Journal Insight #12: Curtain poles and curtain tracks – part 2


Last time we looked into the world of curtain poles and discovered that as beautiful as they are, they aren’t always suited to the job in hand. I promised you I had a solution, and today I am going to try to argue for it and delve into the world of tracks and tracked poles.

I think curtain tracks get a very bad name, and yes I admit they aren’t always the most attractive piece of kit to install in a home or office. Often, however, they aren’t really going to be seen much, or at all. In which case they should be your first port of call.

When I am talking about tracks, yes I mean those white metal or plastic tracks with gliders. Those things sometimes people buy at DIY stores and fit themselves. But I am not really meaning the awful plastic ones. The quality aluminium ones are the way to go for a few reasons

  1. Being metal they are stronger, with less deflection on fitting and they last longer (forever really).
  2. They are surprisingly low cost, can be cut to size or ordered to size, and can be bent to fit into bays or other complex windows setups.
  3. Designed for performance over aesthetics so they work brilliantly, with the curtains gliders seamlessly along the length, even around the bends. Used in recesses, they are hidden from view, so why pay for extra decoration. On white bay windows with white painted architrave they can often seem to disappear yet give you that perfect open and close – all at a great price.

From a design point of view there are also exceptions to the rule and Silent Gliss’ 6840 is a smart curved track that to my mind looks pretty cool in many contemporary locations or for panoramic bi-fold doors reveals.

Because the tracks have gliders and not rings, the brackets fit either at the back or on the top of the track – this means you can have as many brackets as you require – great if the wall isn’t the best and you need to spread the load more evenly, which I find is sometimes the case above Victorian era bay windows, where the wall tends to be poorer quality, especially upstairs.

They work, they are well priced and they cope with difficult installation environment, so what’s not to like? Yeah, ok, they can look ugly in the wrong place. In fact I’d go as far to say they will definitely look ugly in the wrong place.

The good news is that my favourite curtain pole option is here to help. Tracked poles – I sometimes refer to them as hybrid poles – combine the best of tracks with the look of poles. There are many metal pole variants out there from Silent Gliss’s popular Metropoles, to the Evaglide and Distinction ranges from other suppliers. I regularly opt for The Bradley Collection’s Gliderpoles as they use high quality Silent Gliss internal components, but with Bradleys beautiful finishes and bracket options. Byron & Byron are our go to for wooden versions.

A tracked pole works just like a track with gliders and pretty much unlimited brackets. They can be corded as well as offering Wave headings for your curtains. Designed to offer the option of being hung directly from ceilings they can resolve problems around light bleeding in from above or where there is limited headroom.

Unlike tracks, they come within beautiful poles including for bays. Admittedly more expensive than tracks alone they are still sensibly priced and mean you can show off the pole as part of your design, without compromising the solution.

Then downside? Well, to me there aren’t many. For those of you who love the clacking of rings as the curtains draw back and forth, you’re going to miss out. You don’t have the same level of customisation as with some of the best wooden poles, especially where finials are concerned, but there are plenty of options available for most design briefs. For that very contemporary look, flush end stops are a great detail to offer perfect minimalism.

Tracked poles have been around a long time, so I’m not expecting you to wowed by this news, but I do urge you to have another look if they’re something you’ve steered clear of in the past.

If you’ve found this helpful, please share.

Next time… Motorisation & Remote Control

Previous Post
Journal Insight #11: Curtain Poles – part 1
Next Post
Journal insight #13: Motorisation and Remote Control Curtains and Blinds

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