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Wed, Jan. 29

Ask the Contractor: Mantle required to hang stockings properly

A mantle serves many purposes in addition to providing a place to hang your stockings. (Metro Creative Services)

A mantle serves many purposes in addition to providing a place to hang your stockings. (Metro Creative Services)

We recently relocated to Prescott from North Carolina and coming from the South, we truly loved our well-styled ornamented and trimmed fireplace mantle for the holiday season. We have a lovely masonry rock fireplace however we are missing our beloved mantle. Where can we go in town to purchase a mantle that will give us years of enjoyment?

-- Bob and Helen, Prescott

A fireplace without a mantle is like pumpkin pie without the whip cream or the hot fudge sundae without the chocolate sauce. Mantles can add so much to the heart of a home. Mantles can be layered varying sizes of framed or unframed art, family photos, keep sakes and trinkets of all kinds.

Bill Searle and his wife, Helene, own Wade’s Furniture and they sell all types, sizes and wood species and finishes of mantles. Each of their wood fireplace mantles are crafted in the USA. Their mantles are beautifully crafted and are affordable and economical. We know that a hearth just isn’t complete without a mantle so stop in and meet Bill and Helene and let them help you transform your fireplace into a centerpiece.

Wade’s Furniture is located on Rhinestone Dr. Hwy 69 Diamond Valley area. Phone: 928-443-9233. In addition to mantles, this family owned and family run company specializes in rustic, western and cabin furniture and decor. They carry a wide selection of log, leather, and cow hide furniture. They also feature antler lighting and furniture, western lighting and decor, pillows, bedding, rugs, cowhides and many items made by artists right here in Arizona. At Wade’s Furniture you will find solid wood furniture made from aspen, cedar, hickory, pine, mesquite, 100-year-old barn wood and many more species of wood. Many of their furniture lines are available in custom sizes and many different finishes. All of their furniture is constructed with quality that will last for generations. Each piece is made with precision and care. Wades Furniture is truly a company that values their customers and they aspire to provide exceptional customer care to all.

Sandy, we need YCCA to be our judge and jury. My husband and I are having a discussion, not an argument yet, but I think I am right! Wallace is a DIY guy and we are going to install chair rail in the dining room. What is the proper height for chair rail? Wallace wants to install the chair rail at 50 percent of the wall height and I am saying that is way too high.

-- Pam and Wallace, Prescott

As we know chair rail is a lovely touch that adds a sense of sophistication, finesse and class to a room, even more so if you are planning to install crown molding. In talking with some local trim contractors, they all said that many DIY folks make the mistake of installing chair rail at the wrong height — a mistake that can make a room feel lopsided and out of proportion.

The purpose of chair rail and molding is to establish the scale and proportion of a space and no molding does this job better than chair rail because it visually divides the room and instantly allows you to read the size and scale of the space.

The old wives tail is that chair rail is to protect walls from damage caused by the backs of chairs. The truth is that architects as far back as the ancient Romans and Greeks used chair rails and wood trim to divide walls into visually pleasing proportions, often with different colors to accentuate scale. The name “chair rail” came into popular usage with the Shakers, who installed boards with pegs on dining room walls to hang chairs off the floor for sweeping and cleaning.

Our local trim carpenters place chair rails at one-third the distance of the ceiling height. For a standard 8-foot ceiling, the chair rail should be installed about 32 inches from the floor. Most people install chair rails too high on their walls. About 28 to 32 inches is an optimum range for chair rail height and lower is always better than higher. A good rule of thumb as they say is to install chair rail molding at 25 percent of the height of the room. In a room with a 10-foot-high ceiling, the chair rail should be 30 inches off the floor. The baseline width for chair rail should be 2-to-3 inches.

Remember to tune in to YCCA’s Hammer Time twice each weekend Saturday and Sunday morning at 7 a.m. on KQNA 1130AM/99.9FZM 105.5FM or the web Listen to Sandy and Mike talk about the construction industry meet local community partners, contractors and businesses. It’s fun and entertaining.

Sandy Griffis is executive director of the Yavapai County Contractors Association. Email your questions to her at or call 928-778-0040.

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