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How heavy are heavy curtains?

Curtains help control light, provide insulation and affect the overall aesthetic of a room. When considering heavy curtains, the weight usually refers to how dense and opaque the fabric is. This determines how effective they are at blocking light and noise.

How heavy are heavy curtains?

Heavier curtains tend to be made of thicker, heavier fabrics like velvet, brocade or layered fabrics. Light-filtering and room-darkening curtains also weigh more to effectively serve their purpose. Here’s what to know about heavy curtains:

Typical Weight Range

The term “heavy curtains” is subjective and broad. In general, curtains weighing 40 ounces per square yard (oz/yd2) or more are often categorized as heavy. By comparison:

  • Sheer curtains = 1-3 oz/yd2
  • Lightweight curtains = 3-9 oz/yd2
  • Mid-weight curtains = 9-16 oz/yd2
  • Heavy curtains = Typically over 40 oz/yd2

The type of fabric directly relates to the weight. Here are common fabrics and their standard weights:

  • Cotton – Medium-weight; 7-15 oz/yd2
  • Polyester – Light-to-medium weight; 5-15 oz/yd2
  • Velvet – Very heavy; ~55 oz/yd2
  • Brocade – Heavy; Up to ~60 oz/yd2
  • Denim – Heavy; Typically 12-15 oz/yd2
  • Satin – Medium weight; ~20 oz/yd2
  • Linen – Medium weight; Typically 11 oz/yd2

What Makes Curtains Heavy

Several factors impact the overall weight of curtains:

Type of Fabric

The fabric itself contributes the most to the base weight. Dense fabrics like velvet or brocade make very heavy curtains. Sheer voiles are much lighter.

Lining

Unlined curtains won’t weigh as much as lined versions made from the same main fabric. Linings improve light blocking, insulation and privacy. For example, a heavy linen curtain weighs about 11 oz/yd2. Adding a blackout lining can make the total weight 15-20 oz/yd2.

Common lining types include:

  • Blackout lining – Blocks most external light
  • Thermal lining – Helps insulate from heat/cold
  • Room darkening lining – Blocks some light
  • Sheer lining – Very lightweight

Interlining

Some heavy curtains feature interlining in addition to a lining. This is an extra layer of fabric placed between the main fabric and the lining for added insulation and structure. The interlining itself weighs 5-10 oz/yd2, adding even more overall weight.

Additional Features

Details like embroidery, embellishments or decorative trims will make curtains slightly heavier than plain fabrics. Features like grommets and hooks can also tip scales.

Recommendations Based on Curtain Rod Type

Heavy curtains put more stress on curtain rods and hardware. Make sure to use appropriately weighted rods:

  • Light-duty – For sheer, lightweight curtains under 8 lbs total. Can hold 1-3 oz/yd2 fabrics.
  • Medium-duty – For mid-weight curtains 8-18 lbs total. Can hold 7-30 oz/yd2 fabrics.
  • Heavy-duty – For heavy curtains 18-30 lbs total. Use for fabrics over 30 oz/yd2.
  • Extreme heavy-duty – For large curtains over 30 lbs total like huge velvet theater curtains.

Reinforced traverse rods are best for most heavy curtains. Or opt for stronger pole pocket headings rather than basic rod pockets.

Follow all weight limits for brackets, rings and other hardware too. Overloading can cause disastrous sagging or breakage.

Key Takeaways About Heavy Curtains

  • The term “heavy curtains” broadly refers to fabrics weighing 40+ ounces per square yard.
  • Density of fabric, linings, interlinings and embellishments contributes to overall curtain weight.
  • Make sure curtain rod and hardware has a high enough weight capacity to safely support heavy curtains.
  • Velvet, brocade, denim and layered/lined curtains tend to be some of the heaviest options.
  • Light, medium and heavy-duty curtain rods suit different densities of fabrics.

Conclusion

What makes curtains considered heavy or light depends on the fabric composition and features like lining, interlining and embellishments used in construction. Broadly, heavy curtains include fabrics weighing 40 ounces per square yard or more. Fabrics like velvet, brocade and high-quality denim tend to fall on the heavier end of the scale.

When hanging heavy window treatments, be sure to follow the recommended weight capacity for rods, brackets and accessories. This ensures suitable support and helps prevent drooping or hardware failures leading to accidents. Hanging curtains correctly with the right equipment keeps them looking beautiful in your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much do heavy drapes weigh?
A: Heavy drapes typically weigh over 40 ounces per square yard of fabric. Dense velvet drapes often weigh around 55 oz/yd2; brocade can reach up to 60 oz/yd2.

Q: How heavy is too heavy for curtains?
A: This depends on your rod and hardware. Most standard rods safely accommodate 8-18 lbs. Choose an extreme heavy-duty setup for curtains over 30 lbs total.

