This is no ordinary wall above my window! Anything more than 3/4"cannot be screwed in so it's impossible to hang curtains with very short screws. There seems to be a steel or concrete in this header as I have tried to put regular screws just about everywhere. I put a magnet near the hole and it grabbed it so that is how I know there is steel. There must be concrete too because of how this apt building is built.

A regular drill cannot go through, and I bought a hammer drill and it is not working. I don't know what I am doing wrong. I think I was using the right bit. Maybe needs pressure or more time while it is turning? Can I use the self-drill screws?

I hardly use drills so I am kind of new with this stuff. I need simple instructions.

  • 1
    First thing, does the magnet stick all the way across, or just in small sections? Small sections would mean protective plates for electric wires or plumbing, do not drill in/though, bad things can happen. Drilling steel must use metal(HSS) bits, not wood type bits. Concrete requires the use of masonry bits
    – crip659
    Mar 3, 2023 at 23:49
  • 1
    There should not be electricity or water or gas running just above the door frame. However if the door is like 12 foot opening they might used steel to strengthen if depending what is above (second floor)
    – Traveler
    Mar 4, 2023 at 1:42
  • Photo would help. Curtain rod can often be mounted alongside the window frame, if there isn't space over it.
    – keshlam
    Mar 4, 2023 at 3:23
  • Location? Many builders use metal headers (lintels) above windows and doors. iirc correctly Catnic is one make.
    – Solar Mike
    Mar 4, 2023 at 3:26

2 Answers 2


You've hit metal. It could be a re-inforcement piece of steel, or a sheet of steel which runs across the whole header. We (and you) won't really know.

If it's the former, you could try drilling another hole an inch or two higher or lower, and if you still hit metal, it's probably the latter. If it is re-inforcement, then you'll find a spot where you can drill (with the appropriate drill/bit) straight in.

If it's the latter, often called a Catnic, you could drill with a concrete drill until you get to the steel, then use a bit for steel (not on hammer) to get through the metal, which will only be 1 or 2 mm thick. Unless it's a full steel lintel, which could be 6mm, depending on the width of the opening. Bear in mind that heat dissipation will be poor, so go slowly at that time.

Another idea would be to re-position the rod, so its hangers are outside the 'danger zone', either higher, lower, or further out from each other.

  • Further out from the window would probably be the best option.
    – FreeMan
    Mar 6, 2023 at 13:48

Other answers will tell you how to drill holes for the curtain rod hangers, but if you are not successful or you don't want to bother, you can use a "tension rod." This is a curtain rod that is held by spring tension between two surfaces. No drilling is required.

A tension rod usually has a diameter of about 2 cm. If this is too thick for your curtain, you can use curtain rings on the tension rod, then hang the curtain from the rings.

Tension rods work as shown here:

enter image description here

(Image: Walmart.com)

  • tension rods can be had in diameters significantly less than 2cm (~3/4"), if desired. Probably not much more than that, though, as it takes a fair bit of tension to hold up the larger/heavier curtain that it would look good supporting.
    – FreeMan
    Mar 6, 2023 at 13:48

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