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Drapes Q&A

General Questions About Drapes

What is the difference between a lined drape and an unlined drape?

The addition of a cloth lining to the back of a drape fabric creates three distinct advantages over an unlined drape. For example: 1) A lined drape has superior insulation value against winter cold and summer heat. It can thereby help reduce your utility costs which is a good thing wherever you live. 2) Lined drapes also dampen or reduce sound from outside sources. 3) If privacy is something you value, then you have got to buy lined drape. They offer you complete privacy and comfort. 4) Because the lining protects the face cloth from damaging sun rot, lined drapes can last 10 to 15 years longer than unlined drapes. 5) Light reduction – lined drapes greatly reduce the light pouring into your rooms. 6) Blackout – if you want to darken the room perhaps for sleeping, just add a “blackout” lining to your drape. Unlined drapes are good alternatives when you want the most economical window covering. There are many colors and styles to choose from with unlined fabrics.

What is a thermal lining?

Thermal linings are ones that specifically provide superior insulation against unwanted heat or cold from entering through the windows of your home. Experts in insulation values rate thermal linings as reducing hot and cold air by up to 50 %! Heat loss in a room primarily occurs directly through the windows including insulated double pane windows. With constantly increasing costs for air conditioning and heating, it is no wonder why more and more customers are wisely selecting THERMAL LININGS on their drapes. If you live in an area with particularly cold or warm climates, you have even more reason to ask for a THERMAL LINING with your next drape purchase and save on your utility costs.

What are blackout drapes?

Blackout drapes our room darkening drapes similar to what you find at most hotels and motels. This is a popular window treatment option for bedroom use. They are also effective and cost efficient in eliminating unwanted light from entering a room. Of course, if you want light, just open up your blackout drapes. These drapes also reduce exterior sounds from the street or yard and insulate too from both heat and cold. Many customers also add sheer curtains underneath their blackout drapes. Sheers allows light to enter a room while still providing privacy that is important to many people. Any drape fabric we carry can have a blackout lining attached to it. You can even buy it with an inherently fire retardant lining as an extra measure of protection for your family and home.

What is a sheer curtain?

A sheer curtain or drape is an elegant and light weight fabric often used behind a drape. Sheers provide light filtering while still giving you privacy. The material has a translucency that enables you see through it, but, other people cannot look into your home. They usually can only see shadows and distorted images. When opened, drapes by themselves let others see into your home whereas sheers prevent this from occurring. The next time you buy a drape, be sure to consider adding a sheer curtain behind it. A drape and a sheer are a winning combination!

What is a valance?

A valance is a top drapery treatment generally from 10” to 18” in length covering the drapery on a separate rod. Regarding draperies, a valance can be French pleated similar to a drapery, custom balloon type, a continental gathered valance, embassy valance, halo valance, and scarf valance.

How do I measure drapes and curtains?

Never measure your existing drape or window covering. You will not get an accurate measure this way. Width: If a ROD EXISTS, the width is the total number of whole inches across the front or face of the rod from tip to tip (side to side or left to right); DO NOT include in your measurements the brackets at each end of the rod where the drape returns back to the wall. DO NOT add in any extra for the overlap beneath the center of the rod where the master carrier(s) may cross one another. Simply measure the front or face of your current rod. When NO ROD EXISTS, measure the total number of whole inches across the front or face of the window casing or opening (side to side or left to right) and add 6”. We will automatically make allowances for the wrap around the rod bracket to the wall and the overlap in the middle (for pair drapes - opening in the middle) by adding extra fabric in to each drape. Height: If a ROD EXISTS, the height (up and down) is your easiest measurement. Place your tape measure on the top center of the rod and measure the whole inches down to where you want the drape to hang. That’s it. When NO ROD EXISTS: Drapes hang just past the bottom of your window: Measure the inside height (top-to-bottom) of window casing or frame and add 8" to this measurement. Drapes hang to the floor: Measure 4" above the window casing or frame to 1” above the floor. Drapes from floor to ceiling: Measure from the top of the wall (i.e.: up to the ceiling) to the floor. Deduct 1” from this measurement to allow the drape to hang freely not brushing the ceiling or floor.

What is a tab top?

