Fitting a dado rail


Job description:

In the Georgian period it was fashionable to leave the dining room chairs against the walls away from the table and so a wooden dado rail or chair rail became fashionable to protect the walls from knocks. The dado rail would be positioned 3 to 4 feet from the floor. These days dado rails are fitted for cosmetic or decorative purposes to divide a large wall or to create a two-tone scheme for a hall or staircase.

Skill level: 1 – Beginner

Materials required:

  • Tape measure
  • Spirit level
  • Wood saw
  • Hacksaw
  • Mitre box
  • Hammer
  • Silicone gun

Step by step guide to fitting a dado rail:

1. Decide on a suitable height for the dado rail and check it will look aesthetically good.

2. Mark the height on the walls at each corner and then along each wall.

3. Cut an internal or external mitre at each corner, using a mitre box.

4. Put a small pencil mark on the piece of dado to be cut at the angle the mitre.

5. If the wall is longer than the lengths of dado available then cut one internal and one external mitre in each length at the joint.They can be held together with small nails with the head left below the surface and finished off with filler.

6. Cuts can be made with a fine bladed wood saw or a hacksaw.

7. Where the walls are masonry drill and countersink the rail, drill the wall and fit a wall plug - then screw the rail to the wall - finish off by covering the screw head with filler or plaster.

8. For stud partition or dry-lining walls, the options include screwing into the vertical studs or hollow wall plugs (for stud partitioning) or using a grip adhesive (for dry-lined walls).

9. Apply adhesive to the dado rail with a silicone gun and put it in position by knocking some panel pins underneath the bottom edge so it doesn’t drop down and out of level. Fill any small gaps in your mitres and along the top edge of the dado rail with decorators caulk using a silicone gun to give a great finish,ready to paint.

10. Once any filler or glue has been removed, sand off the surface and then paint, stain or varnish the dado rail as appropriate.

If you are unsure about the job, you might want to contact a local decorator.

The information provided in this guide is to be used strictly for guidance only. We recommend you always read the manufacturer's instructions.