Picture rails have been around for a long time. They started installing them in homes made of plaster so that you were not putting nail holes in the plaster because it was so hard to patch up. They also add a touch of elegance to the room.
Picture rails would be great in rental properties so that tenants are not putting holes all over your walls.
To install a picture rail in your home or rental property you’re going to need a tape measure, a saw, nails, level, a hammer or nail gun, and a punch set and hammer and a chalk line. Wood glue is optional but will add strength which is important if you are planning on hanging heavy pictures from the picture rail. A stud finder is also a great tool to have if you don’t know where the stud is. However you can also find the studs by thumping the walls with your fingers, where it sounds less hollow is where the stud is. Although some people can’t hear the slight difference in sound, so if you are one of those then you may want to invest in a stud finder.
Next you need to know where the pictures are going to hang on the wall them self. The rule of thumb is to have the center of the picture at eye level. Take your largest picture place it on the wall at eye level. Mark the top of picture so you know how far from the ground the picture hangs.
Now determine how far you want the picture to hang from below the picture rail. Will you be hanging it with a simple picture wire which you don’t want to see a lot of? Or will you be hanging it from a beautiful ribbon that you’d like to notice? This will help determine the height of your picture rail. Or you can simply measure approximately 7 feet from the floor.
Mark the height in each corner of the room.
Use a chalk like to snap a line across the entire wall. You can use a level on the line to make sure it is level prior to snapping the line or after you have snapped the line use a piece of picture rail (also known as chair rail just using it in a different spot on the wall) line it up with the chalk and use a level to make sure the line is level. If it is not you can simply wash it off with water, allow the wall to dry and then snap the line again and try again.
Once you have your line it’s time to locate the studs and start installing the picture rail. Mark your studs along the chalk line.
Now take a piece of picture rail and nail it into place following the chalk line and using the stud marks to know where to place your nails (you will want the nails to go in the studs). Keep checking to make sure you are staying level as you put the pieces up.
In the corners you will want to either use a square block that you kind find with the base board in the store (this is easiest since you don’t have to cut angles), or you can cut the ends to a 45 degree angle.
Once you have all the picture rail up, go back with a punch set and hammer and set all the nails that you used to put the picture rail up so that they are just below the surface. You can use wood putty to fill in the nail holes and then stain or paint the picture rail to match your décor.
To hang your pictures from the picture rail simply place nails into the picture rail so they stick out enough to hang the pictures from. If you are installing this in your own house you can even use decorative hooks in the picture rail to hold the picture wire or ribbon. Just remember that hooks often are screwed in so they will leave a bigger hole if you change your mind.
When you do change your mind you simply take the nails or hooks out of the picture rail and fill the hole in with wood putty. It is better than having to spackle an entire wall!!
For more tips and advise on picture rails please check out http://www.hgtv.com/home-improvement/picture-rail-molding/index.html .