How to Replace a Window Sash Cord How to Replace a Window Sash Cord

What You'll Need
New sash cord (cotton clothesline will work)
Box knife or razor knife
Putty knife

If you have an older home with wooden sash windows, you may need to replace the window sash cord so the window will open and close properly. This is a relatively easy DIY project that you can complete in a  will take a little time.

Step 1 - Remove Wood Molding

First you will need to remove the wood molding strips that run down the side of each window frame that the sliding part of the window rests against. You will need to remove these gently as they will need to be reinstalled when you have finished replacing the sash cord. If there is a buildup of paint between this strip and the woodwork, use your box knife to score it, taking care to not cut or scratch the woodwork. Set these pieces aside.

Step 2 - Remove Cord

Once you have removed the wood strips, raise the bottom part of the casement window slightly and pull or swing it forward. If you have cord remaining on one or both sides, you will need to swing it forward. If both cords are broken, just lift the window up and remove it. You will most likely see the broken cord inside the frame work of the window that you have exposed, and there is a weight attached to it. Remove this cord and weight.

If there is cord still attached to the window, up and over the metal pulley at the top, untie the cord from the weight and save it. If by some chance your weight is missing, you will need to find a replacement. Some hardware stores still carry them, or you may have to purchase online or from a restoration salvage yard if you have one near you. You need these weights to hold your window in the upright position.

Step 3 - Cut and Attach New Cord

Using the old cord as a measurement, cut a new cord, allowing enough to tie onto the weight at one end and the window frame at the other. Feed the cord up over the pulley and then bring it down and attach it to the window where you removed the old cord. Attach the other end to the weight. Repeat this on the other side if it also needs replacing. Then slide the window back into place. If the pulley seems a bit tight, you may apply a bit of light oil to it.

Step 4 - Reinstall Wood Stripping

Once the sliding part of the window is in place, reinstall one side of the wood strip molding that you removed earlier. Now test the window by raising it and lowering it before you reinstall the other wood strip.

Now is the time to make adjustments so the window is held open securely by the weight which should lay on the bottom of the channel when the window is in the highest raised position. Install the other wood strip to finish the project. You may find it necessary to caulk along the strip on the edges to get a smooth edge, then repaint the area for a new, clean look.

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