All about Dado rails

Dado rails are an attractive interior feature that originally separated the upper and lower sections of walls. The area below the Dado was often covered with wood panelling, and the rail itself helped protect the wall from marks, particularly from the backs of chairs.

To install wooden Dado rails in a room, you need to first mark out the height with a pencil on the walls. This should be around 1m to 1.2m from the floor, and you may want to match the height to your window ledges or mantelpiece. Use a spirit level to get it straight, as your floors may be uneven. These days, most people fix their Dado rails with adhesive, although traditionally they are screwed into the wall.

Cutting the pieces of rail to fit must be done with care. Make sure your measurements are accurate and use a mitre box to get the correct angle for the joints on corners. A fine-toothed hacksaw is the best tool with which to cut the Dado rail. If you are going to paint the rail, you can fill in any small gaps with decorator’s caulk (flexible filler).

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