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Fitting Curtain Rails

By: Alan Cole - Updated: 23 Feb 2020 | comments*Discuss
Fixing Curtain Rails. Fixing Curtain

Curtains are essential for creating privacy conserving heat and blocking out noise. They are also great decorative features. Read our essential DIY guide below to make a good job of fixing curtain rails around your home.

Types of Curtain Rails

There are various types of rails or tracks to choose from, from flat brass rails, traditional I shaped rails, flat profile rails, nylon, aluminium and plastic rails plus various types of curtain poles, including wooden and metal poles.

Whichever rail you choose you need to find out if it is long enough and strong enough for your curtains. Also consider the type of window you are fitting your rails to. A bay window will require rails that can be bent around the shape of the bay.

The most popular types are the plastic, aluminium and nylon rails which are strong, light and very flexible. These varieties are good because they can be cut easily, are very flexible and can be bent around corners making them ideal for bay windows.Wooden poles are also very popular. They are very easy to fit with just a bracket at either end and easy to cut. The extra good news is that both the plastic/aluminium rails and the poles are inexpensive to buy.

Fixing Curtain Rails to Walls

  • Once you have decided on your curtain rail you need to make sure you have enough brackets, screws and plugs. In many cases these will come with your rails.

  • Curtain rails can be fitted to the window itself but there may not be enough space to adequately cover the window so in many cases they need to go on the wall above the window.

  • Drill the wall and insert plugs straight into the wall at regular intervals.

  • If there is a concrete lintel and the wall is too hard to drill you need to attach a batten above the window. You may find you prefer to do this anyway. Fix the batten either side of the window with screws and glue the central part. Paint if required.

  • Fit the brackets for your rail by drilling holes at regular intervals along the batten.

  • Use a spirit level to ensure everything is perfectly straight.

Fixing Curtain Rails to Ceilings

  • If the top of the window is too close to the ceiling it may be easier to fix the brackets to the ceiling.

  • You may also need to do this if you have a bay window.

  • You may also find a net curtain fixes easily onto the window frame but the main curtain needs to be attached to the ceiling.

  • It’s a good idea to find the positions of the joists above to fix the brackets or batten to the ceiling. On lower floors you can lift the floorboards in the room above and take a peak. For the top floor you will have to look in the loft.

Top Tips

Ensure your choice of curtains rails or poles are long enough. They can easily be cut to size if they are too long. But if they are too small it is not advisable to join pieces together.

If you use a batten to support curtain rail brackets ensure you fix it to the wall securely using screws, plugs or a very strong adhesive.

For ceiling mounted rails use screws that are long enough to penetrate the plaster and go into the joists. Always use a spirit level to check that curtain rails and fixings are horizontal. You can easily fit cords for drawing your curtains if you wish. Using large curtain hooks is a good tip if you want to make sure the curtain conceals the rail.

Remember to consider what your curtains look like from the outside as well as the inside of your property. You may wish to be consistent in your choice of colours and materials, at least for each side of your home.

A good style tip is to think of matching the colour of your curtains with an element of your room but not the overriding colour of your room. E.g. if you have white walls and a blue carpet a blue curtain would work well.

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[Add a Comment]
Our wall is terrible it crumbles and won't hold a screw we've tried gortila flue nothing works . Any ideas most people have attached with aeodrn plank or plastic strip what can we do thanks is fed up with curtain's
Scats - 23-Feb-20 @ 6:36 AM
@VMF88- have you thought about something more solid such as a double sided bookcase? A curtain isn't going to give that much privacy. If you're still considering a curtain, a rail would be better.
PeteJ - 30-Nov-17 @ 12:31 PM
Hi, I need some advise as I need to fit a curtain rail to the ceiling of my children's bedroom to divide the room into two separate spaces. I need to use one curtain to go from the right of the room to the left as the door to the bedroom is central of were the curtain will come on the left side. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated as i dont no whether a rail or track would be best or what type. Thanks in advance x
VMF88 - 28-Nov-17 @ 8:59 PM
I need to fix a curtain pole to a wooden batten.The screws suggested for the pole are 3cm long but the batten is only half that depth, so just under half of the screw (allowing for the thickness of the fixing bracket) would have to go into solid wall.Should I use a rawlplug to engage with the masonry or shorter screws that can be screwed solely into the wood using just a pilot hole?The pole will be 200cm wide with 3 brackets, each with 2 screws.
numpty - 14-Aug-17 @ 4:20 PM
Champs - Your Question:
Hi I have a problem above all my windows in our bungalow with putting fittings above to support curtain rails. The area above the window which you need to drill into seems to be made of iron/concrete. I have tried using different drill bits to go through but the fittings still seem to come down have you any suggestions please?

Our Response:
If your lintels are concrete then you would have to begin with a small masonry bit and work up to a larger one. For steel, you may have to buy more specialist drill bits which invariably will cost. Another option as specified in the article is to glue or drill a section of timber or batten above or below the lintel and fix to that. You would have to find a specialised extra-strong construction adhesive that would allow it to support a curtain rail.
DIYBasics - 25-Feb-16 @ 12:44 PM
Hi I have a problem above all my windows in our bungalow with putting fittings above to support curtain rails. The area above the window which you need to drill into seems to be made of iron/concrete. I have tried using different drill bits to go through but the fittings still seem to come down have you any suggestions please?
Champs - 24-Feb-16 @ 9:38 AM
Advice please on fixing curtain rail to ceiling! There's one joist running from left to right exactly above where we wanted to put the curtain rail. Is it ok to put all the brackets into this one joist? [Curtain rail is going to be 375cm (corner to corner of room) and the curtain drop will be 235cm. Curtain rail is ok for weights up to 14kg according to manufacturer.]
SirLancelot - 5-May-15 @ 10:02 AM
@Ruby - as suggested in the article can you fix the eye screw into the window frames? If you have double-glazing you might be able to use adhesive-backed hooks. I hope this helps.
DIYBasics - 24-Mar-15 @ 2:22 PM
I need to put up net curtains around my flat but most of the windowsills are on concrete walls. What's the best way to put them up using the net curtain wire with the hook and loop? Thank you
Ruby - 21-Mar-15 @ 3:35 PM
@Crafty b - there should be a joint placed in the middle of the pole that should help you pull it apart.
Fran - 18-Mar-15 @ 1:44 PM
Have had wooden curtain poles fitted for the first time and threaded curtains through pole. I now want to change this and put rings on but not sure how to take pole apart to get curtain off. Could you please help ? Many thanks Brenda
Crafty b - 16-Mar-15 @ 8:36 AM
Always good practice to use a batten as less holes in wall, neater and better stronger fixing. Lazy not to. If you fix straight into wall you run risk of creating massive holes in time when fixtures loosen with the constant tugging on curtains etc. Never EVER use glue either. Lazy and more problems in the future...... :O
hells - 7-Nov-14 @ 2:37 PM
@Wendy - it sounds like it might be faulty. Can you return it to the shop?
DIYBasics - 27-Oct-14 @ 12:28 PM
Instructions are fine when things go OK. I have put up two rails successfully but now find I can get the third rail to lock onto the brackets. It just keeps flicking off
Wendy - 25-Oct-14 @ 5:06 PM
Thanks for the instructions.What height should the lathe or batten be and if it measures more than the track, where on the batten should the track be positioned?This has implications for the curtain headings and positioning of ruffle tape.
Puzzled - 29-Jul-14 @ 1:32 PM
I bought some extendable curtain poles with cracked glass finials. However these fit into pole with a plastic stopper which has a small screw and bolt at the end that goes into pole...however they do not fit snuggly so the finial wont stay in..please can someone let me know what is behind the idea of the screw and bolt..as they must be there for a reason..no indication in the instructions...the finials come with spare plastic stopper thingies ..but they are even thinner in diameter so no use either...
Midge - 16-Sep-12 @ 9:37 AM
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