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How to Replace a Market Umbrella Cord

By Shirl Snyder
Market umbrellas add perfect shade for patios and yards.
yellow umbrellas image by JLycke from Fotolia.com

Don’t throw away a perfectly good market umbrella because the cord is broken. Market umbrellas' versatility combined with their ease of operation makes them a useful shade system for many patios and yards. The most vulnerable part of the umbrella is the mechanical cord system used to open and close it. These cords become frayed and break. Do a little proactive maintenance to avoid broken cords, or do a complete overhaul to expand the life of an umbrella.

Repair a Cord

Replace the cord on your umbrella before it breaks.
blue color coffee shop umbrellas image by MAXFX from Fotolia.com

Inspect the center post of the market umbrella for signs of wear to the cord before it breaks. Look for visible discolorations in the cord which indicates mold or weather damage. Check for signs of frayed or loose threads on the cord from contact with the operating mechanisms.

Use replacement cord similar in size to the original.
rope image by Edsweb from Fotolia.com

Measure the distance from the top of the pole to the hole where the cord enters and exits the pole. Double this measurement and add four feet. Purchase this amount of replacement cord in a similar dimension and type to the original. Check the label on the replacement cord to make sure that it is weather resistant and braided.

Tie and tape the old cord to the new cord.
Hunters Bend image by Undy from Fotolia.com

Cut the existing cord and secure the new replacement cord to one end of the old cord using twist ties and electricians tape. Join the two cords together as flat as possible by laying two inches of one cord on top of the other, securing them together with twist ties, and wrapping the joint tightly with electrician's tape.

Thread the cord through the pulley.
pulleys image by Galyna Andrushko from Fotolia.com

Pull the joined pieces through the pulley system slowly. Fish the new line into the hole in the center post while pulling the old cord through. Allow the joint of the two pieces of cords to curve through the pulley and through the post and back out through the original hole. Tie the two new cord ends together securely.

Secure the cord to the cleat.
klampe image by Carina Hansen from Fotolia.com

Test the operation of the market umbrella to determine that the replacement cord is operating over the wheels of the pulley system.

Determine the final length of the replacement cord by operating the umbrella up and down before cutting the cord. Leave enough extra cord to securely wrap the cord onto the cleat.

Cut the excess replacement cord and tie a knot.

Replace a Missing Cord

Thread flexible wire through the pulley system.
speaker wire image by Paolo from Fotolia.com

Replace missing cords by threading a flexible 10-gauge wire completely through the pulley system.

Check to be sure the wire is over the wheel of the pulley.
polea de tenderero image by Parato from Fotolia.com

Pull on one side of the wire, then the other to determine that the wire has gone over the wheels of the pulley. The wire should move freely on the wheels of the pulley.

Tape the ends together with plastic electricial tape.
plastic tape image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com

Secure one side of the replacement cord to one end of the wire by twisting the wire around the cord. Tape the two ends together tightly using electrical tape. Pull the new cord through the system, slowly allowing the joined pieces to pass through the pulley system until both ends of the cord are visible.

Tie the ends and cut the excess cord.
knot image by Kaarel from Fotolia.com

Tie both ends of the new replacement cord together with a secure knot. Determine the final length of the replacement cord by operating the umbrella up and down before cutting the cord. Leave enough extra cord to securely wrap the cord onto the cleat. Cut the excess replacement cord and tie a knot.


Things You Will Need

  • Market umbrella
  • Replacement cord
  • Electricians tape
  • 10 gauge wire


  • Use a silicone spray on all moving parts of the market umbrella to minimize corrosion.

About the Author


Shirl Snyder began writing technology manuals in 1977. Her work appears on Web sites such as Green Jobs For Me, International Women's Festivals, The Artful Organizer and eHow. Along with certification as an interior designer, Snyder has a Bachelor of Science in anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles.