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to dado or not to dado

(17 Posts)
minipie Thu 13-Nov-14 14:49:42

We have a Victorian house and are considering installing a dado rail in the hall and stairs (3 flights).

The reason would be so that we can have a darker colour below to hide marks and a lighter colour above (so it's not all too dark).

The problem is that ideally the shape of the dado rail would match the shape of the skirting that goes up the stairs. But the skirting has loads of curves in it (all different) and would be a real b*gger to get the dado to match. In fact I'm not sure it would even be possible.

So: what would you do:

1) straight dado, never mind that it doesn't match the skirting. Would look like this
2) no dado
3) somehow try to find a clever carpenter who can curve the dado to match and will charge an arm and a leg to do so.

Elysianfields Thu 13-Nov-14 14:56:14

If you strip the walls back to bare plaster you might find you can see where the dado would have been, then you just need to put it back in the same place in the same way. Or make friends with the neighbours and see if anyone has an original so you can copy.

I could see where my dado had been so put another exactly in the same place and surprisiongly high.

minipie Thu 13-Nov-14 17:05:13

Thanks Elysian! I presume any original dado would have matched the height of the handrail and the shape of the skirting. I'm just not sure if any carpenter is going to be able to reproduce that these days, or if they can, I think it would be very expensive?

mrsfarquhar Thu 13-Nov-14 17:42:50

You might find something similar enough. We had to replace skirting in one area in a large open plan kitchen, diner. We found something the same height but with a different curve detail and I've never thought about it since the day it was installed. Carpenter would be costly I think.

RaphaellaTheSpanishWaterDog Thu 13-Nov-14 19:25:10

We did this in our last-but-one (Victorian) house, that also had three flights but also a mezzanine. We didn't need to strip back the paper ('twas smooth stuff so could just paint a nice coat of F&B over it, lol!) and we went for the straight dado, as per your link....

It looked fine and tbh we had far more pressing places to spend our money - the house being a huge project, requiring conversion back from four flats to a family home - such as actually having to rebuild the staircase and find a joiner that could replicate the original curved banister rail/newel.....

InsertUsernameHere Thu 13-Nov-14 19:45:08

I'm not sure the original would have been curved to match the skirting. Either strip off the paper (when we did this we established our dado was not original but an 80s addition) or say hello to your neighbours. Do you have a picture rail?

Greencheese Thu 13-Nov-14 21:18:11

Option 1, I do like a nice dado rail. They don't have to match the skirting. Plain will look nice.

Tyranasaurus Fri 14-Nov-14 07:16:05

I don't think dado and skirting board have to match. I don't have any dado in my house but I have rooms with the original picture rail and skirting and they are similar in levels of ornateness but they aren't the same.

Have a shop around there's bound to be something that compliments the skirting, e.g. www.thevictorianemporium.com/store/category/dado_rails/all

If you really want to match the skirting you could get a cutter made, but that gets more expensive. The other thing worth trying is little old timber merchants/joiners. Sometimes you'll find they have a good selection of cutters already made. I remember reading a story about someone who went to one of these little shops, looking to replace some skirting, and the old man went and rummaged around in the back and brought out the original cutter for his skirting boards.

minipie Fri 14-Nov-14 20:52:19

Ooh more replies!

Thanks everyone. I will visit a couple of neighbours (from memory I think they don't have dados either - maybe there never was one?)

no we don't have a picture rail in the hall/stairs, though we do in the living room. No dado anywhere in the house.

Interesting that people don't think straight dado with curved skirting would look odd... the picture I linked to looks a bit odd to me but it might be one of those things that I'd notice for a day or two and then never think about! and yes maybe the Victorians wouldn't have had matching either...

Tyrana it's not that I'm trying to match the mouldings of the skirting (the skirting is very plain with just a small bead at the top) it's more the shape of the skirting I would be trying to match - the curve it draws on the wall when it changes level - hard to explain, the picture my op linked to makes more sense!

InsertUsernameHere Fri 14-Nov-14 21:03:58

If you don't have a picture rail in the hall and no other dados in the house I would guess you wouldn't have had one. What date is your house? Also what are your stairs like? Do the spindles go directly on to the treads or on to a stringer? (Can help to date the style of house)

Tyranasaurus Sat 15-Nov-14 06:18:07

A-ha, I understand now- I've never seen that before. I'd say definitely NOT straight dado then. Have a look for flexible dado and see if that would work.

minipie Sat 15-Nov-14 09:23:01

I'd never heard of flexible dado but just googled it and that could be the answer! Thanks Tyrana. do you know how it works ie how do you get it to stay in the shape you want??

Insert the house is 1881 I think and the spindles run into the treads. It's red brick, semi circular bay on ground floor, quite a bit of stained glass (front door and some windows).

Tyranasaurus Sat 15-Nov-14 10:46:41

I'd assume lots of nails and/or glue smile

wonkylegs Sat 15-Nov-14 11:09:11

We have original dado in the hall (1870's villa) it doesn't exactly match the Victorian skirting.
Partly because our skirting upstairs is slightly different upstairs to downstairs (both original but more fancy downstairs and up the stairs than in the upstairs hall & bedrooms, it's even plainer in the 'back of house rooms')
The dado isn't plain though it's quite ornate and similar not the same and still looks fab.
Lots of shapes here find something in keeping, even if it doesn't match.
You can get mouldings cut to match but it can be very expensive. We had to get a section of skirting cut to match when we blocked up a doorway, the section was only 2m long but cost £400 mainly for the special cutters.

wonkylegs Sat 15-Nov-14 11:13:31

Sorry misunderstood - ours the dado is straight where the skirting curves. It looks fine but our curves are quite acute so not far off straight anyway.

SheffieldWondered Sat 15-Nov-14 11:26:10

I would go for option 1. I don't think it would look odd at all. You could get a few different profiles for your straight dado and see what you like the look of.

7to25 Sat 15-Nov-14 11:55:12

We have a curved skirting (up to the maid's room) and the dado is "dog-legged" this was original to the house ie a straight bit, a small pice vertically and then an angled bit, all above a curved skirting.
I also know how to curve a dado. You make multiple vertical cuts that almost reach the long edge a couple of mm apart....like 20 to 40 cuts and then the wood can be bent, slowly and moisture may be needed. My Dad showed me how.

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