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How to fit skirting boards

Posted by BC Profiles on

Skirting boards are essential in most homes, offering a decorative border on walls whilst also helping aid the natural expansion that takes place in a house. Whether you’re looking to fit skirting boards in a new home, or you’re planning on replacing old skirting boards, we’re here to help ensure you get the job done. In this guide, we’re looking at how to fit skirting boards, how to paint skirting boards and how to remove skirting boards, with expert tips from the BC Profiles team.

Let’s get started.

What tools do I need to fit a skirting board?

Materials Tools
Skirting Board Mitre Saw/Mitre Box
Adhesive Pencil
Screws Coping Saw
Drill Tape Measure
Wood Filler Silicone Gun
Decorators caulk Hammer

How To Fit Skirting Boards

Step 1: Carefully measure the area that you’re adding skirting boards to, we advise adding an additional 20% to the figure as a contingency for cuts.

Step 2: Clearly mark on each piece of skirting which side you want to face into the room and which way up the board should go.

Step 3: How to cut skirting boards: Start with your straight edge cuts. These are the boards that have square-edge cuts at either end (usually used for either side of the chimney breast). Measure the amount you need and cut using a mitre saw or mitre box.

Step 4: How to attach skirting boards: The most common way to attach skirting is with instant-grab adhesive. Apply blobs of adhesive along the board and press firmly onto the wall, taking care to wipe away any excess adhesive from the wall. If you prefer to use screws, mark the position of the wooden studs and using a pilot drill, drill the wall at these points. The screws should be long enough to go through the board and go in at least 3cm into the wall or studs. Cover the holes with wood filler before painting over.

Step 5: Once your straight edge skirting board is on the wall, it’s time to look at scribing your next board. To scribe skirting board, cut a 45-degree angle into the board you’re using with a mitre saw or box. Use a coping saw to cut away the waste section and you will be left with a skirting board that will slot into the section already attached to the wall. This can be a tricky job so, we recommend practising with a piece of off-cut before going for the real thing.

Step 6: Ensure that your scribed skirting board fits cleanly into the one already attached to the wall. If you are happy with the fit, mitre the other end of the board to fit the space and attach using step 4. You should always attach a square end to the scribed end, never scribe both.

Step 7: How to fix skirting boards: If you have an external corner, mitre both pieces of your skirting board at a 45-degree angle to ensure a neat join. To do this, measure both boards to the corner and mark the length on the back of the boards before using the mitre to cut. Ensure that the second board you cut is in the opposite direction to the first so that they meet when placed together. We recommend fitting external corners in pairs so that you can adjust to fit the boards together, this is less hassle than trying to cut a board to fit an already attached board.

Step 8: Once your boards are fixed to the wall, fill any gaps between the wall and the top of your skirting board with decorator’s caulk. Run a damp finger along the join to ensure a neat finish and allow to dry before painting your chosen colour.

How to paint skirting boards

Once your skirting boards are fixed to the wall, it’s time to paint them. As a general rule, your skirting board should follow the same colour tone as the wall - to play it safe, opt for a crisp white. A 2-inch (5cm) brush is ideal for most skirting boards.

  1. Sand your surface to give the paint a good surface to bond, this will also help prevent chipping in the future. Use a dry, soft brush to remove any loose dust or debris.
  2. If your skirting boards are dirty, use a solution of mild soap and water to give them a good clean before painting. We find sugar soap works well for this.
  3. Apply masking tape around the edge of the floor to help create clean lines with a crisp finish. If painting skirting boards with carpet on the floor, ensure you press the edge of the tape down to stop paint slipping underneath the tape.
  4. Start painting by working the paint into the brush up to half of the bristles. WIpe any excess paint away and cut into the top of the skirting first. Apply your paint evenly, working in sections around a metre long. Your final stroke should be along the length of the board.
  5. Once dry, apply a second coat.
  6. Once the second coat is dry, remove the tape carefully. If you have placed masking tape along the carpet, press down on the edge of the tape to break the seal to ensure a clean finish.

How to remove skirting boards

Skirting Board Removal Tools
Chisel
Hammer
Wrecking Bar
Trimming Knife

Step 1: Loosen the skirting board by running your trimming knife along the top of the board where it joins the wall. This will stop the paint on your wall from sticking to the board as you remove it.

Step 2: Use a hammer to carefully ease the chisel between the skirting board and the wall, start at one end and work your way along.

Step 3: One the board is loose, use the wrecking bar to pry it off the wall. If you’ve attached the board using screws, professionals advise pushing the board off against the wall stud. This offers more support and helps avoid plaster being damaged.


For the tools you need to get the job done, choose BC Profiles. We have thousands of products in stock from the biggest manufacturers, with over 25 years of industry experience. From skirting boards to drainage and PVC building materials, you’ll find everything you need right here.