No-drill sliding-glass door window treatment help needed
August 5, 2016 6:55 AM   Subscribe

What is the most effective way for me to 100% non-invasively mount a lightweight yet privacy-ensuring window treatment above my sliding glass door? I can't drill into the wall AT ALL.

Is there a Command Strip or Hook-type solution here? Will those support a full-length curtain rod above a typical, normal-width, metal-framed sliding glass door? I don't want it to bow or droop in the center, nor do I want it to collapse under the weight of the fabric. There is a degree of light-blocking I want, so I have to expect to use more than just lightweight sheers.

I am only finding normal window-based DIY or specialty product ideas, or tension rods, which don't work for sliding doors.

Also I want to be able to completely hide the whole door when the curtains are drawn, so I can't use a solution that adheres magnetically to just the metal door frame and leaves the outer edges and top exposed.
posted by I_Love_Bananas to Home & Garden (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Can you use a tension rod? The heavy duty ones for shower curtains work well.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:58 AM on August 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

This is a little outside the box, but if you can't use a tension rod, what about some sort of room divider that you could put in front of the sliding glass door?
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:03 AM on August 5, 2016 [5 favorites]

I'm kinda in love with VHB tape-- it's incredibly strong, considered a permanent adhesive. I bet if you used it to mount IKEA's VIDGA Curtain Track it would work well-- assuming you also went with IKEA curtains, which tend to be on the light-end of the scale.
posted by Static Vagabond at 7:08 AM on August 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

Most adhesive hooks list their maximum hang weight on the package; it's generally about 1-5lb. They're also designed to hold things close to the wall, so that the weight is pulling vertically. Standard curtain rods are on brackets that stick out 3-6 inches, so a vertical pull of the curtain weight is tugging the top of the bracket away from the wall - adhesive doesn't do well with that.

In any case, the weight of a rod and brackets is a couple of pounds, and any light blocking curtain is a couple more, plus the fact that every time you draw the curtain aside you pull on the rod. A tension shower curtain rod has a weight limit of 30 lbs for example, and you're planning a drape that's much heavier than a shower curtain. But say you're going to live dangerously and aim at a 30lb weight limit, and just be super gentle when you touch the curtain. A heavy-duty Command strip weight capacity is 2kg, or 5lb. The means you'd need at least 6 hooks, and a 40lb limit (8 hooks) would be more sensible. The problem with curtains is that if you want them to draw back and forth along the rod, you can only support the rod at the ends, or with perhaps one support in the center. The track like Static Vagabond recommends might be a solution to that.

In short, I'm going to say no, there's not a good way to do this with hooks supporting a standard curtain design.

(Also, depending on *why* you can't drill into the wall, adhesive strips could do more damage that's harder to repair than just filling a screw hole.)
posted by aimedwander at 7:12 AM on August 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Can you explain why drilling is such a total no-go as an option? It's going to be tricky (not impossible) to do this without drilling since you're trying to support weight over a fairly large area, and most of the adhesive solutions I can think of would risk damaging the paint when removed. I'm having a hard time getting past the no-drilling thing, since even when I've lived in apartments and such, that would be totally OK to do in a situation like this, as long as it were done correctly.

A voice in my head is telling me, "But surely drilling isn't totally impossible, and it's the right way to do this." Can you explain a little more in order to silence that voice?
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:12 AM on August 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I can vouch for that VHB tape being Good Stuff, by the way—it's the first thing I'd think of in terms of an adhesive that might work in your situation. You'd want a track system though so you could support the curtain continuously along its length, and it's definitely not paint safe. In fact, the adhesion of the paint to the wall might be your limiting factor; over time, the tape might just pull off the wall and take the paint with it.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:16 AM on August 5, 2016

Oh! Another thing you could do would be to construct a U-shaped frame all around your sliding door, with basically two legs that sit against the wall and support the curtain rod, and the rod running between them to make the top part of the inverted U. Then you'd just need to stop it falling away from the wall rather than ripping off the wall entirely, and something like Command strips might well be more than enough for that. There are lots of ways to make such a thing, depending on what materials and construction techniques you are most comfortable with. If this kind of project is within your ability, I'm sure you can work out the details yourself. If just mounting the rod normally is truly out of the question, this is how I would go about it.

In my case, what I'd probably do is get some 1x4 planks at Home Depot, glue some rubber feet onto the bottoms, paint them the same color as the wall, set them as close to the wall as possible (your baseboards will probably prevent you from setting them perfectly tight; you could build around this if you're willing to add complications) and fix them in place with some Command strips. Then I would mount my curtain rod to those legs as normal, i.e. with screws. When you're done with it, the whole thing comes off and hopefully leaves no evidence behind.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:24 AM on August 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Could you use something like a Japanese screen divider? It would stand in front of your door and not require any support. In addition, it could be a good look for the room. You can then fold it down and stand it next to the door, without taking up much space.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 8:28 AM on August 5, 2016

If it is framed in metal, as you state, then magnets might be your best friend in this case.

My sister uses a magnetic towel bar to hold a curtain on her metal front door. It is very very strong.

You might need to use more than one for complete coverage.

Alternately, you can DIY with a curtain rod from BigBox retailer, and some strong magnets.
posted by yesster at 8:42 AM on August 5, 2016

Can you drill into the ceiling? If so, you can mount a rod (etc.) up there.

FWIW, we tried a temporary curtain rig with command when we were moving into our house and it didn't even last a day (and this was using a piece of the lightest weight muslin we could find). Granted, that was intended to keep too much dust from blowing into the place while interior paint dried, but nevertheless it didn't work.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 9:22 AM on August 5, 2016

You can cover the window with stick-on frosted privacy film.

Like other posters, I'm in the "why can't you drill?" camp.
posted by halogen at 9:42 AM on August 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

I'd imagine the answer to "why can't you drill" is either "renter" or "walls made of old plaster that crumbles if a drill so much as looks at it" (I am currently dealing with the latter issue in my new house).
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:57 AM on August 5, 2016 [6 favorites]

soren_lorenson - That's exactly why we need to know. A renter can use adhesive to attach things to walls. A plaster wall could crumble out and dump the curtain, the rod, the adhesive strips, and a pile of paint and plaster on the floor. It makes a difference.
posted by aimedwander at 10:18 AM on August 5, 2016

You can buy removable plastic privacy film for cheap from Amazon. Works wonders & comes in all sorts of patterns. Even colours if that’s your thing.
posted by pharm at 10:36 AM on August 5, 2016

My curtain rod had been up in the bedroom at least a year with command hooks. Just two with none in the middle and a thick curtain rod to take the weight.

The key is to get the heavy duty outoor ones. I bought metal ones for outdoor use that hold 5 lbs. Ours is a standard two panel curtain length window. Anything wider and you may need another hook or two. Again our curtain rod is a thicker one that won't bow with the curtain. The first one I got was too thin and would have needed support in the middle and the thin curtain rod clashes with the thick metal command hooks.
posted by Crystalinne at 11:05 AM on August 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Asker wants to block light, not just create privacy. Hence, heavy light-blocking curtains. It's right there in the question.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 12:12 PM on August 5, 2016

I mentioned it above, but here's a link: magnetic curtain rods.
posted by yesster at 2:56 PM on August 5, 2016

If your window accommodates them, they make sturdy tension rods for curtains. I got mine at Target.

For another sticky solution, look into Sugru. I have one small packet holding a very hkind, metal knife magnet + six big knives to the side of my fridge and it's been holding solid.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:20 AM on August 6, 2016

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