Tab tops are a very popular contemporary choice for window coverings. A tab top is a flat piece of fabric with wide tabs sewn in at the top that slip over a fixed or stationary rod. A tab top is a drape made from any fabric you select on our site that has tabs (similar to the belt tabs on pants only wider). The tabs at the top of the drape slide onto a stationary rod that you mount on the wall. Tab tops primarily get pleating from the natural folds of the fabric that occur when the material is gathered together. These drapes provide a free flowing pleated look that you can also use custom tie-backs we sell to fashionably pull the drapes back away from one or both sides of the window.

What are pinch pleated drapes?

Pleating is the way in which the fabric is doubled into narrow vertical folds as it hangs. The pleats are spaced at intervals which controls the fullness. The more fabric that is pleated into the drapery panels, the fuller the draperies become.

What is a grommet drape?

A grommet drape is a decorative window treatment consisting of an un-pleated drape with stylish large circular grommets at the top that slip through a stationary rod. The drape gets its pleating from the natural folds that fall beneath the rod once the material is gathered together. Stationary rods are available in several different finishes (i.e. nickel, brass, black, etc.) and come with custom finials on the ends to add an artistic touch that helps highlight the drape and rod.

Can I hang a pinch pleated drape on a stationary rod?

Typically, if you want a pinch pleated drape that doesn’t use the traditional hooks to attach it to the drape rod, then consider a pinch pleated drape that is held onto a stationary rod with “clips and rings”. By using clips to hold the drape to the rod, you get traditional pleats along with the more modern look of “clips and rings”. How do I pick a size of rod? Easy, whatever the “width size” of your drape is, match it to a rod that covers this size. For example, a drape that is 78 inches wide could use either a 48-84 inch rod or a 66-120. When the above rod size starts with 48, it means this is the smallest size the rod collapses down and 84, in the above example, is the largest the rod will expand.

How do I pick the style of rod I will need for my drapes?

Selecting the appropriate rod is a matter of style and function. It involves function because you have to decide whether you want to open and close your drape by using a cord drawn rod or do you prefer to manually pull the fabric itself to open and close the drape. Most people favor the normal cord drawn rod. A rod that opens with a cord is called a traverse rod. This means that the drape traverses across the rod when you open or close it. A traverse rod is a type of rod. But, there are also several ”styles” of traverse rods ranging from the heavy duty white type to custom ones with rings attached and finials on the ends of the rod. The custom ones come in different colors and styles. You should try to match drape rods to complement your drape and somewhat match the design theme and style of your home (e.g. contemporary, vintage, etc.). Back to function, suppose you want a modern drape treatment such as “tab top” or “grommet drape”. Since both of these types of drapes slip through the rod without any direct connecting part, then you need to use a stationary rod. The drapes can either be pulled away from the window as needed or you can attach “tie-backs” that hold the gathered drape to the side(s) of the window opening. Whatever your choice of rods, they are a great way to highlight your drape selection.

What is the difference between left, middle, and right pull rods?

To determine which pull you need, left, right, or middle, consider your perspective when the drapes will be in the open position. In other words, if you want the drapes to stack on the left side of the window (when in the open position) then order a left pull rod. An open drape that stacks on the right side of the window requires a right pull rod. A drape that opens in the middle and stacks on each side of the window is called a middle draw rod.

Do you need different rods for sheers?

If you are combining drapes and sheers to cover the same window, you will need to buy either; 1) a “double rod “ set up which means two rods mounted one in front of the other both attached to a single 6 inch set of end brackets. The drape goes on the front of course and the sheer goes behind it; or 2) you would use two separate rods with the front one having 6 inch brackets and the rod going behind it using a smaller 3 inch bracket so it fits behind the other rod. Adding sheers is a great to filter light into your room while guaranteeing privacy.

What are heavy duty rods?

In addition to the numerous styles and brands of rods commonly sold, there are several “grades” for most of these rods with varying degrees of quality and durability. Most people do not realize there is a major difference in rod quality within brands and among manufacturers. We carry Kirsch brand which is one of the oldest, most popular, and best constructed drape rods you can buy. Further, we only carry the very best rods Kirsch makes which provide maximum durability. These rods can easily last 10 years or longer and are offered at very affordable prices. Heavy duty rods are always recommended, especially with heavier, lined drapes.

Can you see through a sheer?

From inside your home, you can see outside through the filtering of the sheer. However, outsiders cannot look into your house other than distorted images and shadows. Sheers therefore give you privacy and allow filtered indirect light into your room.

