Curtain Pole Batten – What, Why, How

For our surprisingly controversial topic of the day, we’re discussing a curtain pole batten! Some people love them, while others hate them. I (personally) don’t have anything against them – but maybe that’s because I’m just used to battens in most of the homes I’ve lived in. If you’re renovating your home and trying to figure out how to hang your curtains, how to install battens or other fixtures, or more, you’ve come to the right place.

Installing a curtain pole batten is generally easy and a good idea if your curtains are particularly heavy.

While at the end of the day it comes down to preference, we’re going to discuss the basics of curtain pole battens, why (if at all) you should use them, and how to install them.

Curtain Pole Batten: Basics

First things first – what even is a curtain pole batten? In short, it’s a small piece of wood used to hold something in place. For curtains, it’s bits of wood that hold the pole itself in place. While I personally don’t mind them and enjoy the hardwood look they lend a house, it seems I’m alone here. Many people tend to prefer attaching the curtain pole directly to the wall, rather than to battens.

There are several arguments for not using battens:

  • You don’t like how they look
  • It feels harder than just attaching the curtain pole directly to the wall
  • You’re worried about their quality of performance

Let’s address each of these really quick before I go into how to install them (should you wish).

Looks

This is by far the most subjective part of the issue. At the end of the day, whether or not you like the look of battens will be the most important factor. Nobody wants to stare at something in their home that they just don’t like.

Honestly, all I can say is that if you don’t like curtain battens, don’t install them. They’re only necessary for a few specific instances, and I’ll be getting to those shortly. Beyond appearance, though, there’s really no reason to dislike them – they’re a part of your home that serves a specific function. That’s like saying you don’t like the look of copper hinges on doors and forgoing hinges altogether. Sure, you don’t need them, but they definitely had a very good purpose.

Quality of Performance

Battens have been in use for a very, very long time. That means one of two things – they work, and we know it, or people throughout the years just liked to do things the hard way. I’m willing to bet that it’s not the latter, as the phrase, “do things smarter, not harder” exists. That means one thing. Battens work, and they work well.

They shine best when holding something extremely heavy (in comparison to the average curtain). You can use them to hold extra-thick curtains, but they can also be used in a number of creative ways:

  1. Hang a projector screen using curtain pole battens
  2. Display framed artwork too big or clumsy to hang “normally”
  3. Hang lights and Christmas decorations

The list goes on and on, but the point remains – curtain pole battens have a purpose that they serve very well. There is no reason to doubt their strength or quality of performance, otherwise, their use would have died out long ago.

Difficulty to Attach

This, generally, shouldn’t really affect your decision. When it comes to your home, the difficulty of a project should never dissuade you from it. It’s your home – you paid for it, you maintain it, and if something improves the quality of a job, use it.

When attaching a standard curtain pole, you would nail or screw it into place. The same goes for battens, though you can actually attach them with an adhesive that holds surprisingly well. The only time that you may need nails to attach a batten is if you’re securing something very heavy, like blackout curtains. And even then, it’s not that hard.

At the end of the day, my best advice is to never listen to someone who tells you that something is too hard. If you have to hire a professional, you can – though in this instance you certainly do not need to. It’s a curtain rod, it’s not hard to put up.

How to Install a Curtain Pole Batten

This is actually a pretty easy process. It’ll take a few hours, along with:

  • A handful of tack nails
  • Screws properly sized for your batten
  • Hammer
  • Measuring tape and pencil
  • High-strength plaster adhesive, such as Sticks-Like-Sh**
  • A straight, unbent or warped piece of lumber the length of your batten and pole, end to end.
  • Caulking
  • Paint/painting supplies

While you certainly could screw this into place, this approach is actually a bit better for one main reason. When using adhesive, you don’t need to worry about getting through framing near your window. This allows you a bit more freedom to place the battens as needed to hang your curtain evenly and in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Now, onto the work.

The Process:

  1. Measure your batten and window. Mark where (approximately) you’d like to hang the batten.
    1. Give at least 10 cm between the ceiling and the batten. Account for the fact that the curtain will be bunched on the sides when not drawn. In other words, provide at least 5-10 cm on each side, as well, for the curtain to sit when bunched.
  2. Mark down the exact centre point of both the window and battens. Draw a straight line along where the batten and pole’s bottom will sit.
  3. Install tack nails along the bottom of the line you drew as a resting point for everything while the adhesive dries.
  4. Place your piece of lumber along the nails, cleaning where it will rest. Apply adhesive only once you’re certain it’s level and perfectly in line with where you want the pole.
  5. Allow the adhesive to dry (16-24 hours).
  6. Paint the new piece of lumber to match your wall, allowing it to dry. Ensure it’s clean and dry before continuing.
  7. Screw your battens into place, hanging the pole.
  8. Apply a thin layer of caulking along the edges of the timber, spread it with a wet finger or damp cloth. Leave it for an hour, sand it down, and paint a fresh coat over the caulking (and if desired, the batten and pole).
  9. Success!

Final Thoughts

Installing a curtain pole batten is a great choice if you’re dealing with a heavy curtain or another object that you want to hang. They’re especially great for those who are renting and don’t want to make holes in their wall, as it can be hung with adhesive and removed when needed. All that’s needed to cover up is a quick sanding, putty filling any damage, and a quick coat of paint and you’re set.

While some people argue that curtain pole battens are ugly, useless, or hard to install, I would differ on all points. They look great in most homes, they’re wonderful for hanging heavier things, and they’re no harder to install than a regular curtain pole. If you don’t care about screw holes, you can easily screw a batten directly into the wall, just as you would a curtain pole.

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About the Author Harry Thompson

Involved in home renovations throughout his life, Harry is an expert in everything to do with home and garden DIY. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and tending to his garden.