November 28

ZIPPERS: To Replace or Not to Replace? – That Is the Question.

Sorry, couldn’t resist that play on words.

Regardless my poor humour, zippers are a wonderful invention and do a great job, when they are not damaged. The most common zippers on jackets are plastic teeth zippers, but there’s also plastic coil and metal teeth.

Now here’s a tidbit that few people know. A non-working zipper does NOT always have to be replaced.

That’s right!  Of all the jacket zippers I see in my shop for replacement, I only actually replace about 20%. The other 80% simply need the slider replaced. Replacing the slider will see that zipper back in operation in less than 5 minutes.

Since zippers are costly to replace, just replacing the slider is a VERY attractive alternative to most people. Consider 7.5 – $12.5 for replacing a slider versus $25-$75 to replace a zipper.

Self Test to Judge if it’s a Damaged Slider or Zipper:

Damaged Slider:

* If the teeth are intact, and the bottom of the zipper tape is not torn, but the zipper pops open in the middle after being zipped up.

* Zipper is difficult to zip up.

Solution: Replace Slider


Damaged Zipper:

* Physical damage to teeth or missing teeth.

* Damage to the tape at the bottom of the zipper making the slider very hard to get past the bottom.

Solution: Replace Zipper

About Zippers

Plastic teeth zippers are the easiest to replace sliders on, as I always keep a stock of common slider colors. When the colors I have don’t match the zipper, they will usually match features on the jacket. So when I assess a zipper, if it just needs a new slider, I will usually do the replacement while you wait.

For winter jackets, I do not reccomend using metal zippers as metal contracts and expands more in the varying temperatures and ends up jamming, resulting in a damaged slider and/or zipper. Plastic coil zippers look like wound up plastic thread and they are easily damaged.

If a metal or plastic coil zipper does need replaced, I will try to convince my clients to accept the plastic teeth zipper as it is the most resilient in all weather conditions, and comparable in zipper cost. Sewing labour for installation is still the same regardless of zipper type.

Replacing a Zipper Slider

If you bring in a zipper that needs the slider replaced,  I can have it done in minutes while you wait,  or follow the instructions below for hacket/sweater zippers.

Replacing a Zipper Slider by Yourself

These are the supplies you will need to replace a zipper slider in a standard separating zipper:

1. Small pliers with teeth
2. Small pliers without teeth
3. New zipper slider and top-stop (purchased as a set from a sewing supply store or online) OR a Fixnzip slider from : I was pretty impressed with this slider as shown in their video, but have not personally tried it. They claim it will actually fit several sizes.

For a pant zipper, only the slider is needed. I will work on a video for that in a later post.

So here’s the video on zipper slider replacement.

Thanks for those who have let me know their success in replacing their own sliders! It’s great to know this post is a help.

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Posted November 28, 2014 by Angela Trenholm in category "Clothing Care & Repair", "Zippers

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