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How to Fit Skirting Boards

Whether you plan to change the look of a room by swapping the skirting boards or take on this essential second fix job in your self-build project, you’ll find it both satisfying and relatively straightforward if you follow this DIY step-by-step guide to fitting skirting boards.

If you are 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.

(MORE: Wooden Flooring Buyer's Guide)

(MORE: Stone Flooring Buyer's Guide)

(MORE: Alternative Flooring Buyer's Guide)

Tool List

Materials

  • Pencil
  • Mitre saw or mitre box
  • Coping saw
  • Tape measure
  • Hammer
  • Silicone gun



  • Skirting board
  • Screws
  • Instant grab adhesive
  • Decorator's caulk
  • Nails
  • Screws
  • Drill
  • Wood filler

Step-by-step

1. Measure up the area you are fitting out with skirting boards and add 20 per cent onto the total figure as a contingency for cuts.

2. Some skirting boards have a different profile on each side of the board. Decide on the profile that you are going to use and mark this face on all the boards with a pencil to prevent a mistake being made later on.

Fitting Skirting Boards - Steps 3 and 4

3. To give yourself a simple start point, measure up, cut and fit (SEE STEPS 10 AND 11) any pieces of board that can go in ‘square-edged’ on both ends (as in either side of a chimney breast, for example). Mitre saws (AS SHOWN) and mitre boxes can both be used to get a good straight cut.

4. If you are working out from an internal corner then the next board to go in needs to be ‘scribed’ so it will slot into the board you have just fitted. To do this, first cut a 45 degree angle in the board using a mitre saw or mitre box.

Fitting Skirting Boards - Step 5 and 6

5. Use a coping saw to cut away the waste section of the mitre and you’ll be left with the profile of the skirting board (INSET). If the moulding is fairly intricate it can take a bit of practice to get right — have a go with some offcuts first.

6. Check the fit of the two boards. If you’re happy with the way they look, you can cut or mitre the other end of the scribed board to length. Plan the way your boards go in to avoid the need for a board with scribes at both ends. Scribing both ends of a board calls for extremely accurate measuring and cutting. By simply leaving one end of the board square and scribing the adjacent board into that, you instantly get round the problem.

Fitting Skirting Boards - Steps 7 and 8

7. Where boards meet on an external corner they are mitred at 45 degrees to form a neat joint. Measure to the corner and then mark this length on the back of the board to be cut.

8. Put the board face out into the mitre saw, line the saw up with the mark you made in the last step and cut.

Fitting Skirting Boards - Steps 9 and 10

9. To create the opposite side of the mitre follow steps 7 and 8 again but remember to cut the 45- degree angle in the opposite direction so the boards meet like this.With the mitre saw you create the opposite cut by moving the saw to the other side of its axis.

10. Fix the boards to the walls as you cut them to size, but fit mitred external corners in pairs so you can adjust them to fit together accurately. Instant grab- type adhesive is 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 (INSET). Press the board firmly to the wall so the adhesive makes good contact, and wipe off any excess straight away.

Fittindg Skirting Boards - Steps 11 and 12

11. If you want to screw the boards to a plasterboard wall, mark the position of the wooden studs and then put a pilot drill through the skirting board and the wall at these points. If you are fixing to a solid wall, run a pilot drill through the skirting board to mark the wall behind every 600mm. Drill and rawlplug these holes. Before you insert the screws, countersink the holes with a larger drill bit so the screw heads will disappear when fixed. Screws should be long enough to go through the board and at least 30mm into the wall or studs behind. Use wood filler to cover over the countersunk screw holes before painting.

12. Any gaps between the wall and the top of the skirting board can be filled with decorator’s chalk. For a neat finish, run a damp finger along the join.

