How to Fit a Skirting Board
If you’ve recently bought skirting boards or are planning on buying some soon, it’s important to understand how to fit a skirting board.
Skirting boards are used to cover joints where the floor and wall meet. It protects the bottom of the wall and also hides the gaps that are necessary to cope with the contraction and expansion which all homes go through.
Most skirting boards are already fitted in your home, unless you’re building a home from the ground up. However, replacing your boards is easy and is a great way to give your home a nice refresh.
Before You Start: Materials and Tools You Need
Before you get going, you need the following tools and materials to fit or replace a skirting board:
- Skirting Board
- A strong adhesive
- Decorator’s caulk
- Wood Filler
- Screws and Nails
- Mitre box
- Mitre Saw
- Coping saw
- Tape measure
- Silicone Gun
- Bolster Chisel
MDF is the most popular skirting board material because it’s easy to fit, won’t tarp, has zero imperfections (like knots) and is made to a high quality. If you are using oak skirting boards, we recommend that you coat the back of your boards with wood preservative.
Different fittings work better than others when fitting skirting boards, but this depends on the way your wall is constructed and the previous fixings that have been used. With masonry walls, you should be able to use screws or nails quite well. If you have stud walls, oval wire nails are your best bet, especially when fixed right into the studs for grounds.
You can reuse the same fixing points if your previous skirting was placed into them. Just make sure you mark the position on your new boards and use lost-head nails to fix them onto.
If you’d rather not do any filling and your walls are very straight, a strong adhesive can place skirting on the walls with ease. If you’re attaching a skirting board to a damp-proofed wall, you will need to use an adhesive to avoid using screws and nails.
How to Remove a Skirting Board
You likely need to remove your current skirting board to replace it with a new one. This isn’t a straightforward process, but you can do it with our advice.
To prevent damage to the plaster, use a small piece of wood behind any tool so it doesn’t come into direct contact with the wall.
Using a hammer, knock the bolster chisel down so it goes between the skirting board and the wall. From this, gently lever the top edge away from the wall with enough space to fit the blade of a crowbar. Doing this should reduce the amount of damage and make the job as quick and easy as possible.
Fit Your Skirting Boards
Now you’re ready to fit your new skirting boards!
Start with the longest wall that has internal corners. Measure the wall and then mark the measurement on the top of a length of skirting, so you know exactly where you need to cut.
This is where you will use your mitre box or mitre saw. Cut the left hand of the skirting board first and use a vice or workbench to secure your mitre tool. Put the left-hand side of the length into the mitre tool - you can use a trestle to rest the other side of the skirting on - and make sure this is level with the base of the tool to create an accurate cut.
Ensure you protect the face of the skirting by placing a piece of wood between the face and mitre tool. Then proceed to tighten the screws to hold the skirting in place. Use your saw to cut the left corner mitre. Repeat this step for the right-hand mitre.
If you’re using masonry nails to fix your skirting board, try to fit them to existing points where possible. If you’re not using existing points, make sure to fix the boards roughly every 600mm. You must make the fixing at the highest plaint part of the skirting board - normally around 10mm below the design part. Check to make sure no pipes or cables are behind the fixing before carrying on.
We recommend that you use lost-head nails when fixing skirting boards if you have timber grounds.
When screwing a new board to the wall, drill a pilot hole and place appropriate wall plugs before putting the screws in.
If you’re attaching a board to a stud wall, you must use a stud detector to find the studs and then use oval wire nails to fix skirtings to studs.
If you’re planning to use an adhesive to secure your skirting to the walls, you must use a strong adhesive.
While applying adhesive to the back of the skirting, make sure it is covered evenly - we recommend a zigzag style line. After the adhesive is on, press the skirting into place. This must be held in place until the adhesive has set.
Cutting Skirting Profiles
You don’t have to mitre your skirtings when fitting them. Another process you can do is called profile cutting.
To cut the shape out of your skirting board, you require a profile gauge. If you don’t have a profile gauge, move onto step 3.
To fit your skirtings by cutting profiles, you will need to fit the first board right into the corner. The second board will need to be cut at the end using profile cutting so it can cover the first piece of skirting.
Make sure the end of the first board butts up to the wall when you fit it. To copy the shape of skirting, you should hold your profile gauge against the fitted skirting piece.
Use your profile gauge to make where you need to cut the second piece of skirting, allowing it to fit over the first piece. Hold the profile gauge against the correct side of the second length of skirting, then draw around the profile gauge with your pencil.
Step 3 (without a profile gauge)
If you don’t have a profile gauge, you can trace the profile using a different method. You will need an offcut of the skirting that you can hold against the piece you need to cut. Just hold the offcut at 90 degrees to the piece you are cutting and draw around it.
Now you’ve traced out the profile, use the coping saw to cut along the marking. The more precise you are, the better the finished piece will look when fitted.
Push your second piece of skirting into place to check it fits. You can make minor adjustments here if you need to get it to be a perfect fit.
If you’re planning to complete a DIY project and need skirting boards and architraves, browse the complete range on Skirting 4 U and buy online today for excellent prices and fast delivery.