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[icon] Mounting a curtain rod on cement wall - Patti
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Subject:Mounting a curtain rod on cement wall
Time:04:20 pm
I think I talked about this before, but I don't remember what the best solution was.

My loft has great big warehouse windows. There's a sort of so-so image here. There's a moderately wide overhang just above the window. Right now there are waffle blinds on the windows, mounted to the overhang-- you can sort of see them in the picture, although they're all the way open.

I want to keep the blinds, but put sheer curtains over them. To do this, I need to mount some sort of curtain rod. I'm trying to figure out how to do this with a minimum of effort, but in a way that will be stable and functional. The windows are just under seven feet tall, and a little under eleven feet wide. There are two of these windows, one in the dining room (shown) and a nearly identical one in the living room.

Drilling into the concrete wall is not my idea of a good time. I own a hammer drill, but even with it drilling into the walls has proven to be a pain in the ass. I'm trying to find a way to mount a curtain rod without doing any drill-baby-drill in difficult material.

One thought I've had would be to epoxy wood to the underside of the overhang-- either one long strip, or smaller squares. I could paint or finish the wood so that it doesn't look too ugly, mount brackets for a curtain rod, then glue the wood to the overhang. I'm obviously not a structural engineer, but this seems to me like it would work.

Will this work? Are there better ways to do this?
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rmd
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Time:2010-08-19 11:32 pm (UTC)
I'd be wary of the epoxy on the underhang idea -- all your stress would be pulling the epoxy straight down, wouldn't it? and that's pretty much the weakest way for it to go.

if you can handle drilling maybe two holes in the cement with the hammer drill, I'd suggest doing that, screwing bolts in, and using that to bolt down an also-epoxied board above the window. at that point, you could mount whatever window treatment you'd like, with the option of it being trivial to change later. or would that be too fugly, even if painted to match?
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whipartist
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Time:2010-08-20 01:00 am (UTC)
I really want to avoid drilling, especially in 90-year-old cement.

So I figure that the board would be, oh, 11 feet long give or take, and 3 inches wide. That's around 400 square inches of surface.

I'm looking at a spec sheet for a Loctite epoxy. It claims to have a tensile sheer strength of around 3600PSI after 24 hours.

So, obviously, gluing a piece of wood to concrete isn't going to get me a perfect bond. Let's pretend that the surfaces give me about 1% of normal bonding strength. That's still 36 PSI * 400 inches, or 14400 lbs. (OK, maybe this is sloppy math and it doesn't work that way... I dunno.) Lumber weighs on the order of 36 pounds per cubic foot, and we're at maybe a third of a cubic foot here, but let's call it 20 pounds of wood. A curtain rod is maybe ten pounds. Sheer curtains are nothing, but let's call them ten pounds.

So we're holding up like 40 pounds of stuff with a safety factor of about 360... and that's after we dropped the holding strength down to 1% of spec and rounded everything up. Curtains aren't static-- they blow in the breeze, get pulled on by cats, etc.-- but that still feels pretty safe to me.

Shoot holes in my logic?
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rmd
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Time:2010-08-20 01:10 am (UTC)
I think the shear strength is different than the load you'll be putting on it -- you're pulling downward on the joint, and that's going to weaken it in a way that going along the length of the joint (what I think of as shear strength) will not do. Also, fwiw, your curtainrods (depending on how far out they are) will have a force moment lever arm thing going on.

Also, if you're concerned about the quality of the cement, that's what you'll be adhering to, so if you're going to do this by epoxying it to the underside, do a bunch of scraping of the area to get loose cruft out before you try sticking things to it, and brace it *very* tightly against the surface while the epoxy cures. Bracing with a couple of 1x3's hammered tight between the floor and the beam would not be overkill.



Edited at 2010-08-20 01:12 am (UTC)
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dmorr
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Time:2010-08-20 02:50 am (UTC)
Shear strength measures how hard it is to slide the thing once it's glued down, not how hard it is to pull it straight away. The latter is much easier.

Having said that, I don't really see that it's a huge problem if it fails. Try it, if it falls down in a month, reconsider. As long as you're not hanging anvils up there it's no big deal if it falls down.
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whipartist
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Time:2010-08-20 06:17 am (UTC)
True, pulling down is easier.

Good point about just trying it. Unless I break a window the failure mode isn't that horrible, and I can keep the blinds closed for a few weeks to minimize that risk.
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violet_tigress1
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Time:2010-08-19 11:42 pm (UTC)
Hire professionals. I had maintenance hang my curtains & they haven't ever sat quite right.
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whipartist
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Time:2010-08-20 12:22 am (UTC)
Not a chance. I never outsource this sort of thing.
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(Deleted comment)

dd_b
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Time:2010-08-20 12:44 am (UTC)
And yet maintenance crew are in some sense professionals!
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violet_tigress1
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Time:2010-08-20 01:00 am (UTC)
They are. They're just not professional curtain hange
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dd_b
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Time:2010-08-20 12:43 am (UTC)
I've generally had very bad luck with adhesives myself, so I tend to take that route only as a last resort (except, for some reason, for the two arms of my desk chair, both of which I've repaired with epoxy and epoxy putty and gotten years of service out of). (And the fact that I only try it in the hard cases may be why I have bad luck, who knows?)

If it's hard to drill say a 1/2 inch hole into cement with a hammer drill, seems like something is wrong. Old dull masonry bits maybe? Although it could just be spectacularly hard cement, maybe. Of course part of it is just having to work up that high on a ladder; limits your ability to push safely, and such. I put anchor holes into my cement foundation with a battery rotary drill in 30 seconds (those aren't 1/2 inch; smaller, for electrical boxes).
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chrishartman
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Time:2010-08-20 06:42 pm (UTC)
I have to agree here. There really should be no issue drilling with a hammer drill, even in 90 year old concrete. Check your bits. For your purposes holes even smaller than 1/2" should be fine, along with some expanding concrete wall anchors.
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gunga_galunga
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Time:2010-08-20 12:47 am (UTC)
Drill, baby, drill!

Failing that, you can get a powder nailer to drive nails into the concrete. You could use this to mount the board and then attach the curtain rod to the board. It uses .22 gauge shells to drive the nails and sounds exactly like a gunshot, so you would likely want to alert the neighbors and definitely wear ear protection (and lock up the kitties).
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whipartist
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Time:2010-08-20 01:01 am (UTC)
I've used one of those nailers before-- we used it when we finished my mother's basement way back when. Using it on 90-year-old concrete, next to wicked-expensive-to-replace windows makes me uneasy.
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jcdill
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Time:2010-08-20 07:07 am (UTC)
I agree, I sure wouldn't use that type of drill on your walls. But what about using a regular drill, and drilling a few small holes?

What I would probably do in your situation is use quick-set epoxy to attach mounting boards on the wall above the window. Then drill a few small holes (e.g. 1/4 inch or smaller) in the wood and into the concrete underneath. Then fill with a slow set epoxy (e.g. the stuff that takes 30 minutes to set, not the stuff that sets in 5 minutes). (You will need a special syringe so you can mix the epoxy then fill the syringe then push it into the hole. Unless they make some type of epoxy that self mixes and then comes out of a tube like caulking does.) Then put in some screws that are just a tiny bit larger than the drill bit, so that the edges of the screw thread bite into the wood and then concrete just the tiniest bit. Together with the epoxy filling the hole, this will give a much stronger attachment to the wall than just the board/epoxy/wall attachment.
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slfisher
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-08-24 03:23 am (UTC)
My house is concrete block covered with stucco on the outside and plaster on the inside. I hire professionals.
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[icon] Mounting a curtain rod on cement wall - Patti
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