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Curtain rail in a bay window with a flat roof and no lintel

Discussion in 'General DIY' started by philharbour, 9 Oct 2011.

  1. philharbour

    philharbour

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    Hi there,

    I wonder if anyone can give me any advice. We’ve a bay window in a 1930’s bungalow in which we want to hang floor length curtains from a curtain pole. The windows are upvc and there is no window lintel. The ceiling above the bay window is plaster. The roof is a lead covered flat roof. The upvc window frames I don’t think would be strong enough to support a curtain rail, certainly not with full length lined curtains. I know that the ceiling is not strong enough to use raw plugs in to suspend a curtain rail from and we don’t want to have roman blinds. The only idea I’ve come up with to date is to drill right the way through the ceiling, throught the void and the flat roof and use bolts with washers on the outside sealed with bitumen to suspend a rail from. If anyone knows about the likely construction of the flat roof, perhaps if there is likely to be a frame with rafters that I might be able to screw into that would be a huge help. (I’ve just re-plastered the ceiling so I’m not too keen to start drilling holes everywhere to find out myself) I’ve included photos to try and give you a better idea of what I’m faced with.

    Many thanks in advance for any advice or suggestions you might be able to give

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  2. Ricardus

    Ricardus

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  3. philharbour

    philharbour

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    Hi Ricardus, thanks for the reply, I don't think they would be that OTT for a curtain rail, it's quite a long window (over 2.5 mtres long) so thats a whole lot of curtain material especially when lined and floor length. I'm still not sure if the plaster ceiling would be strong enough to support the rail and curtains even with these brackets
     
  4. JohnD

    JohnD

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    There will certainly be timbers that the ceiling is fixed to, and the flat roof stands on. I appreciate you don't want to make a lot of holes in it. You might be able to detect them by tapping, or you can drill one or more small holes and use a special Ceiling Timber Detection Tool to locate them.

    This tool is made by bending a wire coathanger and prodding sideways through the hole until it meets a timber.
     
  5. philharbour

    philharbour

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    Hi JohnD,

    Thanks for the reply, that sounds like an expensive specialist tool ;) I have tried knocking the ceiling to try and differentiate between hollow and denser areas but I couldn’t be certain. I think I’ll give the coathanger/wire idea a go, in your opinion which way are the timbers likely to run, at right angles from the house? Is it likely there are noggins between the timbers? Any suggestions how far apart they might be? I guess I’m just going to have to accept that I’m going to have to drill my lovely newly plastered ceiling!

    Appreciate these questions are very hard to answer as every construction/house is different, really appreciate everyones help

    Thanks

    Phil
     
  6. JohnD

    JohnD

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    timbers are most often run the shortest way. So if your room is narrower than it is long, they will go the narrow way. This is cheaper in timber as they need to be deeper for longer runs (or, the same depth is more rigid at shorter runs)

    In the bay there might be some kind of patching-up of timbers if there is nothing for them to stand on. They should be at 600mm centres or closer.

    Sadly it is much easier to see joist runs on an old ceiling before decorating, since there are usually dust shadow marks on the joists or nails where they are colder than the insulated ceiling (if your flat roof is not well insulated, then you should have pulled down the old ceiling and done that before replastering :(
     
  7. philharbour

    philharbour

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    Thanks John, the pastering was more of a skim rather than new plaster boards etc (I didn't have the time or the knowledge really to pull everything down) These won't be the same timbers that run through the loft will they? Would I be able to see them from the loft cavity? I thought these were lower down than those because of the step in the ceiling
     
  8. foxhole

    foxhole

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    I just poke a skinning blade screwdriver thru ceiling, start where you would like to fit brackets and move outwards 30mm at a time until you hit timber.
    You could add a timber baton to ceiling screwed and glued which would offer a secure fixing for curtains.
     
  9. JohnD

    JohnD

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    you have a loft? I thought the flat roof was the whole building.

    then go and peer down from it, you will probably be able to see a gap between the joists in the loft what happens above the bay. Or you might be able to poke about with your Ceiling Timber Detection Tool.
     
  10. philharbour

    philharbour

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    I've drilled some holes in the ceiling and managed to find the joists using the suggested wire coat hanger method. I was suprised to find that there is a gap between the plaster ceiling and the joists, so the joists are supporting the roof but not the ceiling.

    My thought is to cut a hole through which I can insert a block to bridge the gap between joist and the ceiling level and and then screw the bracket on to the block. If I screw the bracket into the joist through the ceiling as I tighten the screws it will pull the ceiling up towards the joist.

    Any thoughts?
     
  11. foxhole

    foxhole

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    You have found roof timbers if there is a gap not ceiling timber, you could cut a spacer from a scrap of small diameter pipe [copper] to act as a spacer.
     
  12. philharbour

    philharbour

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    Thats a great idea, thanks
     
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