How to hang curtains can be a minefield, so it is often best to think about the type of track or pole you may need for your window.
Deciding on the type of track you want may also decide the style of curtain you choose. The track will also need to be strong enough for the type of material used.
A heavy material would not be suitable for a spring coil rod likewise a thin voile would look out of place on a chunky wooden pole.
The window you are hanging the curtains up to may not give a choice of the way the curtains are hung.
If there is not much space between the top of the window and the start of the ceiling a pole may not fit, even if it is a thin one as the decorative end still may not have enough room.
Also the width may be impede a pole if the window is near another wall or door.
Where there is little space then a track would be used and this would be fixed to the wall about 3-5ins (7.5 - 12.5 cms) above the window.
Again here the choice is a personal one and the track can be fixed higher to allow for a deep pelmet or valance for instance.
The width or length of the track is also fixed beyond the window edge this allows the open curtain space to sit without blocking out the daylight.
The overlap is usually between 4-8 inches (10-20cms) this will depend on the width of the curtains and how thick the material is.
These are made from either metal or plastic and allow a set of runners to run behind in a groove.
These runners have little holes at the bottom that the hook fits into. There are also tracks that the hooks clip over the top and bottom edge enabling free movement for them along the track. Pencil pleat curtains can be used with this type hanging rail.
The tracks are flexible to a certain extent and are fixed onto small wall mountings that can't really be seen when the track is fixed onto it. These mountings need to be spaced along the length of the track to support the weight of the curtain. Sometimes the gliders need to be added before the track is fixed into place.
Some tracks are corded, these are usually the ones that have the runners behind. The tracks have opening and closing cords at one end, this stops the fabric from getting dirty or being handled too much if delicate. The front of the track can also have a stencilling pattern that give a decorative look when the curtains are open.
There are also specialised ones for use in a bay windows that need to be bent into the shape of the bay.
Certain types of track designs have two tracks are used at the same time. When clipped onto each other both have independent runners one for the curtain and one for the valance or swag.
These curtain pole come in a large variety ranging in different colours, widths and designs in either metal or wood. The thickness of the pole will also give different strengths.
The size of pole used would be determined by the weight of the curtain fabric, a heavyweight fabric would soon bend a thin pole and a sheer fabric would look odd on a chunky pole.
Poles have curtain rings that fit over the pole and these rings have little eyelets at the bottom to put the curtain hooks through if using pencil pleat curtains.
There is also tension wire that is used to hang net curtains, lightweight curtains or sheer voiles. These are sometimes tension rods that can be adjusted to the width of a small window or door.
Cafe curtains would used rods one for the frill at the top of a window and one half way down the window. These were used in cafes to allow people to look in and out of the window but also to keep the customers privacy when sitting near a window.
Door curtains would used rods or thin poles especially made for that purpose. These are fixed directly onto the door and as the door is opened the rod mechanism lifts up so in turn making the curtain raise up to allow for the door to be opened freely.
These rods would be used if the curtain was to be in place at all times.
Outlet such as The Range has a large choice of different tracks and poles to suit your needs.