The Inside Scoop at

Your Q&A Forum

Here’s a great place to ask your questions and have them answered — which will greatly help other cellular window shade owners and pre-owners!

We’re going to start off this forum with a timely question that came through our order lines a few days ago:

Q: Can I use a traditional shade, with side tracks, in a skylight application?

A: Unfortunately, the design of the traditional shade leaves the shade fabric vulnerable to sagging when used in a skylight application. The Balcony (Skylight) shades are specifically designed — with retainer tracks — to keep this from occurring. As well, there are three rails to the skylight system: the top rail and bottom rail are attached to the window opening with brackets, while the middle rail rides up and down to open or close the shade. The bad part of this scenario: No tax credit for “retainer tracks”; see your tax expert to learn more about the energy credit on shades with “side tracks”.

Q: Is it okay to cut the strings/cords (of a “standard” shade) above the child-safety “equalizer” box? I simply can’t get the knots undone!

A: Oh, please don’t cut the strings! The length of the string is what tells the shade when it is fully extended (ie, all the way down). By making the cords shorter, you will be shortening the length of your shade! The only remedy then: To have the shade restrung… (which, for most people, will mean sending the shade in for repair).

Q: With CASEMENT windows, can I use side tracks and still get beyond the locks and cranks?

A: Great question! The ComforTrack side track system does have a certain tolerance for window depth: minimum inside mount depth of 1½ inch, while a flush inside mount requires at least 1 7/8 inch. But do keep in mind any obstructions, like locks and cranks — and measure your window depth accordingly. You may be happy to hear that the long-handled cranks are now a thing of the past! Take a look at T-handle options.

UPDATE, November 2011: See the Blog Post on Cranks, Depth and Side Tracks for more on this subject.

Q: The windows behind my cellular window shades are experiencing condensation. Help!

A: Condensation is the moisture that appears when water vapor hits a cold surface, like your windowpane. It is true that condensation can develop on the window behind a cellular shade. This is a testament to the fact that the shade is working! The warm air in the room is not reaching the window and it will develop condensation that may even freeze over. Occasionally wiping the moisture away and treating/sealing any wooden window frames will help prevent damage to your windows over time. Properly caulking windows will provide an added seal to your window openings. Remember that condensation happens regardless of the window treatment. Luckily light filtering cellular shades can get wet without damaging the fabric. We recommend mounting any cellular shade approximately 1-4 inches away from the window glass, so it will not be saturated with the condensation and does not rub on the window frame. If condensation is a concern for you, you can opt for the top down/bottom up feature. On particularly cold nights lowering the shade from the top down a few inches lowers the dew point behind the shade without sacrificing the energy-saving benefits. If you do not have the option of pulling the top down, lift the bottom rail slightly off the sill — this will facilitate some air movement behind the shade.

A #2: Henri de Marne, a noted specialist writing on problems “About the House” (the name of his newspaper column) addressed this “sweating” windows issue, after a new furnace was installed, with these words: “The old gas furnace … caused a constant renewal of the air in the house, carrying the excessive humidity outside through its flue. …[T]he humidity in the house, no longer being exhausted, is condensing on all cold surfaces. The solution is to reduce the relative humidity (RH) by whatever means is necessary.” He then went on to say that you would NOT want to have a humidifier in use; the homeowner should consider getting rid of “water-loving” plants; to find a way of drying clothes indoors other than air drying on a rack and to make sure the gas/electric dryer is properly vented to the exterior; and to use bathroom and kitchen exhausts (making sure they exhaust to the outside and not to the attic!); and to consider getting a couple room-sized  air-to-air heat exchangers — or even a whole-house air-to-air heat exchanger.

Q: Aren’t all cellular shade fabrics the same?

A: Emphatically NO! Although cell size can vary and this affects insulating efficiency, the most important difference is in how the basic fabric is made. All cellular fabrics are created from the same principle — a non-woven array of polyester fiber, but the construction of the fabric can vary greatly. There are two ways to create this array of fiber: Bonded polyester — You can think of bonded polyester as being made from a process similar to paper. Bonded polyester is less porous, reducing air flow. Furthermore, because our fabric is bonded, particulates that would otherwise get caught in fabric remain on the surface of the shade where they can be vacuumed or dusted off. The second process, Spun lace, can be thought of as being made similar to cotton candy. Spun lace is a soft open weave;  air can pass through, depositing air particulates within the web of fabric. Think of it as being like your car’s air filter. Over time, these deposits reduce the insulating value and the shade becomes “grungy” looking faster. By nature, the spun lace is more difficult to clean. If you have samples of the two fabrics you can easily differentiate by pouring coffee or soda on the fabric to see if it penetrates or runs off and, if bonded polyester, how easily the stain is removed.

