on the window, and the already small dark space was even darker. Now we can open this window for cross ventilation, or to holler out to the kiddos in the backyard.
This space is so tiny and difficult to photograph. There are two steps that lead from kitchen to this little landing, then you round a sharp corner to the basement steps. I included pictures from one of the bathroom windows with white trim that was repaired in the same way. You can see below that the windows now stay open! Yay! There were ten windows total that needed to be repaired. One day we hope to replace the aluminum windows that were added by the previous owners with a style that matches the originals. Old homes are definitely a labor of love!
- Everbilt Cord
- Utility Knife
- Moulding Prybar
- Panelboard Nails
- Nail Gun
- Air Compressor
Some notes on materials- the nail gun and air compressor are the most expensive on the list. We already had the nail gun, air compressor, hammer and utility knife. So if you already have some of these tools, your costs will be greatly reduced!
Pin This To Read Later!
Don’t Leave Just Yet!
Morgan from Palmetto Highway shared her steps to install beautiful Craftsman style trim.
I am so impressed that she did the install herself! Trim work can make such a difference in a space. Whether you are adding it to new construction or are restoring an old home, it adds so much depth and character.
Thanks for reading! I really appreciate your time spent here in my casa. Have you ever repaired an old window? Let me know in the comments section!
This is pretty cool … I always wondered how to replace them. I could have used these tips in our last house!
Thanks Meriah! Oh darn. It did take some research to find guidance!
We had to do this in our old home too. It’s a bit fiddly but well worth doing – great tutorial!
Thank you for reading Jayne! We are happy to have working old windows 😊
This was so interesting to read, Marie! I have never had such old windows but I love to learn how things work. Great post 🙂
I’m so glad you enjoyed! Thanks for reading. ❤
How neat is that?! I have heard of windows having pulleys before but never really understood how they worked. I love that you are keeping as many of the original features as you can. Each of your projects turns out so beautifully!
Thank you Jessie! It’s pretty cool to see the inner workings of old windows. You are the sweetest! 💗
Oh my! This is going to come in super handy. I was just telling the hubby that I’d like to replace the cords in a couple of windows. Thank you so much for sharing. 🙂
That’s great! I hope its helpful. Thank you for reading and commenting, Amy 💗
Great job and wonderful post. Thanks for sharing. Our 1820 Farmhouse has some old windows and I’m sure one day, we’ll get to the windows. Lol
Thank you Brooke! Your home sounds amazing. Old homes & I guess homes in general, are full of a lifetime of projects ☺️ Have a great day!
Thank you, I now know what I’m doing next weekend! 🙂
This window is beautiful! I’m sure this would be so helpful with those who have older homes!
Thank you Danielle! I hope so. We spent a lot of time researching and reading about old windows 😊
Great information in this post. Looks like a big job but the results were certainly worth it.
Thank you Carol! We love the results!
Wow Marie!! You broke the steps down so clearly! We don’t live in an older home but if I did, I would certainly use this post and your instructions to repair the windows! Thanks for sharing! I will be including this in my All Things Vintage series!
Thank you so much Cindy! I really appreciate your feedback. Your posts are always written so well. That will be a great honor to be included in your new series 🥰
Good tutorial for these type of windows. They can be so tricky.
Thank you so much!! They definitely are temperamental ☺️
This was such helpful information! I still have some old windows in the farmhouse that could benefit from this information! thanks for sharing your expertise!
I’m so glad you found it helpful! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Happy day!
I love this post! We have windows just exactly like that – most of which are painted shut – but I’ll be even those have broken cords! I didn’t have the faintest idea how to repair them, but now I want to run right out and get a nail gun! Thanks so much for this super clear and informative article!
Thank you so much! Luckily we found someone who was willing to impart their wisdom & I thought I should share ☺️ You can use a painter’s knife to unstick the windows & then see what condition they are in. I appreciate your sweet comment. Have a great week!
I love that you are preserving the beauty of the original items. This is a great tutorial.
Thank you so much Kim!! I appreciate your feedback!
I found it fascinated when the molding was pulled away to see the cord pulley for the window.
How much fun it must be to uncover fragments of a house built decades ago.
Thank you for adding your posts to the Friday with Friends link party!
I’m so glad you appreciate those details. That’s part of the charm and puzzle that I love about old homes. It was a pleasure to link up ❤ Thank you!
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