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28 Comments

when cutting outside 45dgree mitres the cut starts to go off line thus when the two sides join together they are off. iam using a 550mm precision deep cut mitre saw. Any advice on how to solve this before i run out of skirting. Cheers
Hi, I'm trying to do this myself and so far the straight walls are sorted, however I have come across a slight curve on one of the walls. Obviously the plasterer didnt take into account we were going to put skirting. The gap between the deepest part of the curve and the skirting board is almost and inch!!! is there a way to bow the skirting into shape without snapping it? or is is better and easier just to cut skirting in small sections and work around the curve? Thanks
Can anyone tell me if there are such things available as a corner profile that would enable me to butt up two different sizes of skirting? In our kitchen we have 7" board already fixed but we have a small archway through to the dining room where we would like to fit a 9" board as it will continue on through to the living room where we already have 9" fitted. I basically need some kind of profile that will fit to the two corners of the archway where both peices can butt up to as I am not able to mitre the two.
can you buy skirting board to go over existing 4inch board?
hi, really good tutorial but i was wondering where you got your mitre saw with those two black holders/clamps attached to it as ive been searching for one like that for ages and cant find one anywhere. regards ross ps .... i would be grateful if you would email me your answer as i know i will check my emails and not forget to come back to this page!!
Hi, Can anyone advise me on how to cut a section of the skirting off, please? I want to fit a fire place so it is flush to the wall but the skirting is in the way and the only way of doing this is to remove part of the skirting. Please help.
very useful guide. pictures are extremely helpful too. thank you
I love how you put up pictures for every single step of the process. This helps us users much more.
Can you please recommend a suitable mitre saw? The manual saws available in B&Q, Homebase and Wickes have terrible reviews so I am reluctant to go for them. Is a power mitre saw a good idea for skirting? I'll have to make about 20 mitre cuts.
Probably a really stupid question but seeing as I have never fixed skirting boards before I could do with a bit of advice. Having the walls plastered and then planning on fitting skirting boards before having a carpet fitted. Do I fit the skirting board flush to the floor and then the carpet fitter fits the carpet between the gripper rods and the face of the skirting board or do I leave a gap between the skirting board and floor so that the fitter fits the carpet past the gripper rod and then under the skirting board? Cheers for the help
I was looking for a way to layout scribe and found it. So easy when you know how. Thankyou
Hi I have had wood flooring fitted but thought would try and fit skirting boards myself. However, where the old skirting board once was is just a recess. How do I go about attaching skiting board at bottom as there is no just gap. Do I need put some batons in place to attach the boards to. Some advice would be really appreciated.
I want to fix a skirting to the front of a conservatory - ie pvc. The grab fix adhesive has not worked. Can I screw the skirting to the pvc?
Hi, I have reposted your question in the discussion forum as you are more likely to receive a response to your question there. The link to your question is http://www.homebuilding.co.uk/forum/diy-advice/help-skirting Kind regards, Sam Joy (Online Editor)
CAN YOU PLEASE TELL ME THE BEST TOOL TO TAKE OFF SKIRTING THATS BEEN ON FOR OVER 4O YEARS IAM THINKING OF PUTTING PVC SKIRTING ON NOW REASON BEING IT TAKES TO LONG NOW TO PAINT IT AND AT OUR AGE IT WILL SAVE OUR OLD BACKS THANKS ROBERT CAIRNS
@AnaZaple To get skirting to go round bends in a wall you get a good slim wood saw (like a tenon saw) and make a row of vertical cuts on the back of the skirting, about 1 cm apart for tight bends, further apart for shallow bends. Don't cut all the way through to the front of the board. This should allow the skirting to flex more easily around the profile of the wall. Use decoraters caulk (see above) to fill in the grooves where visible. @Joanne Thronton There is a tool you can use to make cuts in hard to reach places, Bosch do one, search for 'Bosch All Rounder' in your favorite search engine for an example of one. It's quite a lot of money for a tool to do a single job, so do consider whether it's worth shelling out for something you may not use often. Having said that, it's also very handy for cutting round the bottom of door frames when fitting wooden flooring and other awkward cutting jobs. Andy
Use a flat crowbar. Get your hammer, knock the crowbar behind the back of the skirting and this should prise it off.
Be sure to score the top of the board between the wall and board with a knife first as you may pull down half the wall when ripping off the skirting board!!!
No sorry have to take off old first...dead easy though..... see other comment re how to do it simples!!! : )
There is a tool for every job, I use a sonicrafter from Worx, it has a fine tooth blade, it vibrates at a very high speed. plunge the blade up the line on your skirting and bobs your uncle
use a drill with a small bit in the chuck and mark a line where you want to cut it drill holes along this line as close together as you can then use a wood chisle to complete the cut.You should then be able to remove the section.You can then use a file to neaten the cut up
You can buy a http://www.screwfix.com/p/dewalt-dt2074-qz-flush-cutting-jigsaw-blade/70326 and use that to cut straight. Will need to finish it off with a handsaw but that will be easy as blade will have cut a guiding slot for you.
As a keen DIyer ,not a professional, I would fit the skirting board flush to the floor BEFORE the carpet fitter fits the carpet. This way, the carpet fitter has a straight edge to work with & you won't have to prise off the skirting if you want to fit new carpet in the future. Also , a painter would not be able to mask off the carpet effectively if the carpet went under the boards.
Hi, I've re-posted your question in the discussion forum as I think you are more likely to gain a response there. The link to your question is http://www.homebuilding.co.uk/forum/diy-advice/can-you-recommend-mitre-saw Kind regards, Sam Joy (Online Editor)

Do I really need to remove the skirting boards prior to laying a new wooden floor? The current floor has carpet down. Also (not totally relevant but..) is there a 'standard' depth engineered wooden floor you recommend that will mean i won't need to skim the bases of the doors, avoiding the need to remove them at all saving lots of time and hassle. So far all the engineered floor samples we've had through seem to be different depths and it's difficult to see which will work without starting to pull up all the carpet and underlay... although i have a feeling that may be the only way?

Hi A Potter,

I have re-posted your question in the Q&A area as you are more likely to receive a response there. The link is http://www.homebuilding.co.uk/community/qa/remove-skirting-boards-prior-...

Kind regards,
Sam Joy (Online Editor)

what do i attach mu new skirting boards to?? anyone please?
thanks

Hi Laurie,

Could you be a bit more specific please, I'm not sure I fully understand your question?

Kind regards,
Sam Joy (Online Editor)