Q: Do Cellular Shades have to be BLACKOUT fabric to cut the heat of the sun and insulate well?

A: If you have a window — even more critical, if you have a skylight — with nothing covering the glass, you are currently getting the full strength of the sun’s rays. This may feel nice on a cold day, but once the heat comes you would be glad of a cellular shade! Either LIGHT FILTERING or BLACKOUT fabric will help cut down the glare and the heat of the beating sun. You will notice a big difference straightaway. Is the blackout fabric more insulating: technically, yes; a cellular shade with blackout fabric has an R-value of 4.0 while the light filtering has a 2.8 R-value. But for those who do not want to block out 99% of the light also, you will be AMAZED at how much the light filtering fabric, by cutting the sun’s rays, will likewise cut the heat. Our office gets full sun during the afternoon, so things can heat up pretty quickly. A shade – of either cellular material – pulled down helps immensely.

Q: Regarding the ComforTrack side tracks, I’ve carefully reviewed the instructions and the video on installation; here’s my question:  The left and right tracks are mirror images of each other and I don’t want to install the tracks backwards. The track measures, on one side, 5/8-inch from the “fin” while the other side measure 1/4-inch. Which side should face the window, the long side or the short side?

A: Short answer is, the shorter (1/4-inch) side should be towards the room. That provides more track (the 5/8-inch side) to block the air coming from the window side of the shade. Also, we “notch” the top of our tracks (so they nestle into the headrail area); these notches should, therefore, be at the top on installation — which should help you identify which is the left track and which the right. You will also notice that this way the shade is pretty flush with the track.
For visuals, see our blog page on side tracks.

Q: We noticed after ordering that your skylight shade is constructed in a way that assumes a 90-degree angle between what would be the “sill” and the window itself. (This is what is depicted in the photo on your website). Our skylight’s “sill” area is at a much greater angle (see photo).

A: Thank you for the photo; that is exceptionally helpful!
The skylight shade design — with three rails (the bottom and top rails are attached by brackets into the opening; the middle rail is what enables the shade to be “open” or “closed”) — does assume a flat surface at that top and bottom; also, the top and bottom must be parallel to each other. Creating a “sill” at the proper angle is the solution. The shade does need to be against a “flat”  surface (with 90-degree angles), just as you describe.
You can view a close-up of the bottom rail on the
skylight page.

Q: My windows are very long; when standing next to them, they start at ankle-height and reach over my head! I have your Standard Cord Lock shades, and two Top Down Bottom Up shades. Can I remove the tassel cord and tassel?? Right now, they drag on the floor.

A: Hi! the tassel is there for aesthetics as much as for creating a longer shade pull. We do have one person here, with very similar windows, who much prefers to function the shades by grasping the Equalizer Box (also called a Breakaway Cord Connector).

She removed the tassel completely:

Unsnap the Equalizer Box (this is a child-safety feature: it “breaks” the cord loop should a child or pet become entangled in the loop) and pull out the tassel cord; snap the Equalizer Box back together. It’s that easy!

Q: How can I clean the INSIDE of my cellular shade?

A: We’ve had calls from people who had bugs (spiders, say) trapped within the honeycomb that have withered and died. This could be tricky, depending on the width of the shade. Something quite wide might require a couple people — for theoretically, you can tilt the shade fabric and something like that might slide out. For shades that are fairly narrow a good spray from a can of compressed air might do the trick. Photography shops used to sell small cans – though don’t expect a long nozzle. Harder to recommend putting anything through the shade’s honeycomb: You do NOT want to pierce the fabric.

If any readers have a super way of cleaning the interior of the honeycombs, let us know!

Q: Which “hole” on the SKYLIGHT bracket do I use for installation — I’ve lost my instructions!

