Whether you are cordoning off sections of a tattoo parlor, healthcare facility, photography studio, laboratory, classroom or a home, curtain tracking has become an easily accessible tool. Selection and installation of curtains and curtain tracking is not rocket science, but here are some pointers to smooth the process.
The first step is choosing a curtain. You need to ask yourself what you want your curtain to do. If it is needed to block light, then a blackout fabric should be chosen. If it must meet state and federal commercial fire codes, then mesh top curtains are necessary to allow sprinkler systems to adequately protect their environment. Quality cubicle and hospital curtains are made with inherently fire retardant materials that are durable, safe, and last throughout the lifetime of the cubicle curtain. There are many colors and styles of fabrics to choose from; including solid colors, striped, textured, patterned and more.
Once a style is determined, calculate the height and length of the curtain necessary to cover the intended space. The length should generally be 15% wider than the length to be covered. For a more ruffled look, add 30% to the length. For example, you require 220″ of length to cover your space. You would then multiply 220″ x .15 and come up with 33″; add the 33″ to the original 220″ and you will need to order a length of 253″.
To establish the height of the curtain there are three measurements needed to be determined. Begin by measuring the height from the floor to the ceiling. For this example let’s start with a 10-foot ceiling which is 120 inches in height. Next measure the height of the carrier and curtain tracking; this is usually 3″-4″ combined.
The third measurement to determine is the open space wanted below the bottom of the curtain; 12″-18″ is typical. Take the ceiling height of 120″ and subtract 12″ for bottom clearance and 4″ for tracking and carriers and this leaves a final curtain height of 104″. Typical curtain sizes range from 72″ to 234″ wide and 84″ to 108″ long. Cubicle curtains can be made to order and customized in most cases. Healthcare facilities often have building and fire codes that must be met; check with an administrator before proceeding.
Quality curtain tracking is made of 16 gauge extruded aluminum and is typically sold in eight-foot lengths. If shorter lengths are required, tracking may be easily cut down with a hacksaw. Curves pre-bent to 45 deg. and 90 deg. are available for applications requiring the curtain to bend around a room; curves are 2 feet by 2 feet and bent at a 12-inch radius.
Curtain tracking can be attached to solid or false/drop down ceilings using screws or clips. Attaching the tracking to a solid ceiling requires the use of screws; screw directly into ceiling studs whenever possible. Holes will need to be drilled into the tracking at each attaching point. It is not always possible to screw into a stud.
When this occurs, the use of an anchor is necessary. An anchor is pressed into a pre-drilled hole. As a screw is inserted into the anchor; the anchor expands and grabs firmly to the ceiling. Drop down/false ceilings require clips which are attached to the ceiling grid. There is a hole tapped into each clip that accepts a screw from the curtain tracking. These clips should be placed every 30″.
Suspension tubing may be used with high ceilings or if existing obstructions prevent the curtain tracking from being mounted directly to the ceiling. Suspension tubing is available in 8-foot lengths and made with 7/8″ O.D. hollow aluminum tubing. Suspension tubing can be attached directly to solid ceilings with a ceiling flange or via ceiling clips to a drop down/false ceiling. A screw insert is then placed in the bottom of the suspension tubing allowing the curtain tracking to be attached. Suspension tubing should be placed every six feet and the tracking ends can be attached to a wall with a nylon wall bracket.
Anodized aluminum splicing clamps join multiple pieces of tracking to ensure proper alignment of the channels. This will allow the carriers/rollers to move freely from one piece of tracking to the next. Clean and smooth the ends of each piece of track before assembly; burrs may cause the carriers/rollers to hang up.
An end-stop should be placed at both ends of the curtain tracking setup. Curtain tracking end-stops are used to prevent curtain carriers from slipping out. One end should contain a snap outfitting to allow for easy installation and replacement of curtain carriers. Snap out fittings sit inside an end-stop and are easily removed. Removal is necessary to install or replace your curtain carriers without removing the curtain tracking from the ceiling.
Various specialty brackets allow for multiple ceiling track configurations. T-brackets connect a perpendicular section of tracking part way along an existing section of tracking. Cross brackets subdivide a room into 4 or more separate sections depending on the size of your room and the size of your tracking layout.
Once the tracking layout is finalized, then determine the number of carriers or rollers needed. Carriers are just that, they carry the curtain along with the tracking. The standard style consists of a nylon block and wheels with a swiveling chain and hooks attached. If you are looking to find cheap curtains of 2019 then visit here.
A breakaway version is available which acts contrary to its name; the carrier does not break, it flexes. This allows the curtain to detach from the carrier rather than damage the curtain or carrier. Curtain carriers should be spaced every 6″ on the curtain. If your curtain is 242″ in length, you will want to have 41 carriers.
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