How to Fix Cord Operated Curtain Poles

Written by f.r.r. mallory
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How to Fix Cord Operated Curtain Poles
Traverse rod curtains must be maintained. (living room interior image by leafy from

Mounting and positioning a traverse rod system correctly is important for how well the system will operate and look. The rod must be securely attached to studs or heavy wall anchors since considerable tension is placed on the rod when the cords are operated. It's also important to understand how the tension pulley works to prevent problems with the rod.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Short ladder
  • Traverse rod
  • Level
  • Stud detector
  • Screwdriver
  • 2-inch long wood screws
  • Wall anchors (optional)

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  1. 1

    Pull a short ladder up to your window. You must see inside the rod to diagnose problems during installation or repair.

  2. 2

    Locate studs with a stud detector before installation. The rod should mount 4 inches above and 4 inches to each side of the window trim and it should be level. The traverse rod brackets should be screwed into studs if possible, with long wood screws. If you cannot locate a stud near the bracket mounting area, use heavy duty anchors appropriate for your wall type.

  3. 3

    Remove all drapery to check an existing rod. Lift the drapes and slide the drapery pin out of the holes in the slides, the master carriers (small rectangular boxes) and out of the brackets. Set the drapes aside. Look for bent arms attached to the master carriers. A common problem is caused when people are unaware of the drapery cord and they incorrectly pull on the edge of the drape, bending the arms.

  4. 4

    Fix bent master carrier arms by straightening the arms with your fingers or with pliers. The arm should be parallel with the master carrier and evenly spaced to the wall. There are one or two arms, depending on whether your drape joins in the middle (two-sided system). Also, if someone has been pulling on the drape, the inappropriate stress may have loosened the drape mounting. Tighten the mounts with larger anchors and bigger screws, if necessary.

  5. 5

    Locate the cord that operates the drapes. It should be along one side of the window. When installed properly, the cord will run down in a continuous loop to a tension pulley. The tension pulley should be mounted to the wall about 8 inches above the floor. If the pulley is missing or was never installed, install a new one.

  6. 6

    Tighten the cord if it's too loose to stay on the tension pulley. Move the master carrier closest to the window as far to the right as possible by pulling on the cord. You'll see that the cord is threaded through a hole and knotted on the right side of the master carrier. Pull on the knot until the cord tension is improved. Re-tie this knot as close to the master carrier as you can and try operating the system again by pulling on the cords.

  7. 7

    Watch the master carriers move from side to side as you pull on the cords. For two-sided systems, the carriers should overlap in the middle and open all the way to either side. Make sure they are not catching on anything. Once you're sure the cord is at the right tension, trim off the excess beyond your new knot. Rehang your drapes.

Tips and warnings

  • Teach children and visitors to your home to use the cords and not to touch the drapes.

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