Replacing the Window Sash Ropes on Historic Windows

February 25, 2017

In the video below you will learn how to replace the window sash ropes on an old wood window. If you are restoring an older home and have taken your windows out to refinish them, taking the extra time to replace the sash ropes can save you a headache down the road. It’s well worth the extra effort.

Replace the Weather Stripping

Cut a section of bronze weather stripping to length using a pair of tin snips. Line up the top of the weather stripping just below the top rope pully. Maintain an even gap between the edge of the weather stripping and the edge of the wood. Start in the middle and insert a small nail or screw to hold the weather stripping in place. Then secure the strip by inserting a nail or screw every 2” over its entire length.

Replace the Window Sash Ropes

Remove the single screw to remove the weight doors. Remove the weights to gain access to the bottom of the rope. Attach a fishing line or chain to the old rope so you can use it to thread the new rope into place. Push the new rope over the top of the pulley while you pull the rope through the weight door with the other hand. Tie a knot at the top end of the rope so it doesn’t fall down inside the rope channel. Tie the other end of the new rope to the top of the weight. Be sure the rope is short enough that the weight cannot bottom out. Make sure the knot tightens on itself then reinsert the weight into the channel. Go back up top and make sure that both weights move freely by pulling both ropes.

Replace the Weight Doors

After you test both of the upper sash weights and both of the lower sash weights you can replace the weight doors a.k.a. the sash cord doors. Slide the top of weight door up inside the channel. Push the bottom of the door outwards until it is flush with the fixed wood. Insert the single screw at the bottom of the door to hold it in place.

Attach the Sash Cords to the Windows

Start with the upper sash. Pull the upper sash cord towards you and hold it to the top of the sash with one hand. Use your other hand to place the rope knot inside the knot pocket. Insert a 1-1/4” drywall screw through the knot to hold it firmly in place. Make sure that the screw isn’t too long, otherwise you could drive it in too deep and crack the glass. There is no need to overtighten the screw, just screw it in deep enough to ensure that the knot is snug. Make sure the screw head doesn’t stick out beyond the edge of the sash where it could otherwise make contact with the jamb itself.

With both ropes secured, place the upper sash into the jamb. Slide the sash up and down a few times to make sure it slides freely without sticking. Reinstall the center stops starting with the top center stop. Carefully tap the upper stop into place with a small hammer. Push the upper sash up in place to make sure it clears the stop. Follow the same steps above to reinstall the lower sash and attach the new ropes.

Contact Us:

If you have additional questions about replacing your window sash ropes? Contact One Source Renovation, LLC at or give us a call at (815)-634-8922.