Q: How do I know what weight rod to get?
A: Light duty rods hold up to 8 lbs for sheers; medium-duty for 8-18 lbs, heavy-duty for 18-30 lbs and extreme heavy-duty for over 30 lbs. Add together weights of all your panels.

Q: Do I need a specialty rod for heavy curtains?
A: Often, yes. Reinforced traverse rods or heavier brackets work best. Some specialty rods extend up to 10 feet with 300 lb capacity.

Q: Are blackout curtains heavier?
A: Yes, blackout curtains tend to be heavier than light-filtering due to thicker fabrics and light-blocking linings added. These features prevent external light getting through.

Q: Do heavier curtains insulate better?
A: Yes, more layers and denser fabrics improve insulation from cold or heat. Options like velvet, brocade, layered linings help reduce temperature transfer through windows.

Q: How much do lined curtains weigh?
A: It varies widely. Unlined lightweight cotton may be 7 oz/yd2. The same fabric with blackout lining can total 13-15 oz/yd2. A lined heavy fabric like velvet might weigh around 60 oz/yd2.

Q: Should you get heavier drapes for big windows?
A: Yes, large-scale windows look best with substantial proportional curtains. Long, bold styles in heavy fabrics beautifully frame big windows. Ensure rods and anchors hold the weight properly.

Q: What’s the difference between blackout vs room darkening curtains?
A: True blackout blocks almost all external light. Room darkening still lets in some light around edges for dimming. Room darkening curtains tend to be medium-heavy; blackout are often heavier.

Q: Which curtain lining works best?
A: Blackout lining blocks the most light, while also insulating and providing privacy. Match specific functional needs – external light control, insulation, sound absorption, etc.

Q: Do I really need curtain linings?
A: That depends on preferences and needs. Linings improve insulation, light blocking and privacy. Unlined curtains have a lighter, airier aesthetic. Assess tradeoffs to make the best choice for room usage.

Q: What kind of curtain fabric is the heaviest?
A: Velvet and brocade are among the heaviest at up to ~60 oz/yd2. Quilted fabrics, heavy denim, faux leather and layered/lined materials also add substantial weight.

Q: Do heavier curtains actually block more noise?
A: To an extent, yes. More layers and denser materials help absorb some sound. For noticeable noise reduction, utilize both heavy curtains and acoustical linings designed to buffer sound.

Q: Where should you hang curtains – above or below window?
A: Either works. Above makes ceilings seem taller; below frames the window traditionally. Ensure adequate hanging length for air flow and stacking clearance either way.

Q: What curtains are too heavy for grommets?
A: Avoid grommets on curtains over 30 pounds total weight. The openings and thin top fabric border stressed by grommets can tear under lots of weight. Use stronger pole pocket headings instead.

Q: What’s the best header style for heavyweight curtains?
A: Pole pockets or tab tops provide stronger support across the full top border, better distributing weight without drooping. Avoid flimsy grommets.

Q: How do I figure total curtain weight from fabric weight?
A: Multiply your total fabric square yardage by the weight per square yard to get the bare fabric weight. Then add ~20% more for overlays, linings and finishing.

Q: What curtain lining blocks the most noise?
A: Acoustically designed linings absorb more sound vibrations. Coupled with heavy front fabrics like velvet, these can noticeably reduce noise transmission.

Q: Are curtains bad for insulation?
A: On the contrary, curtains improve insulation when closed, creating an added buffer between window glass and your room. For best insulation, utilize both heavy curtains and storm windows.

Q: Can you put blackout lining in any curtains?
A: Yes; blackout lining can be added to almost any unlined curtains for light blocking abilities. This also increases the weight since it adds a full extra layer.

Q: I love heavy curtains but want light too, what should I do?
A: Install dual curtain rods. Hang sheers on the inner rods for light filtering when desired. Draw the external heavy drapes to dim the room or control insulation as needed.

Q: Is polyester heavier than cotton for curtains?
A: Not inherently. Weight relates to fabric density more than fiber type. Lightweight poly sheers can be 3 oz/yd2, heavy poly velvets 55 oz/yd2. Cotton ranges widely too.

Q: How often should you replace curtains?
A: Quality curtains can last 5-15 years with proper care. Watch for visible wearing, sun damage, deteriorating linings or hardware issues. These indicate when it’s time for replacement.

Q: What curtains can I put in the washing machine?
A: Light synthetic fabrics like polyester sheers and casual cottons often hold up well to gentle machine washing. Heavy fabrics and special linings should be dry cleaned only to prevent damage.

Q: Where’s the best place to buy discounted quality curtains?
A: Watch for sales at major home stores for periodic deep discounts. Membership warehouse stores like Costco offer lower everyday pricing on curtains and hardware. Check clearance sections too!

 

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