Curtain tracks are rails with gliders or runners on them. You attach your curtains to the gliders and open or close them by drawing the curtains aside directly or via optional cords connected to a simple pulley mechanism. Tracks can be made of flexible or rigid material but in both cases, you fix them firmly in place with screws. Specialised tracks have additional arms to give more options.
Curtain tracks give a curtain a definite glide, which helps it stay "on track". Some other forms of curtain support give an element of glide too, but tracks give the most, and it is a definite feature that many people like. Curtains rarely need yanking to make them comply. They travel smoothly as they are transported on an integrated system designed for the purpose, whether corded or not. You can buy pre-made tracks or have them specially made, such as the "I" beam solid brass track.
Track for light curtains
The two most popular options for light curtains, according to one of the UK's major retailers, are PVC and aluminium. Light curtains are often made of cotton or nylon. Track choice is partly down to personal taste and partly down to practical considerations. PVC bends well but can only carry light to medium-heavy curtains. Also for this weight of curtain, more expensive aluminium can be bent to fit into bay window areas, for example, and usually offers an even smoother glide.
Track for heavy curtains
If your curtains are heavy, you might want to choose steel track. Although you can't bend it, it will offer strong support for curtains made of thick fabric, like velvet and chenille. The strength of steel rail is a definite benefit over other curtain support systems. Further, you can saw it to your required length fairly easily with a hacksaw. Another option for weightier window coverings is heavy duty aluminium. You can often order this to the precise length and pre-bent shape you require.
Another big advantage of curtain tracks is the option to have them corded. Here, strong cord or thread is pre-fixed into the track glider mechanism, often a ball-bearing pulley system, leaving two dangling ends terminating in slightly heavy weights that keep the cord taut. When you pull the "closing" cord, the mechanism sends the gliders along the track until the curtains close. The "opening" cord gathers the gliders in sequence so as to open the curtains for you.
Curtain tracks in the form of dormer rods, drapery arms and swing arms, typically available in white and silver finishes, are highly suitable for installation in dormer windows -- a dormer window being one that projects outwards from a roof -- along with other areas of your home where you have restricted space. In order to maximise the light entering the window, these sorts of tracks have pivoting rods so you can swing your curtain out of the way.
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