Whether you are renovating an old house, building a new one or adding an extension, there are plenty of essentials to plan for: wiring, plastering, flooring are some of the more obvious things, but one element you mustn’t overlook is the skirting boards.
Skirting boards are an integral part of a room, so let’s consider their function, style and installation:
What are skirting boards for?
Skirting boards are used to hide the seam between walls and floors. Not only do they helpfully conceal the join and bridge any extension gap, they also act as an important design feature in a room, adding a clean, finished look. The other function of skirting board is to protect the walls from a wet mop when cleaning the floor.
Types of skirting board
They come in a range of designs – both their height and profile can vary a lot, depending on the style you are going for. Period properties tend to have a deeper and more elaborate style of skirting board to complement high ceilings and original features such as ceiling roses, coving, architrave etc. Whereas a modern, minimalist property with few or no architectural details will more likely suit a contemporary skirting board to edge off the rooms in a clean and smooth way; although simple, they still look elegant and come with a variety of design features such as grooves, steps, bullnose edges or chamfered style.
As well as a variety of designs, there are different options when it comes to materials, too. Usually people choose between MDF and pine. Skirting board specialists, Skirting World recommend their MDF material as a superior alternative to softwood as it is also moisture resistant (they also offer a lifetime guarantee as standard). However pine skirting boards are of course perfect for staining or varnishing, which may suit the style of your property more.
If you plan on painting the skirting boards, why not have them ready primed? As this will provide a smooth base, cutting down on your prepping and painting time.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for, or you have a missing or damaged section that needs replacing, go for a bespoke service to create your own design or match your existing skirting board.
One great feature you can get with some skirting boards is a rebate option – this means there is an empty space behind the skirting board face, ideal for concealing cables and wires from view. And if you really want to save yourself time and effort, did you know that you can get MDF skirting board covers? This is such a convenient option for any room that needs a facelift, without the hassle of removing the old skirting first. They look exactly like normal skirting boards, but with a large rebate at the rear to fit straight over the originals.
How are skirting boards fitted?
If you are used to DIY, you’ll probably want to have a go at fitting new skirting board yourself. It’s not too difficult a job and there are lots of video tutorials online. The key thing to note is that you will need to mitre corners, inside corners and external ones. Why not practice on some off cuts first.
You can fit new boards to the wall with screws, or use an appropriate adhesive. To fill the gaps between the top of the skirting and the wall, you need to use decorator’s caulk. This is an easy job, again there are how-to videos on YouTube and decorating websites. The caulk gives a lovely, professional finish to the job!
Other things to bear in mind
If you’re carpeting a room, add the skirting boards first to give the carpet fitters a nice neat edge to work up to. If you’re installing laminate flooring, you can put this down before the skirting board and sit the skirting on top of it for a neat finish. Otherwise, you will have to fix laminate beading around the room to neaten the edges.
If you can’t decide on a design, it’s a good idea to order a few samples so you can try them up against your walls and see which you prefer. Don’t forget that those more ornate designs may require a bit more dusting and cleaning. Something more simple like a bullnose style won’t collect as much dust!