What is crinoline or buckram?

Crinoline is a stiffener used at top or head of drapery. Crinoline is sometimes also being referred to as buckram or stiffener. Its purpose is to give strength to the heading and shape to the pleating. This area and our attention to it is very important to the longevity of the drapery.

Why are drapes gaining popularity over blinds again?

Despite the numerous window covering options on the market today, drapes continue to represent a large segment of what most consumers select for use in their home. There are several reasons why drapes are a desirable and smart choice: 1) Privacy – Drapes provide superior privacy because they enable you to literally close the world out. Mini blinds and vertical blinds all have multiple “open gaps” where people can see into your home or room if they are so inclined. Whereas when you close a drape there are no openings or gaps. 2) Insulation – Drapes absolutely guarantee the very best insulation value equally for both winter cold and summer heat. Windows are the central point in a room where air escapes or enters. Most experts in residential insulation agree that drapes, particularly lined drapes, consistently deliver the best insulation of any window covering. Their rating value is as high as 50 % plus with blinds only offering about 10 % insulation.

Why should you care about the insulation of your home?

Well, as you know, heating and air conditioning costs can be quite expensive; and they are steadily increasing with no end in sight. But, just as importantly for some folks is the feeling of comfort a well insulted window can create for your family. 3) “Cozy factor” – although this may sound like a joke it isn’t; blinds, verticals, and even those extremely expensive shutters all are consider to be hard coverings and as such seem to many people cold and office like in appearance. However, drapes are soft, warm, and inviting thereby making you and your guests feel comfortable. 4) Cleanability - drapes simply show dust and dirt a lot less than any other type of window covering. Unless you are in the mood to repetitively clean, always stick with drapes for your home. You can get away with cleaning your drapes every few years “if you want to “because you actually may never need to clean them. But, with hard and slick surfaces like blinds, they seem to constantly show dust and look dirty. 5) Longest lasting – no other window covering lasts longer than a drape. A lined drape can last ten to fifteen years or longer! You can’t beat that with anything else. These are just a few of the reasons why buying drape makes sense and can actually save you money with utility costs, cleaning expense and time, and superior durability that prevents damage and replacement costs.

What is the best color or style to choose for a drape?

Ultimately, it is a matter of personal taste and preference. But, here are a few helpful tips: First, try to pick a color and style that complements the room’s décor and color scheme. For example, if you have a lot of antique or vintage furniture, it is probably not a good idea to pick a contemporary drape style. You would instead want to use a more traditional looking drape. Second, when possible, try to stay with a neutral color drape. The reason is that a neutral color drape will often allow you to later change the furniture or even wall color and not have to replace the window treatment again. A neutral color drape blends in with almost anything. So, consider off white fabrics, whites, earth tones, etc.

Can you wash drapes in a washing machine?

Sometimes you can wash drapes, but, it is generally not advisable. Unless the drape you own has a cotton/polyester or polyester composition, you probably should not wash it. Dry cleaning is a gentle approach to cleaning although you should only do it if necessary and every few years if needed. Oftentimes, you can just spot clean a drape with gentle cleaner or detergent, of course, depending on the fabric.

Why is buying your drapes directly from the manufacturer so important?

Anytime you can eliminate or cut out the middle person, you are frequently far better off for several reasons. Cost savings is probably the main reason to try and buy directly from the manufacturer. Drapes are one of those items that can be greatly marked up by resellers, brokers, stores, and decorators. You can save hundreds of dollars off on each drape by purchasing directly from the manufacturer. Time efficiency is another reason to buy from the factory that makes drapes. As the manufacturer, you would often be shocked just how fast your drapes can be made; in many instances in as little as a few days (instead of weeks or months as stated by stores) Quality is also an important factor. A manufacturer has direct control over the quality of the products they make. It is easy to make a bad drape. There are tons of them on the market. However, it takes a great deal of commitment and focus to create a well made drape that will last you for years to come and attract unsolicited complements from your guests. Although they might initially look acceptable, they usually do not hang well or last long. The “buck stops” with the person who makes them so try to always deal directly with the manufacturer yourself.

Can drapes be used for sound reduction?

Although all sound cannot be completely eliminated by drapes, outside noises can be greatly reduced and dampened by adding a cloth lining to your drapes. Additionally, the lining provides complete privacy and superior

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