Curtains, not to be confused with their heavier counterpart “drapes”, are window treatments made from a variety of fabrics and sometimes incorporating a backing sewn onto the fabric to moderate light conditions in a room. The type of fabric used to make a pair of curtains also correlates to the durability of the curtain, how easy it is to clean, how much noise reduction it provides and its ability to resist fading when consistently exposed to sunlight.
Window Treatments, Insulation and Light Control
Sheers are curtains that allow abundant light to enter a room while providing minimum to moderate privacy, depending on the color of the sheers. Usually made of cotton lace or a polyester-type voile, sheers are more decorative than functional because of their pastel coloring and soft, delicate appearance. Sheers offer no insulation properties and are not practical to use in colder weather on windows that are large and drafty.
Alternately, drapes tend to be functional in regards to providing insulation and blocking the majority of sunlight that streams into a room. Drapes are made from heavy, weighted materials such as damask, velvet, brocade and silk that is reinforced by a firm fabric backing. Among the many drapery styles that lend elegance and drama to larger windows are standard pleat, tab top, grommet, European pleat and rod pocket.
These tightly woven fabrics are a polyester/cotton blend that provides an opaqueness suitable for moderate privacy needs as well as insulation against heat or cooling loss. Most curtains are made from uncoated fabrics that are easy to clean and maintain because of their natural state.
The advantage of using coated fabric for curtains have rubber backing attached to one side of the fabric that improves its ability to absorb light. This liquefied rubber polymer backing is applied to curtain fabric by fuse drying it using a hot roller. Coated fabrics that have been put through this fuse-drying process one time are referred to as “one pass coated fabric”, which are commercially referred to as “blackout” curtains. Some coated fabric window treatments may experience more than one fuse drying process to further maximize the light-blocking ability of the curtains.
In addition to traditional curtain styles that simply hang from curtain rods and are moved by cords to reveal more or less of the window, roll-down curtains involve fabric that is wrapped around a curtain rod and either pulled down manually or lowered using a pulley system. The end of the curtain is attached to the rod by a hook stopper that prevents the curtain from rolling completely off curtain rod.
Roll down curtains are great for people who like the patterns and colors that fabrics offer but who are not fond of the stark, spare design of window blinds. Additionally, roll down curtains can be removed by simply lifting the “rod” up off the hooks holding it above the window.
With hundreds of different fabrics and styles from which to choose, curtain-based window treatments can give your home the dazzle and impeccable design appearance seen in homes tended to by professional interior decorators.