How to install skirting board…

I could personally write a very long blog about how NOT to remove skirting board, and I have a scar on my nose to prove it (the short version being do not use a very long screw driver in a crow bar type action, with your full body weight behind it!) but, as our blogs should deliver helpful “how to” information, this week I’m option for how to INSTALL skirting board.

Skirting boards are designed to cover the gap between flooring and the bottom of the walls. They are primarily decorative but also in place to protect the bottom area of the wall from damage. Skirting boards are also known as baseboards, floor moulding and mop boards. Skirting boards can be as basic as straight board nailed at the base of the wall to boards with many intricate details. Forestrall Timber and Fencing Merchants sell a range of skirting boards (torus / ogee, chamfered / ovolo, chamfered / pencil round) from £1.35+VAT per linear metre.

Once again, I must remind you that this information is not all my own.  I thank for helping me to discover my inner expert and for some additional tips. Some extra, more detailed information can be found on

So, what do you need before you start?  Obviously your chosen skirting boards, but also a mitre saw, air nailer or finish nails, a hammer, measuring tape, caulking (paintable), a pencil, coping saw, nail set and wood files.

Firstly, measure the perimeter of the room to determine how many metres of skirting board you’ll need.  Always buy a little extra (twenty percent is recommended) to allow for waste and bad cuts. If you’re going to applying a clear finish then you will only need to sand the boards, however if you are going to paint the skirting boards then you will need to prime them.

If you’re planning to lay a new wooden or tiled floor, do this before you fit the skirting boards for the neatest finish. If you’re carpeting, fit the skirting boards first. Carpet fitters like to have a clean, straight edge to work to and in the future you won’t have to tear the skirting boards off if you want to change the carpet.

Begin with the longest wall first to install the skirting board. Measure the length required and leave the uncut end longer than required. Mitre the end that will be in the corner at 45 degrees. Test fit it and trim as necessary.

It may be necessary to join a second piece of skirting board to the first one, to cover the length of the wall, in which case you will need to mitre both ends at 45 degrees, cutting one with the mitre saw head to the left side and the second cut with the saw head to the right. The skirting board will then join with only one cut line showing.

Nail the skirting board to the wall studs using either the air nailer or with finish nails and a hammer. If using a hammer, use a nail set to finish setting the nails and avoid hammer marks on the skirting board.

Instant grab- type adhesive is also a very popular way of fixing boards, particularly in houses with plasterboard dividing walls. To do this you can apply blobs of adhesive or run a couple of beads along the back of the board. Press the board firmly to the wall so the adhesive makes good contact, and wipe off any excess straight away.

Mitre the outside corners at 45 degrees, coping out the back side of the skirting board to get a neat, close fit. When the fit is almost perfect, switch to wood files to finish the trimming, taking off a little at a time until the fit is perfect. A bit of extra time spent coping and filing any joints in the skirting boards will make for a more professional-looking installation.

Fill in any line still showing with caulking, if you are painting, or wood putty, if you want a clear finish.

Caulk around the top of the baseboard to fill any gaps caused by uneven walls. Paint the skirting board the same colour as the walls.

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