A: If you misplace the paper instructions that came with your shade, please do look at our website: We’ve posted all our installation instructions online!
     To answer your question, we’ve this neat little picture which illustrates what NOT to cover with your screw:

Q: I hired someone to install my shades with side tracks. I’m not sure they installed the shades correctly: Is the shade supposed to be behind the “fin” on the side track? I still feel drafts!

A: Always encourage your handyman review the installation instructions, or even view the online video. As this photo illustrates, the shade — which has a routed channel and specially-designed endcaps — slips over the “fin” and actually rides up and down on the side tracks:

This photo also well-illustrates that the wider edge of the side track is facing the exterior; the track is well-covered by the shade, when viewed from the interior.

Q: I have a Continuous Cord Loop Shade; if it is “unequal” — one side is higher than the other side — can I simply lift the shade up and it will equal-out?

A: All of our CellularWindowShades are made to “self-equalize” — even on a Continuous Cord Loop shade, you just push up on the low side or pull down on the low side to “equalize” the level of the shade. If your shade is out of level, and it gets pulled up, sooner or later the shade will have string problems — and a possible breakage — due to one side having more string to pull up than the other side.
       In short, please take a moment to equalize your shade and then pull it up.

Q: The instructions for installing a Standard Cord Lock shade say to use only ONE screw — but there are two holes! Do I use the front or the back hole?

A: This illustration, showing a fully-recessed (not shallow mounted shade) will answer your question: front hole:

standard bracket_mounted inside(to enlarge, click picture)





next question, please!

54 Responses to "Your Q&A Forum"

Love my shades, for both hot & cold day defense. Mysteriously, some of the strings have become uneven & the shade won’t go all the way down, as the short side limits the descent. How do I “undo” what what was mysteriously done, & prevent that from happening again?

Dear Marian,

Thank you for the question. The shades we build have one continuous string so that all styles (with the exception of cordless and cordless top down bottom up) are SELF-LEVELING!

After you let the shade down, give the string the extra tug to engage the clutch. Pull down on the high side / push up on the low side and your problems should “magically” disappear.

Wanted you to know it worked & they are now fixed! Thanks very much for the help.

I have a bali cordless top down bottom up that is divided into 3 sections. One section won’t go down all the way. It stops about 4 inches from the bottom now. What can I do to fix this? Geni M,

Hi, I answered you over email — hope you rec’d our suggestion for a repair place.

I would love to know the answer too….just happened to my cellular shade it is cordless but not top down one just up and down.

Hi, Kirstin —
“Anonymous” wrote about a Bali shade; this is a particular company; each “brand” of shade will have its own source for repairs.

We make shades that follow the Symphony line of cellular shades. Is your shade a Symphony Shade; or made by Comfortex (you should see a label at the bottom of the bottom rail)?

If you can give more information, I might be able to give better advice.

I hope to install cellular shades in our new home. Some of the windows are HUGE. Can you please tell me, is there a limit on the size of cellular shades if they are to continuously open and shut properly. Some of the windows are tall, some are wide and tall, sorry I do not have exact measurements as yet.

Hi, Angie —

You anticipated my main question: How large is large?

With shades that are wide and/or long, we have the Continuous Cord Loop lift option (you can review lift options here: The Continuous Cord is a heavy-duty mechanism, and should the cord loop break, it’s an easy in-home replacement.

Production’s maximum width is 110-inches; but 108-inches in length, for the box, is the UPS maximum — so those extra inches means a shade greater than 104-inches (approximately) must ship FREIGHT. We offer free Standard UPS Ground shipping, but charge for freight (only the actual cost, we never add fees!).

The maximum length is 120-inches; though this does not affect shipping in the way the shade width does, I mention it just so you have the maxes in mind.

If you have in mind to use the ComforTrack side tracks, then the maximum shade width is 96-inches. does not advocate the two-on-one (two blinds on one headrail), but suggests extra large expanses be broken down into several smaller shades — if the windows allow that (ie, a mullion is a nice natural “break”.)

We may have some other options for you should your windows be wider and/or longer than what I’ve discussed above. Happy to help once you’ve take a few — even rough — measures.

Thanks for writing!

Website worth visiting…

I enjoy reading your articles, many thanks….

Thanks for the praise and the comment. Always nice to know people appreciate our efforts! We hope you come back time and again.

Like the website. Just realized my newly purchased comfortrack tracks are ~1/4 of an inch too long for my inside mount. I can think of many ways to trim them (bottom not the notched top side) but wondering if you have any ideas for a nice looking cut. The error was on my end, not the vendors.

