Skirting, also known as baseboards or moulding, is an essential finishing touch for any room. It serves decorative and functional purposes by covering the joint between the floor and the wall while protecting the walls from scuffs and damage. Suppose you're looking to install skirting in your home. In that case, this guide will walk you through the process step-by-step, ensuring a professional finish. So, let's dive in!
Step 1: Measure the Room
- Begin by measuring the perimeter of the room to determine how much skirting material you will need. Use a tape measure and jot down the dimensions on paper.
- Remember that it's always a good idea to purchase slightly more skirting material than your measurements indicate. This will account for potential mistakes or damage during the installation process. A general rule is to buy 10% more than the measured length.
Step 2: Choose Your Skirting Material
- Skirting is available in various materials, including solid wood, MDF (medium-density fibreboard), and PVC. Consider your budget, desired aesthetic, and the room's moisture levels when choosing a material.
- Solid wood skirting offers a classic and high-quality finish. Still, it can be more expensive and may not be suitable for rooms with high humidity, such as bathrooms.
- MDF skirting is affordable and versatile as it can be easily painted or stained to match your room's décor. However, it may not be as durable as solid wood.
- PVC skirting is a waterproof and low-maintenance option, making it ideal for damp or humid areas.
Step 3: Gather Your Tools and Materials
Before you begin the installation process, make sure you have the following tools and materials on hand:
- Skirting boards
- Measuring tape
- Miter saw or mitre box with a handsaw
- Coping saw (for internal corners)
- Finishing nails or a nail gun
- Wood adhesive
- Wood filler
- Paint or stain (if desired)
- Painting supplies (if necessary)
- Silicone sealant (if necessary)
Step 4: Prepare the Surface
- Ensure that the walls and floors are clean and free of debris. If necessary, patch any holes or cracks in the walls using a suitable filler.
- If the room has recently been painted or had new flooring installed, allow adequate time for the paint or floor to dry before proceeding with the skirting installation.
Step 5: Cutting the Skirting
- Measure the length of the first wall and mark the corresponding length on the skirting board. Always double-check your measurements before making any cuts.
- Use a mitre saw or a mitre box with a handsaw to cut the skirting at a 45-degree angle. This will create a mitre joint, ensuring a seamless and professional finish when connecting the skirting to adjacent walls.
- Repeat the process for the remaining walls, ensuring that each piece has a 45-degree angle at both ends.
Step 6: Install the Skirting
- Start at an internal corner and apply a bead of wood adhesive along the back of the skirting board.
- Press the skirting firmly against the wall, aligning the bottom edge with the floor. Use a spirit level to ensure the skirting is straight.
- Secure the skirting to the wall using finishing nails or a nail gun, spacing the nails approximately 16 inches apart. Be sure to nail into the wall studs for a secure hold.
- Repeat this process for the remaining walls, confirming that the mitred corners fit together snugly. If necessary, trim the skirting slightly to achieve a tight fit.
Step 7: Cope Internal Corners
- If your room has internal corners, you will need to create a coped joint for a professional finish. Begin by installing the first skirting piece with a square end (90-degree angle) that butts against the adjacent wall.
- On the second skirting piece, cut a 45-degree angle at the corner using a mitre saw or mitre box with a handsaw.
- Use a coping saw to carefully cut along the profile of the mitred edge, following the curved line of the skirting's design.
- Test-fit the coped joint by placing the second piece against the first. If necessary, use sandpaper or a wood file to fine-tune the fit until the joint is seamless.
- Once satisfied with the fit, apply wood adhesive and secure the skirting with finishing nails, as described in Step 6.
Step 8: Fill Nail Holes and Gaps
- Use wood filler to fill any nail holes, gaps, or imperfections in the skirting. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application and drying times.
- Once the wood filler is dry, sand the filled areas smooth, blending them with the surrounding skirting surface.
Step 9: Paint or Stain the Skirting
- You can skip this step if you are using pre-primed or pre-finished skirting. Otherwise, apply a coat of primer to the skirting, following the manufacturer's instructions for drying times.
- Paint or stain the skirting in your desired colour or finish, using a brush or roller for even coverage. Apply multiple coats if necessary, allowing adequate drying time between coats.
- If you paint the skirting, finish with a clear topcoat for added protection and durability.
Step 10: Clean Up and Enjoy
- Clean up any debris, dust, or excess materials from the installation process.
- Step back and admire your newly installed skirting, which adds a polished, professional finish to your room.
Additional Tips and Tricks for Skirting Installation
To further enhance your skirting installation experience, consider these
tips and tricks:
- Acclimate the Skirting: Before installing the skirting, allow the material to acclimate to the room's temperature and humidity for at least 24 hours. This will help prevent warping or shrinkage after installation.
- Use Spacers: When installing skirting on uneven floors, consider using spacers to maintain a consistent gap between the bottom of the skirting and the floor. This will ensure a straight and level appearance.
- Corner Blocks: If you're not confident in creating mitred or coped corners, consider using decorative corner blocks. These blocks are installed at the corners of the room and eliminate the need for mitred or coped joints.
- Caulk the Top Edge: After installing the skirting, run a bead of paintable caulk along the top edge where the skirting meets the wall. This will create a smooth transition and hide any small gaps or imperfections.
- Protect Your Floors: When installing skirting, use a drop cloth or protective material to cover your floors, preventing any damage from tools, debris, or paint.
- Consider Expansion Gaps: If you're installing skirting in a room with hardwood or laminate flooring, leave a small gap between the skirting and the floor. This will allow for natural movement of the flooring materials due to changes in temperature and humidity.
By following these tips and tricks, along with the step-by-step guide, you'll be well on your way to a successful skirting installation. The end result will be a beautiful and polished room that you can be proud of. With patience, planning, and a little practice, installing skirting can become an enjoyable and rewarding DIY project.