All About Skirting Boards And How To Fit Them

If you are a proud homeowner you may be looking to improve and renovate your home. There are so many things you can do to a home to make it look and function better, from replacing drafty windows and installing a new kitchen to replacing skirting boards and putting up picture rails.  These can all affect how a home looks and its performance too and how you interact with it. Installing or replacing skirting boards, for example, may not sound as glamorous as having a new kitchen but it can make a big difference to a room. Let's discuss skirting boards, what they are, why you need them and how to install them. 

What are skirting boards?

Skirting boards are designed to cover the lowest part of the wall by the floor and are generally made of wood. 

Why do I need skirting boards?

You may wonder why you need skirting boards in the first place but they do provide a few useful functions. Firstly they hide any uneven joints in construction materials, providing a neater edge. Secondly, they protect the wall from knocks or scuffs, saving you having to touch up the walls or even replace plaster.  Thirdly they can be decorative in nature and add a designer touch to your decor.

Types of skirting board

Skirting boards can be made of different materials but are generally made of hardwood, softwood or MDF (otherwise known as medium-density fibreboard).  Hardwood is the most expensive product but is the toughest and can take hard knocks, whilst softwood is cheaper and easier to sand down and stain but can be damaged easier as it's not so tough. Thinner MDF options like 3mm or 6mm are typically appropriate for the internal components of cabinets, whereas thicker MDF is commonly utilized for the primary panels to provide adequate toughness and longevity.

Before you start

Before you start you need to think about the room. Are you decorating the whole room or just replacing the skirting board? If you are decorating the room you need to do the skirting boards prior to hanging wallpaper or painting. Then you need to think about the material you are going to use. As mentioned above there are pros and cons of different types of skirting boards, and cost may be a consideration so think about the type of material you want to use and then if you are using a wood stain or paint to finish the look.  

Then measure the room accurately and add 20% on for mistakes and wastage. You don't want problems fitting it and then realise you need more. Then remove any old skirting board carefully before starting.

How to fit skirting boards

After you have the materials ready, you need to get everything else to fit it.  You will need a mitre box, pencil, tape measure, a tenon or fine-tooth panel saw, wood glue, nails and a hammer. 

I won't go into it in detail here as I find the best instructions these days are on Youtube so I suggest if you are a visual learner like me, search for how to fit skirting boards on there and see what you come up with.

For the finishing touches

If you are not buying ready finished wood then you may want to stain or paint the skirting after it's fitted in place. 
A good technique is to use low-tack masking tape to ensure you do not get paint or wood stain on the wall or use a paint shield. Normally, these are used against the carpet and the skirting board but can work well alongside masking tape in other areas. If you are using a wood stain, ensure the wood is clean and dry, read the instructions and then use the stain as it says on the tin.

If you are painting the wood, check out this article on how to paint skirting boards for the best finish.  The wood may need a primer first to stop the paint from sinking in. After you use the primer, leave it to dry and then paint with your choice of colour, although white is neutral and the most popular look. 

Then step back and admire your handy work. 

*Collaborative post


  1. It's nice to have clean white painted skirting boards, mine could do with a makeover as it has scuffs from the heavier hitting it.I did not realize it could be so easy to do.

    1. Skirting boards protect the wall and are easy enough to touch up.

  2. Skirting boards look so simple, but we found our during our renovation that fitting them is not! This guide is a great insight into them!

    1. Yes they are more complicated to fit than people first think!