Hi, Jay!

Thanks for your thoughts on the site! Much appreciated.

Our Side-Track expert, Bob, has this advise to pass along to you: Use a Chop Saw (Bob’s favorite), or a Band Saw; you want to make a straight cut, yes, on the non-notched side. The secret is to go through the side track very SLOWLY. The material is just brittle enough that a fast cut will cause problems, but a S-L-O-W cut will produce perfect results.

Hope this helps.

By the way, should you need more shades with the ComforTrack side track system, keep in mind to use the SHORTEST length of your three measures.

Measuring Tip to keep in mind: For length: left, center and right are all measured, giving upwards to three measures to choose from: w/o tracks, take the longest length; with tracks, take the shortest length. For Width: top, middle, bottom are all measured, giving upwards to three measures to choose from: always, you take the narrowest width. (If you need to, round DOWN to the nearest 1/8th-inch for cellular shades manufactured by

Thanks for the recommendation. I have a compound miter saw I was thinking of using. My length issue was not caused by measurement error. I wanted a tad bit more length make it easier to get a complete seal down low. I simply forgot to think about the side tracks! DUH! Thanks again!

What can I use to dye my day/night shades from mauve to black.I tried Ritz dye,but it doesn’t work.My shades are in great shape,but that pinky mauve has got to go!!! Can anyone offer me any advice?
Thanks alot:) Connie

Hi, Connie —

We’ve let some kids experiment with our shades and found craft paints can sometimes be problematic.

If you have Symphony Shades, which are a bonded polyester fabric, some craftpaints made specifically for fabric may give you what your looking for – but, frankly, I couldn’t imagine trying to apply a paint all over a cellular shade. You mention a day-night shade, and that may be a slightly different animal.

My best advice is to TREAT YOURSELF. Even though the shades are in good shape, you’ve obviously outgrown the color. You may have out-of-the-way windows these shades could grace for a while longer. Shades are difficult, because, being made to order, they fit a specific window; sometimes making a formerly-inside mount shade into an outside mount shade will allow you to place it on a smaller window.

Blog readers may have other ideas. I open the floor to further suggestions!

I have a cordless bottom up cellular shade that was working. Now it won’t go down all the way. It stops about 4 inches from the bottom now. What can I do to fix this?

Dear Nancy,

Thank you for your question. My assessment would be based on the “Symphony Shade” cellular model, more than any other type of cordless shade.

It is possible that the internal strings — which wind around a shaft in the headrail and enable the shade to shorten/lengthen — are twisting around the spools rather than neatly winding. A shade exhibiting that problem, that was sent in for repair, would be restrung and the motors/transmissions replaced. A slow and steady raising and lowering is required with Cordless shades, to give time for the motors to wind the strings. Once they start crossing, problems such as you described are exhibited.

Hope this helps!

If your shade is a Symphony model, contact your original place of purchase — or send an email (service [at] cellularwindowshades [dot] com) and inquire about our repair service.

how can we repair it at home?

Hi, — there are a LOT of variables about home repair. The lift option is a determining factor, in that some pose less probem to restring than others, the cordless lift option for instance. It also depends on what’s wrong with the shade – broken string? broken clutch? broken part within the headrail?

So, a “qualified” answser, Anonymous – please give more information, and also indicate that it is a “Symphony” shade that you are talking about and not some other make or model.

I bought a light-filtering cellular window shade. Although, I want the room to be slightly lighted and want to ensure that the shade provides privacy. Will anyone from outside be able to see-thru the shade inside the lighted room at nightime?

Hi, Sergio — The most that people from the outside would be able to see are shadows – and that would presume strong light and up close to the shade. The fabric is a bonded polyester, so at no point does the shade fabric provide a “see through” quality. I’ll hunt up a picture or two and email them to you.

Thanks for posing your question!

UPDATE: Here’s the photo I emailed Sergio —

Symphony Shade

For more pictures, visit our website:, and click on “What Can You See?

I have a pair of cordless cellular blackout shades that only go up about a foot. I bought them back in 2010, but I don’t remember where. Is there anything I can do to get these shades to go up?

