Picture Rails

Questions, answers and advice for people who own or work on houses built during the 20th century.

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westvillager
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:54 pm

Re: Picture Rails

Post by westvillager »

The picture rails in the Dining Room & the 3 second-floor bedrooms are mounted 6 inches below the ceiling. We have 8'-6" ceiling heights, so the rail falls above the top of both the door trim & the window trim. In the front entry hall & the third floor bedrooms the picture rails are mounted 1/2" below the ceilings. Picture rail is conspicuously absent from the living room. I suspect it was once installed in there as well, but I can find no physical evidence to prove this.

jsmit
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:17 am
Location: Greenville, SC

Re: Picture Rails

Post by jsmit »

My picture rails are also mounted up close to the ceiling, about 1/2" down (makes it a pain to cut in the edges when painting the ceiling). There are a couple rooms where the previous owner put up sheetrock over the original plaster and installed crown moulding in place of the picture rail. I added a new picture rail about 5 or 6 inches below the crown.

Nettie
Posts: 345
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2009 9:39 am
Location: West Central Minnesota

Re: Picture Rails

Post by Nettie »

We have picture rails in almost every room. You can see them in this bedroom picture that I was taking of the floor stripping process. We have 10 foot ceilings and the rail is above all the windows and doors.
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Sekhmet
Posts: 272
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 10:27 am
Location: St. Louis, MO

Re: Picture Rails

Post by Sekhmet »

Here is a better angle on mine to show the rail relative to both windows and doors, which I snapped today (please excuse my dust). The ceilings are 10'.

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The Edward A. Ohlms House, c. 1908
Historic Old Town, St. Charles, Missouri

Marylu
Posts: 224
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2008 1:05 am

Re: Picture Rails

Post by Marylu »

We have both a chair rail and a picture rail in the dining room. The ceiling color comes down to the picture rail, then a faux paint treatment down to the chair rail and then wallpaper from the chair rail to the baseboard. Our ceilings are 12 feet tall and the windows are set quite a bit higher than the doorways. (I've never gotten around to hanging the pictures from the rail.) :oops:
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1868 Schoolhouse, Southern Wisconsin
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http://fp1.centurytel.net/ladybug/index.html

pqtex
Posts: 1319
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2009 9:03 pm
Location: Beaumont, Texas

Re: Picture Rails

Post by pqtex »

I feel like such a dunderhead! I have one room with the trim still there...and I thought it was just trim! Maybe it's picture rail. :oops: I have 11 foot ceilings and the trim is about half-way between the window trim and the ceiling. hmmmm... Are there special characteristics to distinguish it from other types of trim?
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My great-grandparents' 1913 farmhouse

Too bad the spam got so bad. Some of us have been spending time at the new community for folks with a love of old houses at wavyglass.org

Sombreuil_Mongrel
Posts: 2189
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 10:12 am
Location: WV

Re: Picture Rails

Post by Sombreuil_Mongrel »

pqtex wrote:I feel like such a dunderhead! I have one room with the trim still there...and I thought it was just trim! Maybe it's picture rail. :oops: I have 11 foot ceilings and the trim is about half-way between the window trim and the ceiling. hmmmm... Are there special characteristics to distinguish it from other types of trim?
Hi,
It's shaped at the top so a picture hook can hook it. The top edge is not flat, but rounded inward toward the wall. The painters love to fill this with caulk occasionally. (Esp. if it was 1/4" below the ceiling).
Casey
Image

catya
Posts: 661
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2005 10:55 am

Re: Picture Rails

Post by catya »

Where do you find the hooks to hang things from a picture rails? Seems like I saw them a while back, but now that I need them I can't seem to find.

donoinmass
Posts: 193
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 12:37 pm
Location: Winchendon, Mass

Re: Picture Rails

Post by donoinmass »

My picture rails are right under the crown molding, so I guess its all how the builder/designer wanted it to look. As far as getting the hooks - VanDykes has them: http://www.vandykes.com or I just went to my local frame/art store and bought a handful of them from them for like $20
Don O'Neil
'The Orange Whitney House - 1896'
Winchendon, MA
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Sacto Diane
Posts: 592
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 1:04 pm
Location: Sacramento
Contact:

Re: Picture Rails

Post by Sacto Diane »

Sombreuil_Mongrel wrote:
pqtex wrote:I feel like such a dunderhead! I have one room with the trim still there...and I thought it was just trim! Maybe it's picture rail. :oops: I have 11 foot ceilings and the trim is about half-way between the window trim and the ceiling. hmmmm... Are there special characteristics to distinguish it from other types of trim?
Hi,
It's shaped at the top so a picture hook can hook it. The top edge is not flat, but rounded inward toward the wall. The painters love to fill this with caulk occasionally. (Esp. if it was 1/4" below the ceiling).
Casey
Here's a pic that gives an example. This is just one of many designs/styles but it gives a profile of what it would look like. This is very similar to the style in my home

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Diane

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