Tension curtain rods serve the same purpose as traditional curtain rods. They can be placed in a window frame, doorway or across any section of a room to hang curtains to block light or create a privacy barrier. The advantage of tension rods over traditional rods is the prevention of wall damage. If you have a wide space in which you would like to hang a curtain, you may need an extra long tension rod.
Why Tension Rods
Tension rods can be used in locations in your home where you don't want to put holes in the wall or where you cannot install standard curtain rods due to the wall material. Use a tension rod on concrete or brick walls or windows, for instance, to prevent the need for a mortar anchor, which can permanently damage the wall surface.
Tension rods top out at a length of 120 inches, or 10 feet. While these rods are designed to hold curtains even at their maximum extended length, they may bend and fall with heavy curtain fabrics, such as corduroy or canvas. If the ceiling is made of a material in which you can install standard hardware, like plaster or drywall, you can brace the rod along the ceiling to offer additional support.
When hanging a smaller tension curtain rod in a regular window, you can generally use any fabric that you wish. If you have an extra long rod, however, consult the manufacturer's instructions for weight limitations. Select fabrics that can be supported by the rod at its maximum length to prevent damage to the rod.
Installing a Tension Rod
Most tension curtain rods have the same basic installation method. The rod can be extended to its maximum length by twisting the two pieces of the curtain rod in opposite directions, generally counterclockwise to each other. To place a tension rod in a window, doorway or between two opposite walls, hold the rod up between the sides of the window, door or walls, and twist the rod until it reaches the necessary length. When the rod is at the proper length, slide the corklike pieces on the smaller side of the tension rod down to the larger rod, and press it into place in the larger rod to hold the tension rod at that length.