Hi, Dave —

A Cordless shade – especially if we are talking of a “Symphony Shade” cordless model – has all its works in the headrail. From your description, it doesn’t seem a broken string (which typically occurs sooner or later when the shade is having problems, for it’s all part of the same problem), but during a “restring” the motors and transmissions would be changed.

Basically, the following has probably occurred: A working cordless shade will have the internal strings neatly winding — like thread on a spool. That’s why the operator must give a slow and steady upward/downward push/pull on the shade to open and close it. When the shade is operated too fast the internal strings begin to cross (rather than spooling neatly). The shade begins to be harder to operate, until the day comes that the strings are so crossed that they really do not unspool and respool at all. A restring (which necessitates the shade being sent out for repair) is the solution.

We do repairs on “Symphony” brand shades, because we build that type of cellular shade. Comfortex is the main manufacturer; they may have a dealer local to you. If some other brand, look for a production label, or try a local window coverings company (though not all local dealers and companies will be able to do repairs).

Thanks for your question, Dave.

I have Bali cordless shades. They will not “catch” and go up. I’ve taken the top off and tried to move the metal brackets to the left and right but does not help. I’ve hand wound them up from the top andthey go all the way up with no snags in string so string looks good, but they fall right back down to about 2/3 down the length.

Any ideas?

Hi, Bart —

Sorry for the delay; you got lost among some spam!

Contact a Bali dealer; it sounds like something within the mechanics of the shade has broken (ie, if you can wind the string, then the string isn’t broken). If Bali builds their cordless anything remotely like ours, there are a few items in the headrail that need replacing. If you bought the shade locally, start with that store.

Don’t know how forum works but here goes: I have a choice for two huge cellular verticals of, spunlace, point-bond, or a polyester/wood pulp/ spunlace woven fabric–which is more durable and easy to keep clean in hot, humid, southern exposed windows?

Hi, Anna —

Yes, posting a question (as you’ve done) is how the Forum works!

You’ve used the term “spun lace” in both descriptions; therefore, the fabric must be more or less the same in both shades.

The best cellular fabric composition is a “bonded polyester”; this you will find in such brands as Hunter Douglas and Symphony Shades. Bonded polyester has a higher level of durability. You might be interested in reading “Not all Cellular Shades are built the same“.

Think of “bonded polyester” as being like newspaper rather than cotton candy (“spun” lace). This is significant when you imagine air flow and the movement of pollutants and dust through your shade fabric. Bonded polyester inherently repells dust; spun lace will trap dust, much like a car filter. And we all know how often those need replacing.

Depending on your budget, since you describe “two huge” cellular veticals, do keep in mind the longevity of a great shade, versus the cost difference of a bargain shade. You will also be banking heating & cooling cost savings, especially if the windows or doors have no window covers at all at present. A cellular shade, by its very nature (those honeycomb “cells”) is a good insulator, keeping out the cold in winter and keeping out the heat in summer.

Good luck with your shopping!

the second spunlace described is actually a blend of polyester/wood pulp/spunlace—so is that more similar to point bond or spunlace? These are Graber selections…..they have not answered their phones for the last two days, so I can’t ask them!

Hi, Anna — my original response disappeared! Sorry for the delay.

A “spun lace” fabric – like CrystalPleat – will never be a “bonded” fabric. We post our “Energy Saving” info:; so let the numbers do the talking: if other sites post their ratings, you can compare.

I have a skylight in a spare bedroom that doubles as an office. And it gets direct sunlight for a better part of the day. When used during the day as an office, I want a light filtering shade so I get the natural light, but not directly on my computer screen. But when used as a bedroom for out of town guests that want to sleep in, I want a blackout shade. Do they make shades/blinds with both properties?

Hi Geoff —

You pose a bit of a difficult problem: there ARE shades (typically called “day/night”) for windows, which actually have two separate pieces of fabric, allowing you the choice. Not sure that versatility is available in a skylight model.

The window version typically works on the idea behind a Top Down Bottom Up shade: a moving middle rail allows one or the other fabric to be exposed, as in this image of Hunter Douglas’s Duolite shade. Most skylights seem designed to open one direction only.

How much depth do you have? There is the less expedient option of two shades, one mounted in front of the other.

Thanks for your question, and good luck with your decorating plans.

I inherited the lovely Symphony cellular blinds from previous home owner. Does one clean them? ever? and how? Thank you.

