How to Fit a Dado Rail
In this guide, we will showcase how to fit a dado rail. We have included a step by step guide and a video below:
Installing dado or chair rail is a very similar process to fitting picture
To start, you need to create a mark on the wall at the height you want the dado rail to sit. Traditionally, this would be around 900mm up from the floor. Recently, dado rail has become more of a design feature rather than a functional moulding (originally it was used as a way of protecting the plaster from damage by chairs and other furniture). Because of this, you may consider positioning the dado either a third or half the total height of the wall, depending on what you feel would look best in your room.
When you have decided where the dado rail is to be located, use a tape measure and pencil to mark on the wall at the chosen height.
Next, hold your spirit level up to this mark ensuring the ‘bubble’ is centred, and create further markings at regular intervals along the spirit level. Repeat this process to mark out the entire wall.
Once the wall has been marked out, you will now use a chalk line to make the dado rail position very clear. At one end of the wall, use a hammer to fix a nail in the position where your pencil marking is. Affix one end of the chalk line to this nail and extend it across the wall. Ensure the line is following the pencil guide marks you have drawn, and when everything is lined uphold the chalk line flat to the wall.
With your free hand, pinch the string of the chalk line and pull it back from the wall before sharply releasing. This will propel the chalk line towards the wall, and the impact will transfer chalk dust from the line to the wall in the required position. Lightly blow along the line to remove any excess chalk and leave a clear guideline.
Take the first length of dado rail and line it up with the chalk guide so that one end is tight into a corner of the wall. Hold it in position with one hand, and pin it at the centre point of the length using a nail gun with the other. Once the centre is pinned in position, continue along the length of the dado adding nails at regular intervals to secure it in position.
TIP: You can also use a grab adhesive on the reverse of the dado rail for an extra sturdy installation.
Repeat the marking out
Use a mitre saw or mitre box to cut the dado length at 45 degrees in the same direction as your marking. Then, using a coping saw, cut out the profile so that the second piece will fit over the profile of the piece you installed first.
This piece is now ready to install in the same way as before, using pins and/or grab adhesive to secure in position.
Repeat the above steps to fit the remaining lengths of dado rail. Once fitted, you can use decorators caulk to fill in any gaps where there are joins, as well as along the top edge of the dado to create a seal between the rail and the wall. This will result in a clean, professionally finished installation.
About the Author
Kieron Miller is the Managing Director of Skirting 4 U and has been working in the skirting board and online retail industry since 2012. Kieron has been using his extensive product knowledge and problem-solving experience to help both trade and private consumers all over the country find the perfect skirting board products for their projects. He continues to innovate new solutions and product ideas as the market continues to grow.