A helpful guide to hanging curtain rods or tracks

August 25, 2015

Along with giving you shade and privacy, curtains can change the style and feel of the room they're in. Here's a helpful guide on how to install curtain rods or tracks for them.

A helpful guide to hanging curtain rods or tracks

What you will need to hang a curtain rod or track

  • Long wood or metal ruler
  • Hacksaw
  • Pencil
  • Spirit level
  • Drill with wood or masonry bit
  • Wall plugs
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Track or rod

Before you begin

  • When you're choosing a curtain rod or track, consider the size and shape of your window and the weight of the curtain you'll be hanging.

1. Measure and cut

  • Measure the width of the window you're installing the track or rod over then add your desired overlap for each side.
  • 15 to 45 centimetres (6 to 18 inches) on either side is a common range for overlaps.
  • If possible, buy a rod or track that matches the size you need.
  • Otherwise, buy something slightly larger and cut it down to size with a hacksaw.

2. Determine the height

  • Hold the first end bracket (or its fixing plate) at the desired height above the window.
  • For rods, it's standard to mount brackets 8 centimetres (3 inches) above the top edge of the window.
  • For tracks, the standard distance is 2.5 centimetres (1 inch) above the window.
  • Use a pencil to mark the positions of your screw holes.

3. Position the brackets

  • Now do the same for a bracket at the opposite end of the window, using your spirit level to check that it's level with your first bracket.
  • For a rod that's longer than 1.5 metres (5 feet), mark the position of an extra central bracket.
  • For a track, mark further bracket positions at 15 centimetre (6 inch) intervals along the wall.

4. Fix them in place

  • Using a power drill fitted with a wood or masonry bit (depending on what you're drilling into), drill a hole at each of the screw hole marks you've made.
  • Insert a wall plug into each hole, then screw on all of your bracket-fixing plates and brackets.

5. Hang it up

  • Fix a finial or end stop to one end of your rod or track.
  • Feed on the rings or runners (there will be one for each curtain hook) then attach the other finial or end stop.
  • Then, fit your rod or track onto the brackets, centring it over the window.
  • If necessary, secure your rod or track to the brackets using the fixings provided.

Five helpful tips

  1. When you're fixing brackets to an old wall, place some adhesive tape over the surface you're about to drill through to stop the plaster from crumbling.
  2. Make sure your curtain tracks can carry the load of your curtain. First weigh yourself, then get back on the scales with the curtains in your arms. The difference between the two weights is the weight of the curtains. Refer to the load rating printed on the packaging to select the most appropriate track.
  3. If you're working alone, use masking tape to hold the brackets in place. That way, both of your hands will be free for marking, drilling and screwing.
  4. For a firm hold when you're screwing curtain track brackets to masonry, you'll need to pre-drill holes and insert wall plugs first. But, if you're attaching these brackets to a wooden frame, screws alone will do.
  5. Some window frames that appear to be made of metal or PVC are really hybrid frames, with a wooden core. If it's a hybrid frame, standard screws are all you need for a firm hold. To test what kind of frame is around the window you're working on, drill a small hole in an inconspicuous spot: if you see sawdust, it's a hybrid frame. If it's a metal or PVC frame, use self-tapping screws.

Follow these helpful tips and this helpful guide and hanging curtain rods and tracks will be a breeze.

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