Hi, Mary Lou —

Cleaning depends on the fabric of the shade(s). The Symphony Shade used to come in either Light Filtering fabric (which it still does) or a Room Darkening “Matinee” fabric (now replaced by the Black Out fabric line).

Is your shade Light Filtering — does it have “white” showing to the exterior, or is it a blue-ish gray color? White would indicate Light Filtering; blue/grey would indicate the Matinee fabric.

Light Filtering fabrics are more capable of being submerged (strictly prohibited for the black out fabrics). Given the potential age, I would not recommend complete submersion for Matinee fabrics.

For all fabrics: a feather-dusting and occasional vacuuming (with upholstery attachment) is the general up-keep. Spot cleaning, without vigorous scrubbing for Black Out and Matinee fabrics.

For Light Filtering fabrics: Spills and stains can be lightly blotted with a cloth or damp sponge. More difficult stains may require soaking in water with mild soap. For this, remove the shades from the window and soak in warm water. Hang to dry, having raised the shade slightly.

Keep in mind that no amount of cleaning can bring an old shade back to “brand-new pristine”. Old shades may react negatively to a professional cleaning (sonic cleaning). A lot depends, therefore, on age and condition. A general periodic cleaning will keep a shade bright and fresh. A lot of stains and you may be better off replacing the shade(s).

Thanks so much. They d be a light filtering type. They appear to be in v. good condition but probably just need the use of attachment vacuuming.

Symphony double honeycomb shade top down-bottom up–cord stuck on both up and down–any easy fix–senior citizen

Hi, Alan — sorry for the late reply.

With a Top Down/Bottom Up shade, be sure to drop the bottom before attempting to let down the top.

On Symphony Shades, the cord lock releases the strings when pulled towards the center of the shade. If the cords seem truly “locked” in position, you can dismantle the shade a bit: pull on the clutch that controls the bottom — no need to pull it out fully. You will see the “wings” of the clutch cover – pull the cover off to expose the clutch. At this point you will be able to see the string. Moving it left and right, you should be able to unlock it and allow the bottom to go down (depending on the size of the shade, a second pair of hands might come in handy!). Put the clutch cover back on and put the clutch unit fully back into the headrail. With the bottom functioning, see if the top then will drop down.

If the lock itself seems damaged, you should be able to order replacements – although this may depend on the age of the shade. Cord Locks have changed a bit over the years.

I hope this info helps – and doesn’t come too late to be of use.

Is it possible to only purchase fabric for a cellular shade?

HI Anthony — sorry for the delay in responding. We do in some respects sell “replacement fabric” – often, however, the expense of sending in the shade(s), the cost of fabric and the return shipping get close to the cost of a new shade. Contact us via email or phone and we’ll hear what you’re looking for and determine whether we can help.

Thanks for writing in!


After installing room darkening cell shades my window glass becomes VERY (will burn you hot) hot to the touch. One of the windows actually cracked I feel because of the heat. Any body ever have same problem?

Hi, Dave – Is the window backing the shade something along the Low-E, argon-filled, solar-gain type? Windows made expressly for warming the interior will actually trap the heated air between the shade (which is insulating) and the glass – leading to what you have experienced: cracked glass.

Can you have cellular shades covering such windows?

Certainly the window manufacturer must be deferred to, and their website(s) are usually the best place to seek for such answers.

Our customers have found that the greatest flexiblity is with a Top Down Bottom Up Shade, in which (depending on the season), the shade is raised/lowered, allowing the heated air to escape. Even without a TDBU shade, raising the bottom, rather than covering the window from sill to top, will help dissipate the extreme temperatures you’ve experienced.

In looking up further information, readers having Low-E windows might benefit from reading what Madico (a leading window film company) has to say about applying film to Low-E windows ( – there, the type of Low-E surface, as well as location, is discussed.

The Efficient Windows Collaborative is another good resource (, though, in the end, for windows already in place, the best resource remains the window manufacturer. Knowing what you have, how it acts and during what situations is vital.

I hope this helps.


out of the blue, my continuous cord cellular shade will only rise on one side. I can’t get the one side to go up at all, while the other side just keeps going up or coming down. It is the weekend and my home is on the market. Just thought I’d give this forum a try. Hope someone is listening, otherwise, my room will have to remain dark until Monday! Thanks in advance!

