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How to Adjust Tension Rods

by Glyn Sheridan

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Chocolate curtains hung with a tension rod

Things You Need:

  • Step ladder
  • Tension rod

Curtains are a great way to accent the decor in every room in the house. Tension rods, also called spring rods, are curtain hardware which allow you to hang window curtains, wall curtains or shower curtains without installing curtain rod hardware on the walls. If an existing tension rod slips or if you want to change the curtain panels or add curtain rings, you may need to remove and adjust the rod before putting it back in place. Tension rods are positioned between two facing surfaces, such as the interior frame of a window or the opposing sides of a shower cubicle.

Adjusting a Tension Rod:

  1. Remove or shift the existing curtain. If curtain rings are holding the curtain to the tension rod, remove the curtain rings. Most curtain rings snap apart to release the curtain. However, if the tension rod slips through a hem in the curtain, you may push the curtain as far to one side as possible before removing the rod.

  2. Loosen the tension rod. Grasp the tension rod near one end cap and pull downward. If the rod is loose, it may slide right off the wall, releasing the other end at the same time. If the rod is tight, you may have to compress both ends of the rod toward the center while pulling downward. If the rod is very tight, ask someone to help pull it inward while you pull downward.

  3. Adjust the tension and length of the rod. Locate the point where the two sections of the tension rod fit together. Tension rods have two interlocking shafts with a strong spring inside. Place one hand on either side of the spot where the rods connect and twist counterclockwise to lengthen the tension rod or clockwise to shorten it.

  4. Test the tension rod. Check the tension by putting the rod back into place and repeat the process if necessary. Keep in mind that a tension rod loses pressure the more you lengthen it. This is because the spring inside is not as tightly compressed. If you find that your rod is unable to maintain tension when lengthened, you'll need a longer tension rod.

  5. Replace the curtain. Place the curtain and curtain rings back onto the rod and arrange the curtain as necessary. If the rod cannot support the weight of the curtain at its current length, you may need a longer tension rod for this location.

Tension Rod Tip:

  1. Some tension rods may require additional support bracing. Typically, these rods hold more weight, much like closet hangar rods. To remove them, push the tension rod upward and out of its support brace before adjusting.

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