How to Fit Skirting Boards

Skirting boards serve a dual purpose as not only do they protect the bottoms of walls, they can also be used for decoration.  Styles vary from the simple to the elegant, with traditional designs including Victorian and Edwardian being a popular choice.  For modern properties there are also some great, stylish skirting boards with a nice contemporary look.  The choice is yours!

Fitting skirting can be a potentially tricky job unless you know what you’re doing!  Here’s our useful guide to help you through the process.  Always bear in mind when doing a job like this that it pays to be careful and take your time – remember the age old DIY advice about measuring twice and cutting once!

You will need:

  • Tape Measure & Pencil
  • Multi-purpose Detector
  • Appropriate amount of Skirting
  • Mitre Box
  • Saw
  • Suitable Adhesive
  • Panel Pins
  • Masonry nails/Wood Screws/Plasterboard Fixings
  • Hammer
  • Decorator’s Caulk or Wood Filler
  • Damp Cloth

Step by Step Guide to Fitting Skirting Boards

First measure up the entire room to calculate how much skirting you’ll need, always buy extra to account for any mistakes.

Use a multi-purpose detector to locate any pipes and cables in the wall – you don’t want to hammer nails into these!

Start with the longest piece of skirting, you can use off cuts from this for shorter walls.

The longest wall may require two or more lengths of skirting, if so you’ll need to create a smooth join between the two pieces of skirting.

Measure the remaining distance that needs covering between the end of the first board and the corner of the wall. Mark this out on the second piece of skirting.

Using a mitre box, saw the opposing 45 degree angle. This will be the opposite of the angle cut on the first board, to allow the boards to fit together nicely.

Test fit the join by placing the boards together and trim if necessary, until you are satisfied.

Internal Corners

When joining skirting at an internal corner, cut one length so it butts against the wall at a 90 degree angle.

Take the second piece of skirting and use the mitre box to cut a 45 degree angle.

Use a coping saw to then cut away the angled section of wood, follow the line of the mitre you have just cut, to leave a profile that should slot smoothly over the first piece of skirting.

External Corners

Measure up and mark out the length of the first board that you will require, cut a 45 degree angle at the end.

Measure the length of the second board and cut the another 45 degree angle, this will allow the two pieces of skirting board to meet at a point creating a right angle.

Test fit until perfect, glue along the join with adhesive to stick the two boards together. Wipe away any excess adhesive and if necessary use panel pins for extra hold.

Fixing the Skirting Board to the Wall

There are different approaches you can take to attach your skirting board to the wall; this will depend of the material the wall is made out of.

You can either fix the skirting board to the wall using nails, or glue it using adhesive.

All joins should be stuck into place with adhesive; hold both pieces of skirting together firmly and once fixed into place, wipe away any excess adhesive with a damp cloth.

Finishing off the Job

The final join you’ll need to make is that between skirting and the door frame, for this simply cut a straight 90 degree angle. You may need a hammer to gently tap these last pieces in to place.

If you are planning to paint your skirting board, you’ll need to cover up any nails that are showing with decorator’s caulk or wood filler, to ensure you get a nice finish.

Finally run a line of decorator’s caulk along the top edge of the skirting board where it meets the wall, to fill any gaps. Wipe away any excess to keep everything looking tidy and your skirting board is installed and ready to be painted!  We recommend using “10x tougher” skirting board paint.