- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
- Specialist wikis
Last edited 17 Apr 2023
Dado is a term that has come to have different meanings depending on the context and the country it is being used. It's origin is borrowed from the Italian for a die or cube, originally in Latin datum for the same.
 Dado in classical architecture
In the classical order or classical architecture, dado refers to the plain portion of the pedestal or plinth (on to which sits a column), it is the part between the base, which is normally stepped and the cornice which may have a decorative trim.
The Georgian period (1714-1830) with 4 King Georges (and one King William if the period up to 1837, the Regency period is also included), might be described as neo-classical, because it was heavily influenced by and borrowed from Roman features, one of which being the dado.
The Dado rail was a practical solution as well as a Roman reference. Chairs in dining areas would have been positioned up against the walls when they were not in use, and as such the the dado rail was introduced as a practical device to protect those walls (often with delicate wall coverings) from the chair backs. This location a few feet off the ground also corresponded in terms of proportion approximately to the location of the dado pedestal section of the plinth of a column in reference to classical architecture.
 Dado rail in Victorian architecture
During the early Victorian period dado rails were less popular as dining chairs were generally positioned under the table when not in use, so were not practically needed. However towards the end of the period it grew in popularity merely as a decorative device, often with wood panelling beneath and accompanied by picture rails higher up on the walls.
The popularity of the decorative dado rail continued into the Edwardian period and most Edwardian entrance areas would have dado rails on the walls, either with or without wood panelling below. The device in both late Victorian and Edwardian homes may also be seen recreated in ceramic and located in bathrooms and kitchens as a border to the tiling, slughtly higher up than they would have been in the original Georgian period.
In the US and Canada, dado normally refers to a cut or slot placed a right angles within the length of a timber to aid the location of another adjoining piece of timber, such as a shelf. In the UK the same cut is referred to as a housing and in European English a trench, the key characteristic being that the cut is at right angles to the timbers grain unlike a groove which runs with the grain, or a rebate (rabbet in the US) which is cut at the end or a timber length. The tool used to make the cut might be referred to as a dado set or dado blade and the slight variations of the cut described as;
Through dado joint runs from one edge to the other opening the sides to the cut.
 Stopped dado
Stopped dado joint runs through one egde but stops before the second edge.
Half dado joint is similar, though on one side the cut meets a rebated cut (or rabbet) along the edge.
- Architectural styles.
- Classical orders in architecture.
- Elements of classical columns.
- Greek Classical orders in architecture.
- Hood moulding.
- Keel moulding.
- Roman Classical orders in architecture.
- Running dog pattern.
Featured articles and news
Fropm practice to research and the business of materials.
Terms, histories, theories and practices.
Alteration and everything else before demolition.
And CIOB's response.
Presidential update from CIAT's Eddie Weir PCIAT.
Rates freeze, NI cuts, full expensing; early election?
Could this be a remedy for condensation, damp or mould?
Unlocking a Healthier Tomorrow
Call for ministerial group and National Retrofit Delivery Plan.
The Great Transformation 1860–1920. Book review.
Including the devolved governments, CIOB, ECA, APM and IHBC.
AT awards small to medium size project category winner.
Formal and informal adaptive re-use or new use of buildings.
Temperatures hit new highs, yet world fails to cut emissions (again).