Curtain tracks buying guide


The right curtain track, correctly fitted, will make a big difference to the hang of your curtains and the whole look of your room. We have a wide selection of curtain tracks in our shops and hope this guide will help you choose.

Types of curtain track

To begin with, ensure that the track is suitable for the weight
of the curtains which will hang from them.

John Lewis sells two types of track online:

PVC is inexpensive, flexible and suitable for light and medium weight curtains. A corded option is not available with this type
of track.

Aluminium is more expensive but stronger and more durable,
as well as being bendable. It is also suitable for light and medium weight fabric and gives you smoother drawing curtains. Corded and uncorded options are available with this type of track.

We also sell Dormer and Valance tracks.

Two other types of track are available in our shops:

Steel is suitable for heavy weight curtains. This type of track is not bendable and is always corded.

Heavy duty aluminium can be made to exact lengths and can be ordered ready bent.

View all our curtain tracks

Corded and uncorded tracks

Corded tracks are threaded with nylon cord at the back which connects to a system of gliders and pulleys. You open and close the curtains by using a pull-cord, without having to handle the curtain, protecting more delicate fabrics from damage. Corded tracks are also useful for heavy curtains and for tall windows, making drawing your curtains easier. Corded tracks over 3m (9 feet 10 inches ) in length will have cords at both ends rather than just one (see diagram).

Window shapes and measuring up

Outside recesses When measuring, allow a minimum of
15cm ( 6 inches ) each side of the window to let in the maximum amount of daylight. For very full curtains allow even greater width. Again, PVC and aluminium tracks can be cut to fit. Heavy duty aluminium tracks can be ordered in exact lengths from our shops.

An extendable steel track can be used where you are unsure
of the exact measurements. Narrow windows can be made to appear wider by extending the track on either size (see diagram).

Inside recesses

To fit a curtain track inside a recess, the overall length of the
track should be slightly shorter than the actual width of the recess. Standard size PVC or slim aluminium tracks can be cut to fit using a hacksaw.

When measuring, allow for bends. The gentler the bend, the more smoothly your curtains will run. Most PVC or aluminium track can be bent to fit. If the track is heavy duty aluminium you will need to order it ready bent – just fill in one of our measurement forms in store and we’ll do the rest.
We can also supply and fit the track if your bay has several bends or if you are unsure about measuring tracks yourself. A fee of £50 for measuring is refundable against your order. Please visit one of our shops.

Cutting and bending tracks


PVC tracks are easy to cut with a hacksaw. When bending, work with care and make sure the track is at room temperature. Follow the pack instructions which will tell you the angle of bend you can achieve.


Aluminium tracks are also easy to cut with a hacksaw. Aluminium can be made into tighter bends but you will need to work carefully since, once bent, an aluminium track will not spring back. Follow the pack instructions and bend in stages, regularly checking the angle of the bend against the shape of the window.


Steel tracks cannot be bent.

Heavy duty aluminium

Tracks should be ordered cut to length or cut by professional fitters. Some can be bent outwards as well as inwards while others cannot be bent so check with an assistant before you order. Tracks can be bent to your own measurements or our professional fitters will bend them as part of our fitting service. Please visit one of our shops for details. 

Fitting tracks

Brackets: Most tracks come with universal brackets that can be fixed either to the wall or ceiling.

Wall fixing: Fix the track to a wooden batten above the window frame, or fix to brickwork using long screws and rawlplugs.

Ceiling fixing: Attach track to ceiling joists or, if joists are not
in the right positions, to a wooden batten. 


We have a range of accessories to fit, fix and maintain curtain tracks:

  • Spares: Tracks come complete with all fittings apart from curtain hooks but we stock additional gliders, end stops and brackets.
  • Extension brackets: These can be used with deep windows or radiators to bring the curtains further out from the wall.
  • Draw rods: For drawing curtains on uncorded tracks. Choose from 3 lengths to suit the height of your windows.

A wider range is available in our shops and includes:

  • Header tape: John Lewis shops stock a full range of Rufflette tapes and hooks.
  • Spray lubricant: This silicone based spray ensures curtains run more smoothly, prolonging the life of corded curtain tracks.

View curtain and track accessories


Occasional cleaning will improve the performance of your track and help prolong its life. Wash with a household detergent, allow to dry, then spray with a silicone based lubricant.

Further education

We currently sell PVC uncorded and aluminium corded and uncorded tracks online. For information on the rest of our range please telephone your nearest John Lewis shop or pay a visit in person to speak to one of our sales assistants.