The Different Types of Skirting for Flooring: Exploring Timber, PVC, and MDF Skirting
Flooring is an essential aspect of any building or home, and skirting boards are an important part of that flooring process. Skirting, also known as baseboards, is an architectural element used to cover the joint between the floor and the wall. They not only serve a practical purpose, such as hiding unsightly gaps, protecting walls from damage, and insulating the room, but they also contribute to the overall aesthetic of a space. In this article, we will explore the different types of skirting available for flooring, including timber skirting, PVC skirting, and MDF skirting, discussing the benefits and drawbacks of each.
Timber skirting is the most traditional and widely-used type of skirting board, made from various hardwoods and softwoods, such as oak, pine, and walnut. This type of skirting is known for its durability, long-lasting quality, and natural beauty.
Benefits of Timber Skirting
- Aesthetics: Timber skirting boards provide a classic and elegant appearance, enhancing the overall look of a room. They come in various designs and styles, from plain and simple to intricately carved, allowing for a high degree of customisation.
- Durability: Timber skirting is highly durable and long-lasting, as it is made from solid wood. This means it can withstand wear and tear for an extended period, making it an excellent investment for your home.
- Easy to stain or paint: Timber skirting boards can be easily stained or painted to match the colour scheme of any room. This versatility allows homeowners to achieve a consistent look throughout their property.
Drawbacks of Timber Skirting
- Cost: Timber skirting can be more expensive than other options, such as MDF or PVC skirting, due to the higher cost of the raw materials.
- Vulnerability to moisture: Timber skirting can be susceptible to termite infestation, warping, swelling, and rotting when exposed to moisture or high humidity levels, making it less suitable for bathrooms and kitchens.
- Installation: Timber skirting requires more expertise and specialised tools for installation compared to other types of skirting, which could be a drawback for DIY enthusiasts.
PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) skirting is made from a synthetic plastic polymer and is a popular alternative to traditional timber skirting. This type of skirting is known for its low maintenance, affordability, and water-resistant properties.
Benefits of PVC Skirting
- Waterproof: PVC skirting is highly water-resistant, making it ideal for rooms with high moisture content, such as bathrooms and kitchens.
- Low maintenance: PVC skirting requires minimal maintenance, as it is resistant to wear and tear and does not require painting or staining. It can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth.
- Affordability: PVC skirting is generally more affordable than timber skirting, making it attractive for budget-conscious homeowners.
- Easy to install: PVC skirting can be easily installed with basic DIY skills and tools, making it more accessible for those who prefer to tackle home improvement projects themselves.
Drawbacks of PVC Skirting
- Aesthetic limitations: PVC skirting may not offer the same warmth and natural beauty as timber skirting. It can sometimes appear less sophisticated and may not suit all interior design styles.
- Environmental concerns: PVC is not considered an eco-friendly material. It is derived from non-renewable petroleum products and can release harmful chemicals when burned.
Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) skirting is an engineered wood product made from wood fibres combined with resin under high pressure and temperature.
Benefits of MDF Skirting
- Affordability: MDF skirting is generally less expensive than timber skirting, making it a cost-effective choice for many homeowners.
- Consistent appearance: MDF skirting has a smooth and uniform surface, free from knots and imperfections often found in natural wood. This makes it easier to achieve a consistent finish when painting or staining.
- Easy to install: MDF skirting can be easily cut, shaped, and installed with basic DIY skills and tools, which is attractive for homeowners who prefer to tackle their own projects.
- Resistance to warping and swelling: Unlike timber skirting, MDF skirting is less prone to warping and swelling due to changes in humidity and temperature.
Drawbacks of MDF Skirting
- Less durable: MDF skirting is generally less durable than timber and PVC skirting and may be more susceptible to damage from impact, such as dents and chips.
- Vulnerability to moisture: Although MDF skirting is less prone to warping and swelling than timber, it can still be affected by water, especially if it is not adequately sealed. This makes it less suitable for areas with high moisture content, such as bathrooms and kitchens.
- Aesthetic limitations: While MDF skirting can be painted or stained to resemble natural wood, it may not have the same warmth and appeal as genuine timber skirting.
- Environmental concerns: The production of MDF can involve using formaldehyde-based resins, which can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. This may raise concerns for those with allergies or sensitivities to chemicals.
Timber skirting offers a timeless, classic look and durability but may be more expensive and susceptible to moisture-related issues. PVC skirting provides water resistance and low maintenance at an affordable price but may not have the same aesthetic appeal as natural wood. MDF skirting is cost-effective, versatile, and easy to install. Still, it may not be as durable as timber and PVC skirting and can be vulnerable to moisture damage. Ultimately, the choice of skirting for your flooring should be based on your specific requirements, budget, and personal taste. By understanding the differences between timber, PVC, and MDF skirting, you can make an informed decision and choose the perfect skirting to complement your flooring and enhance the overall appearance of your home.