At what height should I install my picture hanging system?

At what height should I install my Picture Hanging System?

The Gallery System’ and the ‘Slimline Art Hanging System’ are wall mount picture hanging systems and we often receive the question, ‘at what height should I place the track (or rails) on wall?  Let me walk you through all the considerations we discuss with clients when helping to make this decision. 

In general terms you want to go as high as you can allowing yourself the greatest amount of gallery space possible.  However, if you are lucky enough to have very high ceilings, you should firstly check to ensure that droppers are available in the appropriate length to suit and further, you should consider how the end user will add and remove droppers as pieces are changed.  It may or may not be appropriate to have staff or loved ones climbing high ladders especially when there may be no benefit to having the track so high – ie when the viewer can only enjoy the pieces from the floor.

The ceiling height is most regularly used as a guide, however, it is very much worth checking all the walls to ensure the cornice or ceiling is in fact straight and true.  Even a good ceiling can dip by a few millimetres here and there; we have seen some that dip by as much as an inch (25mm) – not visibly noticeable when going about daily life but very noticeable when a straight edge is placed against it.  If you are confident that your cornice or ceiling is straight, then by all means go ahead and use this as a guide or install firmly against it if possible.  If it turns out that it is not as straight as perhaps it should be, we highly recommend lowering the track height by 40 to 60mm from the lowest point and using a laser line or straight edge and pencil as a guide. 

If super height ceilings are not your problem or you don’t wish to use the ceiling height as a guide for the track, you should consider other visual elements in the room.  The traditional Victorian picture rail (for which we carry some great hardware by the way!) was regularly placed inline with the top of the doorways.  This and other similar cues, such as windows, might provide a sensible and aesthetically pleasing guide as to an appropriate height for your track.

Should you be installing the system on a masonry or brick wall, it is often best to allow 40 – 60mm of space down from any ceiling or above obstruction to allow room for a rotary hammer drill to do it’s work.  These are available in many different sizes but all are typically larger than a standard drill and therefore require some space.

In addition to the above, there are also some system specific requirements that will help you with the decision 

The Gallery System

If you are intending to, or you may in the future, use ‘The Gallery Lighting System’, then you must be aware that the track should be placed no higher than 2.7m from the floor; unfortunately above this height the effectiveness of the lighting system is diminished.  Further, the track must have 1.5cm of clearance from the top of the track to a cornice, ceiling or anything above to ensure you have room to add and remove the lighting wands as required. 

The Gallery System’ is fixed to the wall by passing a screw through the top of the track and as such, installing firm against a square set ceiling is an almost impossible task as there is not enough clearance for most power drills (and their chucks).  It may be possible where a cornice exists or removable ceiling panels are installed but this will need to be assessed on a case by case basis.

Slimline Art Hanging System

The ‘Slimline Art Hanging System’ uses specially made ‘wall anchors’ which fix to the wall with screws, over which the track is pressed into place (employing an interference fit for the engineers out there).  Our wall anchors have been engineered to include two tabs at the top which can be used help vertically align the pieces to a straight edge above such as a cornice or ceiling.  This generally will allow enough room for square set ceiling installations to install a screw on an angle, however, a ‘right angle drill attachment’ makes the job a great deal easier, especially if drilling into steal studs.  

Many customers will decide on the appropriate height for them once they have the system on hand; this is generally a very reasonably approach.  If you have any questions or would like to discuss the height at which you wish to install your track, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.  As always we’re delighted to help! 

Until next time, happy hanging!

Ed Banks.  

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