How to replace your skirting boards

When we moved into our house 4 years ago we immediately set work on replacing the flooring throughout.  Victoria wanted laminate flooring downstairs and by this point I knew listening to her was a good idea, because 9 times out of 10 she was right and had a good eye for interior design.

Our house was from the late 60s and I think it still had the original skirting boards so it made sense to scrap (recycle) them and replace with some nice new ones.  But what colour and style were we going to choose?  To be honest, at the time we didn’t put much thought into it which in hindsight was a mistake.  We should’ve spent a bit of time on Pinterest or taking inspiration from this skirting website skirting world.  After all they are the professionals when it comes to skirting.  Also, if you’re looking for something a little bit different and a bespoke fit or design they have a much wider selection compared to your standard DIY store and can make custom sizes to fit your requirements.

We ended up with a stained wooden skirting about 50mm in height, which looks pretty good but looking back I think we would have preferred a nice gloss white skirting.  Given the chance to redo all the skirting I would create something a little different, something original that isn’t too noticeable.

On to the fitting

There are a number of ways to fit your skirting, but you should go with the one you’re most comfortable with.  I’ve tried a couple of different ways in our house including screwing the board to the wall and glueing to the wall.  With both approaches a tube of builders caulk will be necessary to cover up any gaps and finish off to a professional standard.  Having white walls throughout the house also helps.

If you’re removing your old skirting it’s best to use a crowbar and/or a nice wide and flat wedged level to pull the skirting off.  Always check to see if the skirting has been screwed on before taking this approach.  If you feel too much resistance when levering the board, it’s best to stop and check around the board.  Always avoid putting too much pressure as you may damage or remove some of the plaster along with the skirting.

Once safely removed, if you need to repair the plaster you can use some basic filler or in some cases you may need to re-plaster parts of the wall.  Either way, it’s always best to work on a nice flat surface for the new skirting.

mitre saw
Mitre Saw Image

In most cases you will want to invest in a decent mitre saw, electrical or mechanical is fine, as this will ensure you can cut the wood at a 45 degree angle and leave it clean. Joining these pieces seamlessly will make the difference between and good job and a bodge job.  If you’re feeling creative I’ve seen some amazing joins on Instagram that will give you that added depth and unique look that not many other will have.

Once you’ve measured and cut all the pieces to length, double check they all fit and then it’s time to paint or treat the wood (if required).  We used an antique pine varnish to colour and protect the wood.  Once dry you can give the pieces a light sand and start glueing.  I used No More Nails to fix mine to the wall but I’ve seen people screw theirs. When glueing, ensure you have a good cover in a zigzag line all the way down the board, then quick fix into place and hold for 30 seconds until set.  You may want to put some pressure on the board for longer by leaning something against it.

Working with a nice square room should be easy for most DIYers.  When you get to stairs, octagon shaped rooms or even round walls then it’s worth calling in the professionals.

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