How To Fix Skirting Boards
This guide is going to assume that you have already measured up for your skirting boards, however it will focus on all aspects of fitting skirting boards to walls including how to make those interior and exterior cuts.
Attaching skirting boards to your walls is actually a pretty painless process but you will need to ensure you have the right tools and materials before you start the job.
Tools and Materials List:
- Tape measure
- Mitre Saw or mitre box
- Coping saw
- Profile guage (optional)
- Silicone gun
- Decorator’s caulk
- Nails or pin gun
- Wood filler
- Gripper glue
This step by step guide to fixing skirting boards is designed to be easy to follow for competent DIY-ers and a best fit for most situations. If you are unsure at any point then we recommend you consult a tradesmen or a competent DIY-er.
Step 1 – Removing Existing Skirting
The first step will always be to remove the existing skirting board. Removing old skirting can be the trickiest part of the task so be sure to follow our comprehensive guide.
At this point, it is worth noting how the existing skirting was fixed to the walls. Stud walls may well have skirting nailed to the timber studs or they may have been attached using masonry nails or screws if there is masonry behind the plaster. If the wall has been damp-proofed then the best option is to use a gripper glue or strong wood adhesive so as not to cause damage to the damp-proofing.
Either way, make a mental note of how the existing skirting was attached and if attached to studs make a note of where these are positioned.
Step 2 – Measuring The Cut
You will have measured up when you ordered your skirting. We recommend between 10 and 20% for contingency when cutting so you should have factored this in when ordering.
We recommend that you start with your longest cuts so take your longest measurement along the wall and mark the skirting board with a pencil where the cut needs to be made. A mitre saw or mitre square is the best tool to use for both angled cuts and straight cuts.
Remember - if it is an angled cut for an exterior corner your measurement will be the inside of the angle so be sure that you are cutting with the extra that goes past the corner of the wall in mind.
To cut you should fix your mitre saw or square in to a workbench or vice which needs to be level in height with a trestle table. The end of the skirting that is being cut will be placed at the end with the saw and the other end will rest on the trestle table.
For exterior cuts you will need to take a 45 degree cut from the first board, and then the opposite 45 degree cut from the second board – this will make a perfect 90 degree corner between your two pieces of skirting board. Again, the mitre saw or mitre block is perfect for this.
Step 3 – Making Interior Cuts
When fixing your skirting board on interior corners you have two options. You can either use the same process as an exterior angle cut (in reverse) using a mitre saw or mitre block or you can make a profile cut which will allow one piece of skirting board to sit neatly in to another piece.
The first thing to do is to scribe one of the pieces of skirting board against the other so you can then cut out the profile using a coping saw. There are a couple of methods to scribe but the easiest is to use a profile gauge.
Using a profile gauge, hold it against the skirting board that is not being cut so it can copy the shape of the profile. Then place the gauge against the skirting board you will be cutting and mark it with a pencil.
Next is the trickier part – using a coping saw you will need to cut along the scribed pencil markings to make the two pieces fit snugly. If this is your first time using a coping saw we would suggest you practice on an off-cut of skirting before committing to a longer piece.
Step 4 – Fixing Skirting To The Walls
Again, this is another step that has multiple options with the easiest being to use adhesive to attach the skirting to the walls. If you have plasterboard or well plastered walls then instant sticking adhesive is the quickest and most effective means to attach skirting board.
When using adhesive instant grabbing glue you should apply blobs of adhesive or run two beads along the rear of the skirting before pressing in to position.
If you are screwing the skirting direct in to the masonry or in to wooden studs then start with drilling a pilot hole in to the skirting and the wall. For direct drilling in to masonry be sure to use rawlplugs. The screws will need to sink at least 30mm in to the walls.
Step 5 – Finishing Touches
The most satisfying part of the project is to apply the finishing touches to your newly fixed skirting board. Using decorator’s caulk you can fill any gaps at the top of you skirting by running it along the gap where the top of the skirting meets the wall using a silicone gun.
You can also use the caulk to fill any small gaps between your joins.
Now your skirting board is ready to be painted.
- Jason Mills