No one likes an umbrella that stops working or gets stuck open or close right when you need it the most. That’s why it is a good practice to check on your umbrellas right before the rainy season or your travel. Apart from that, you should also know how to fix an umbrella that won’t stay open so that you won’t have to throw it away and buy a new one.
Fixing your own umbrella will definitely save you time and money. Fortunately, some solutions are easy and straightforward, as long as you have basic do-it-yourself skills.
What Are the Common Problems with Umbrellas?
Not all umbrella issues can be fixed without professional help. That said, here are some issues that you can resolve on your own:
- Broken rivets: Most umbrellas use a part that can be moved upward, along the shaft, to the top that opens the umbrella. This base is called the “runner”. When the runner reaches the top, the stretchers deploy upwards to hold the umbrella canopy open. Stretchers are joined to the ribs with rivets and it is these rivets that can fail. If the frame breaks in this way, the umbrella will not remain open, but as will be explained in the process later, a thin but strong wire can fix this problem since you can use the wire as rivets to keep the two pieces together.
- Ripped canopy: In this case, you can simply use a repair patch or sew up the hole. With a patch, simply apply the same or a similar color fabric on inside of the canopy.
- Snapped stem: In rare instances, the umbrella stem or shaft can break. This can sometimes be fixed using a water-proof super glue that can reattach both pieces. This works better if the shaft is wider and has a larger surface for the glue to stick to.
- Collapsing umbrellas: Umbrellas falling back when open is also one of the common issues people face with automatic umbrellas. When the button is pressed to open the umbrella, the canopy does not hold and falls back as soon as you remove your hand. Inside the shaft of the umbrella is a cord (often a white cord) that allows the automatic mechanism to function. This should always be hidden from view. If the cord is visible, it can often be fixed by opening and closing the umbrella, however keeping the open/close button pressed ALL THE TIME. Do not release the button at all. This movement allows the white cord to disappear again inside the shaft and gives a long-term fix.
Some of the common problems that you cannot repair on your own include:
- Broken spring: Some umbrellas (usually those that are not automatic) also feature bottom and top springs that keep the runner in place when you open or close the brolly. You need to push the runner up the shaft and above the top spring to “click” it open and to allow the runner to be held up. If the top spring becomes broken this is not fixable without professional help.
How to Fix an Umbrella that Won’t Stay Open
Let us now look into the details on how to fix umbrellas that won’t open.
1. Find the Cause
Before fixing an umbrella, you need to fully understand what needs to be fixed. Hopefully the points covered earlier will assist with this. Once the root cause is established, the correct fix can be applied. For example, why is the umbrella not opening correctly, and why it is not holding up, falling back? etc.
One of the main reasons behind an umbrella break is that the small rivets connecting a stretcher to a rib breaks. The solution to this problem is quite straight forward with some common household items. Then you can fix this issue yourself.
2. Gather the Tools You Need
The below items can hopefully be found in your home, and if not a quick trip to the hardware store is needed. Here is the list of the things you need:
- A thin but strong metal wire
- A sailing knot
- A pair of scissors
To begin with, you should have at least a six-inch long wire, and we recommend the type that does not rust in wet conditions. If the wire rusts after some time, it can damage the umbrella further.
Also, make sure the wire is strong enough but not too thick that would make it difficult for you to wrap around the parts. All-in-all, you need to choose a mid-thickness wire so it doesn’t break but remains easy to wrap around. It must be strong enough to hold the stretcher together when exposed to strong wind or rain.
3. Fix the Broken Rivet
- With your scissors, carefully cut the wire to an appropriate length; enough to wrap around at least 3 times. Then find the broken stretcher that has problematic rivets. Join the two pieces of the stretcher and rib together and match the rivet holes. (Tip: Don’t open the umbrella completely, but keep it slightly closed, as this allows you to work with slightly bent stretchers or spokes, making it easier for you to line up the rivets well.)
- Pass the wire through the holes and wrap it around. Keep passing it and wrapping it until you have multiple wraps around the rivet holes and you feel the grip is tight enough to keep the stretcher together.
- Wrap until the join is strong, however leave a little room for the join to move so the umbrella can be opened and closed. Twist the ends and then tuck them away so there are no sharp points left.
You can now try to open and close the umbrella, and it should stay open now as the broken stretcher is fixed.
By looking at the process on how to fix an umbrella that won’t stay open, we very much hope we have provided a simple fix that is quick to do and prolongs the life of your umbrella. A large number of umbrellas can be fixed, but you have to find the root problem so that you know if you are wasting your time or not.
All-in-all, a broken umbrella doesn’t always mean that you need to spend money on buying a new one. Sometimes, depending on the problem and the cause, you can fix it on your own and thus save money.
If all else fails, see below for our Top Pick compact and stick umbrellas that will get you out of trouble: