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How to measure and fit a curtain pole:

Fitting a wood or metal curtain pole is a very easy and straightforward job, which simply needs a bit of thought and planning to carry out correctly.

If the pole you’ve bought is the exact length needed for your window, you can skip Step 1 below; however it’s worth reading anyway to make sure you've 'thought through' all the various stages:

STEP 1: Curtain poles come in various lengths, but as they’re usually supplied in increments of half a metre they may need to be cut to size.

Before you start try to visualise exactly where the curtains will hang – will they conceal a light switch or overhang electrical sockets for instance?

Another very important consideration is this – once the curtain pole and curtains have been fitted will the curtains sweep back far enough to clear your windows or patio doors?

With those questions out of the way, it is VITAL that – if you need to cut a curtain pole which is in two parts and screw together – you cut an equal amount from BOTH ends, or you’ll end up with the middle joint exposed and ‘way off-centre.

When cut correctly, this middle joint will be concealed by the supporting bracket, and so it doesn’t matter if the two halves don’t line up exactly when screwed together.

TIP: Before cutting a wooden pole, wrap the area with a couple of turns of masking tape to avoid ‘splintering’ the decorative surface as you saw through it.

As with other DIY jobs, the rule to remember is “Measure twice, cut once”!!

Before you start to fit the pole, measure and mark the exact centre of the window or patio door frame (on the wall above it), and also make a pencil mark at the required distance down from the ceiling.

The usual position is exactly halfway between the ceiling and the top of the window frame (unless you already have curtains made up, in which case see the measuring notes at the end of this article) and if your pole has three brackets, this is where to fix the centre one.

Note: While there are many different types of support brackets the most common is like a large metal ‘washer’ with three holes for fixing and a centre screw which the decorative bracket is threaded onto.

As you’ll probably be making the fixings into plasterboard, be sure to use good-quality raw plugs, or better still, at least one ‘metal-type’ plug for a really secure fixing.

Next, having marked the centre of the pole, measure the distance out to each end and subtract 10cm (See diagram below). The reason for this is to leave a 10cm gap between the end brackets and the finials (end caps). This gap will accommodate a single curtain ring, and prevents the whole curtain sliding when drawing the curtains.

End bracket   Centre Bracket      End bracket
____I____________I_______________I____ 10cm 10cm

You can now mark the position for each end bracket, remembering to also measure the same distance down from the ceiling as the centre bracket.

The next step is to sit the pole into place on the support brackets, and secure it using the screws located on the underside of the brackets. BEFORE you do this be sure to slide on the curtain rings!


The final stage is to add one curtain ring outside each end bracket and then screw on the finials to complete the job.

TIP: If you’ve had to cut the pole the pre-drilled holes for the finials will have been sawn off. Before you try to screw them in you’ll find it a lot easier if you take a couple of minutes to mark the centre of the pole with a bradawl and drill a new pilot hole – this will ensure that the finial sits squarely and avoids the screw wandering “off-line” as you tighten it.

Measuring Notes: To measure for curtains, take the drop from the bottom of the “eye” of each curtain ring to the floor. Also though – as floors and ceilings are rarely exactly parallel – take 3 measurements from the centre and ends of the pole, and use the ‘average’ of these.

*** For tab-top curtains, the measurements should be taken from the top edge of the pole.
 

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