Hi Joannne, Sorry for the late reply. Kelly (our blogger) has been on vacation. It sounds as if one of the internal strings may have broken or let go. You should contact the manufacturer or place you got the shade. Generally internal string repairs have to be done by a fabricator. If it is a Symphony Shade, we may be able to help you get that shade repaired.

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I bought manual top down bottom up cellular blinds and had them installed. Now I want to add a remote control for medical reasons. Can I get remote installed to the blinds I already have or will I need to purchase new blinds with remote control?

Hi, Ann – I wish you had mentioned the brand name of your shade. Even with that information, however, the news is most likely to be you need to purchase a new shade.

Motorization is more complicated in that, even with conversion from Top Down Bottom Up to motorized, only certain parts of the shade may actually be “re-used”.

To give you a for-instance, using our own shades as an example:

A Top Down Bottom Up shade can be thought of as being made up of (1) a Top Rail; (2) a moving Middle Rail (the “top down” portion); (3) fabric; and (4) the Bottom Rail.

On a Top Down Bottom Up shade in the “Symphony” line of cellular shades – all three rails are the same thin metal.

A motorized shade – which will only go up from the bottom – would only retain the fabric and the bottom rail. The head rail would be totally replace, and be more square – inside this fits all the parts for the working of the shade and the motor itself.

Converting the shade (and it’s always worth thinking about how old the original shade is; too old and it’s possibly time to think ‘new’ any way) would entail sending the shade in (ie, a shipping cost if you don’t have a local manufacturer); a labor charge for converting the shade; shipping back.

With companies offering FREE SHIPPING, that alone may help offset some of the cost of a new shade.

i’m sure there are other shades in the room – perhaps ones you don’t wish to touch; so “matching” other shades always becomes a concern. That is where knowing what brand of shade you have will come in handy. Shades on other walls, or in adjoining room should be less conspicious when it comes to differences due to age versus new, or dye lot differences.

I hope this helps you decide what options are out there for you, Ann!

I have a comfortex cellular blind that now will not raise up. the shade is pulled all the way to the bottom of the window and the loops of string are loose on the left side and tight on the right. Any thoughts on how to get it to operate again? When I pull it to the top using the handle in the center the slack side of the loops stay slack and the tight side of the loops seems to operate. Is this something I can fix or is the blind done!

Hi Elaine!

This certainly sounds repairable, especially if your shade is within 10 years of age. It could be that your left side clutch needs to be replaced. You can either contact the company that you bought the shade from to see if you’re under a warranty of theirs or if they’ll do the repair anyway, or you can search for a local Comfortex dealer to do the repair. You can use this tool: or call them at (800)843-4151.

Another thing you could to is buy a replacement clutch if the shade isn’t over ten years old. Your original dealer, or a local dealer, could perhaps send you a new clutch, or you could buy one online at a website like

I hope that helps! Please let us know if you have any further questions. Thanks, Elaine!


We had a top down bottom up cellular shade in a small shower room and the head rail became moldy. It is not advisable to use a cellular shade in a shower room where there is high moisture content? I’d love to get another one unless there is a better product to use, but I want the top down bottom up feature. Thanks!

Hi MJ!

If the room is humid for most of the time, then you’ll want to be vigilant when it comes to caring for your shades. We advice running the fan in the shower room for a while after showering to help with the moisture. You could also lower the top down part of the shade and leave the window open for a little bit after showering to make sure the back/top of the shade is getting airflow. But the shades are not designed to hold up against mold in rooms where high levels of moisture is consistent, so the best way to fight mold buildup is to make sure the shade and window surface is dried every day.

I hope that helps! Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance!


I have an RV that came with day-night cellular shades. Nice except “night” is pink! If I remove them, might I be able to flip them around to have all white on the inside?

Hi Barbara,

While I can’t say for sure one way or the other because we don’t make day-night shades, I do know that with our shades you can just take them off the bracket, turn them around, and install them again so the white side is facing the inside.


I have cordless blackout cellular shades from Award blinds and the individual cells are separating ( glue coming loose that holds cells together ) This allows light to come through the separated cells. Can the cells be re-glued back together, and how?

Hi Lou,

You can try gluing them together with a fabric glue, but first I’d get in touch with the company who sold you the shades in the first place to see if you are covered under any sort of warranty for that issue.



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