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How To Cut & Fit Skirting Boards
How To Cut & Fit Skirting Boards

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How To Cut & Fit Skirting Boards

Fitting skirting boards for the first time? We share our top tips on how to cut and fit skirting boards like a pro!

Step 1

Before you start fitting your skirting boards, you need to know how to join them and how to fix them to your wall. The internal corners that face inwards and external corners that meet outwards are the most common joints. Use a bevel to measure the corners accurately, and a mitre saw to cut the joints precisely. This allows the shape of the skirting board to flow through the room seamlessly.

Mark where you want to cut on the back edge of the skirting board. Make a note of what direction you need to cut the angle.

Always cut from the front to the back of the skirting board to help prevent damage as you saw through the wood. Grip the skirting board tightly and cut along your markings.

When you are cutting a long length of skirting, always make sure you support the opposite end. Use a trestle to ensure the skirting board remains level with the base of the mitre box as you saw through it. If you do not have a trestle, a stack of skirting boards will do the trick.

Step 2

After taking a brave step and cutting through the first board, you will need to ensure that it forms a smooth, tight joint. We recommend using fine sandpaper to get rid of any splinters or sharp, rough edges, and tidy it up a bit. Any residue can affect the fit. If there is a gap in any part of the joint, you can use a sharp chisel to shave the skirting board down gradually, until it is perfect.

For internal corners, it is better to cut a scribed joint, or coped joint. This is where one section of the skirting board is cut square and the adjoining end is shaped to the profile of the skirting. This creates a nice, tight joint and is suitable for plain skirting boards and more intricate designs.

Using your mitre saw, cut the end of the skirting board that needs to be shaped at a 45° angle. This will provide you with a profile line of the skirting board. Use a jigsaw or coping saw to follow the line carefully - back-cutting the section at a slight angle to allow for any irregularities.

For external corners, it is best to use a mitred joint. The most common angle in 90°, so it requires you to cut both lengths of skirting boards  at 45°, so they can join together seamlessly. The same theory applies to different degrees of outside angles.

If you need more than 1 length of board to cover a single wall, you need to cut lengthening joints. You can butt join 2 sections of skirting together. However, using a mitre can be far more effective. A lengthening joint coupled by a mitre is easier to line up, offers more of a surface area for glue, and sits more flush - resulting in a sleeker finish.

Step 3

When fixing a skirting onto a masonry wall, you will need to use masonry nails or screws as well as rawlplugs. If attaching the skirting to a timber stud partition wall, you can use a stud detector to locate the studs.

If you are using an adhesive, make sure that you apply it to the back of the skirting board in evenly spaced out spots at regular intervals. Make sure you also apply the glue to any external mitres. Place the bottom corner of the skirting to the floor, just in front of where you want it, and push firmly against the wall. If the wall is flat, you should not need any additional fixings to secure the skirting board. However, if your wall is curved, you will need additional screw fixings to draw the skirting board against the surface effectively.

If you are using screws to fix your skirting board, you should mark up the skirting board so that the fixing points are 2 cm below the start of the chamfer (sloping surface at the edge) and at 60 cm intervals.

Use a pipe and cable detector to ensure there is nothing behind the wall that you are using. You do not want to drill into any pipes or cables. If you do detect anything, move along to another area. Once you are happy with the location of the fixings, drill a pilot hole into the skirting board using a wood drill bit.

Use a countersink for each fixing hole. Ensure that the countersink is big enough to allow the screwheads to sit below the face of the skirting board. Once you have done this, you can place the skirting in position and mark the wall through the screw holes. Make sure that you only mark the wall directly behind the skirting so that there are no visible marks on the exterior wall once finished.

Drill the holes into the wall. You can use masking tape to mark your drill bit and match the length of your rawlplugs, so you know when you should stop drilling. Push the rawlplugs into the drill holes, so they are flush against the wall. They might need a gentle tap to get them into place. Fix the skirting board onto the wall by screwing it into place. If there are any remaining holes, fill them with colour matching adhesive.

Step 4

Use a decorative caulk to effectively seal the gap between the top of the skirting board and the wall. Gently wipe a damp cloth along all the edges of the join to remove any excess debris and dust to create a smooth finish. Viola! You are all done!

Fitting skirting board is easy when you know how, but can be daunting if you have never done it before. You can be unsure what method is best to use, which products you will need to purchase, and what tools are required. We have a few more pointers below to help you out.

What Are Skirting Boards & What Are They For?

Skirting boards are the trims that sit at the bottom of a wall where it meets the floor. They can be installed throughout an entire room.

Skirting boards cover up the join between the wall and the floor. They are suitable for all types of flooring, such as carpet, laminate, floorboards, and tiles. They obscure joins, conceal gaps, and neaten edges so that the room looks much neater and tidier. Skirting boards can be plain and functional, or they can be decorative and add to the decor.

Skirting boards also offer the walls some protection from shoes, vacuum cleaners, furniture legs, and more. 

What Are the Different Type of Skirting Boards?

There is a range of popular skirting boards types that you will have seen without noticing. You may have even seen normal offcuts of timber used for a rustic look. 

Some of the most common skirting boards profiles include bullnose, chamfered, ogee, torus, ovolo, pencil round, and square.

Skirting boards also come in all types of materials, such as plastic, hardwood, softwood, and MDF.

Regarding DUY, pine boards are the easiest to cut, fit and fix. MDF boards could be considered the most difficult to work with.

Why Should You Choose To DIY?

Cutting and fitting skirting board yourself takes bravery, but there are many benefits of taking the job on. 

  • It is cost effective. A lot of tradespeople will charge you through the nose for materials and labour. However, you can buy or hire everything you need for less and save a fortune in labour bills. We will help you out with a list of necessary materials later in the blog.

  • It is fun! Taking on something different and learning a new skill is both challenging and rewarding.

What Is Required For The Job?

You are going to need a bunch of materials to cut and fit your skirting board, but don't fret! We are here to help. First, get some safety goggles, protective gloves, knee pads and a dust mask. Working safely is always a priority.

You will need a pipe and cable detector, mitre saw, power drill, wood drill bit, countersink drill bit, masonry drill bit, tape measure, pencil, glue, wood filler, masking tape, panel pins, lost head nails, rawlplugs, zinc plated screws, sheet timber, filing knife, a bevel, fine sandpaper and a damp cloth. It looks like a lot of gear, but you can find most of the above at a reasonable price online.

Hire Your Tools With National Tool Hire Shops

We have a wide range of professional power tools and other equipment available for hire nationwide. Our range of power tools includes drills, saws, angle grinders, concrete breakers and more. We also have a range of Mitre Saws available. Some of our equipment is available in 110v or 240v. If you are working at home, you can hire 240v tools without needing a transformer. We supply RCD Power Breakers with our 240v equipment for safety. If tools and equipment are not available in 240v, you can hire the 110v version. However, you will need to hire an electrical transformer as an accessory so that you can use the equipment at home without a problem. You can add a transformer to your order during online checkout, or when ordering over the phone.