Fitting Skirting Board
Fitting new skirting board takes longer than you would think, but
don’t let that put
you off. It’s a very rewarding job, and not too tricky
Steps-by-step guide to fitting new skirting board
First, you’ll need to know how big your room is. Measure the
total length along the wall that the skirting board will cover, and add
20%, just to make sure.
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For fitting skirting board to brick and plaster walls you’ll need:
- Enough lengths of skirting board for the size you measured
in the beginning. Skirting
board usually comes in lengths of 2.4m
- Wood primer paint
- Top coat paint
- Decorator’s Caulk (and a cartridge gun for it)
- Tape measure
- A medium sized paint brush
- Brush cleaner
- Medium tooth hand saw
- Skirting board mitre block
- Countersink (like a drill bit, but cone shaped)
- 4mm twist drill bit
- 6mm (red) wall plugs (about 1 for every meter of skirting)
- 6mm masonry drill bit (check wall plug for exact size
- Enough 4x50mm countersunk screws (1 or 2 for every meter of
- A small hand drill ideally with hammer action
- Screwdriver to fit the screws
Painting skirting board
If you have time for paint to dry before you start fitting,
it’s much easier to paint skirting board before you fit it.
However you’ll still need to touch up the paintwork here and
there after fitting. Rest the skirting board on
some thin pieces of wood before you start, preferably on a couple of
small work benches
or something similar. If you rest the skirting on old newspaper, the
newspaper will stick
to the paint. Not a good thing!
Start with a single coat of good wood primer. Once dry, follow
this with a couple of coats of topcoat in your chosen colour. Oil-based gloss
topcoats can take a week to thoroughly dry, so I hope
you’ve found somewhere for it out of the way, and protected
from the rain! Water based gloss paints dry much faster, but the quality of finish is not
Painting skirting board is easier before fitting
Cutting to size
"Measure twice, cut once" as they say!
Where skirting board joins together at a 90° corner, they
should be cut at 45° each, as shown below. It’s far
too easy to cut the corners the wrong way around, so sketch out how you
plan to fit the skirting
board, and measure the lengths you need first.
Using a mitre block is a great way to ensure your cuts are
exactly 45°. Accuracy is key, and you'll usually find a simple mitre block can offer
greater accuracy than an electric mitre saw.
A bird’s eye view of Skirting board
For long sections of wall, join two sections together using 45° cuts as shown in the first
picture. External joints
can also be created with 45° cuts, shown in the second picture
Internal joints can be made with 45° cuts too, but in this case we have used a coping
joint. One section of skirting
is fitted snug to the wall. The second is cut at 45° and then
cut with a coping saw to follow the line of the other section of
skirting. These joints take more
time, but produce better results, especially where the walls are not at exactly 90° to each other.
should be attached firmly to the wall. If you have wood flooring,
it’s usually fitted on top, but for carpets, fit the
skirting first, and lay the carpet to
meet the skirting board.
If you’re plastering, you should do this before fitting the skirting.
can be fixed to the wall using glue, nails, or screws. Glue is quick and
simple, but you may find it difficult to press the board really close to the wall, thus
leaving big gaps to fill. Nails are good if you have something wooden to attach the board
to, but are useless for attaching to plasterwork.
If you’re attaching the board to a plastered or brick surface, first drill 4mm
holes in the board where you want to attach the screws. These should be about half way
up the board, and in a line along the board, not more than 1m apart. Each section
should be held by at least two screws, but if your wall is none too straight you may want to
put the screws closer together to pull the
skirting against the wall.
Use a countersink to ensure that the screw head will be flush with the surface of the
board when it’s attached, then hold the
up to the wall, and mark
through the holes with a screw or the drill bit to pinpoint where you need to drill into the wall.
Now use the 6mm masonry bit in a hammer action drill to make a hole to the depth
that the screws extends out of the
skirting board. In each hole fit
a wall plug, then screw the board in place.
Drilling 4 mm holes in the skirting
and creating a countersunk hole for the screw head
Once the countersunk holes in the skirting
have been made, hold the skirting up to the
wall, and mark, then drill the 6mm holes for the wall plugs.
Push in the wall plugs, then screw the skirting to the wall.
When all the skirting
is in place, use decorator’s caulk to fill the gaps, then paint
over the caulk and screw heads to leave a neat finish, and beautiful new
See also the skirting board frequently asked questions page.