Tuesday, 25 March 2014

How to install skirting boards (and how not to...)

Well, the skirting boards have been installed. More importantly, they haven't dropped off yet.

It was a learning curve. Here are my top tips:

  •  Before you order excessively long skirting boards, you might want to measure your hallway so that you know they will actually fit through the door. 

  •  REMEMBER that many skirting boards are double sided (Ogee and Torus) so don't have a little freak out that they don't match and go running out of your house shouting at the delivery guys as they're pulling away, ''They don't match!''  You'll just feel like an idiot when they point this out. 

  •  Remember the double sidedness also when you're cutting and installing your boards. Unless you're going for an 'eclectic mismatched' look. (It's not going to fool anyone.)

Imperfect external corner... past caring at this point.

  •  Internal corners for some reason are meant to be like this...

The first is attached as a butt joint. The second has the profile of the first drawn onto it and you cut along the line with a coping saw. I don't know why you can't do an internal mitre cut. Perhaps because rooms aren't square?

If you want to do it like a pro, have a little practise with the coping saw on an off cut to make sure you can do it.

  •  Watch this guy...

He explains those strange corners far better than I ever could and makes it easy. It's also thoughtfully subtitled in case you don't speak Australian.

  • If like me, you're going for primed MDF boards, wear a mask when you saw as it's toxic stuff. 

  •  Get more adhesive than you think you need. If you don't you will run out half way through a board and have to scrape it all off. 

  •  I thought it would be a good idea to have a join under a radiator as it wouldn't really be seen. Dumb move. I totally cocked it up and ended up with two joins. It's the first thing you see when you walk in the room as you don't put furniture in front of a radiator. Doh.

Disaster! And don't look at that shoddy radiator, I shall paint that too at some point.

  •  Decorators caulk is your new best friend. It makes everything perfect. Or just perfect enough...

  •  Primed boards mean there's no hurry to paint them all. This is a huge plus because you'll be so bored of them by the end of installation, you really won't want to paint them.

It took me a day and a half with a simple mitre saw and no power tools. I have no muscles so it was tough going. I also had to cut a conduit whilst it was attached to the wall, without damaging the cable that was inside it. I had to remove other bits of architrave round the door and the cupboard which was a real faff.

I'm really getting no enjoyment from my DIY at the moment. It's going okay, but not spectacularly good. The worst thing is, when I finish something, I just think I have to do it all again in two more rooms and the landing so it seems never ending and a little overwhelming. There's my whinge for the day.

As I say, I've lost interest in skirting boards and haven't painted them yet. I always find, the best thing to do when you're 98%  finished on a project is to start a newer, much more exciting one. With this in mind, I dragged my husband off to Travis Perkins where we argued about timber and eventually ordered five 3.9metre long scaffold boards. Yeah baby! They come on Thursday and I cannot wait. I will not be scaffolding with them.
Watch this space...

Oh and that desk tidy? It's also great for keeping your cats tidy...

Bad Bobby.

Ivy and Elephants


  1. Em....you are powering ahead in your house. We have come to a screeching halt right at the halfway point....we have a half brilliant white house and a half crap brown. Not to mention a new master bathroom and kitchen :-) xxxx

  2. I'm impressed but have now resolved to never do skirting boards. We have about 6 different profiles downstairs and I've stood vases in front of most of the joins because I am such a past caring about flooring/walls/cracks person.
    I had an identical desk tidy when I was a teenager, it was dark green. I wonder if it's the same one ...

    1. It most surely is the very same one Terri, as it looks dark green under the rust. And it whispered that it misses you. xxx

  3. I'm going to sound like one of those bloggers who just comment "nice shoes" when you've put your heart and soul into a post if I just admire Bad Bobby so in the absence of anything profound to add to the skirting board saga I'll share the fascinating fact that some of the skirting in our house is limestone, weird or what? xxx

    1. Wow! That really would be a bugger to cut. xxx

  4. Gawd, I'm not so surprised you aren't really enjoying the DIY at the moment, it sounds like very hard work and not especially creative (not in the same way your furniture makeovers and cupboard doors, I mean). But that's one room's skirting done at least, and it looks really good.
    And a tidy cat is always A Good Thing.
    Keep going, EK! xxx

  5. like your cat-tidy; have to get one....;-)

  6. Gorgeous cat! I am glad my husband's a dab hand at DIY. I, too, have rather a lot of skirting boards that need sorting out. Top tip if you're not using MDF - prime and paint them before fitting, then you just have to touch up over the decorators caulk afterwards :)

  7. You've done a great job, and I still think that floor is the best I've seen!
    Thankfully most of the small 1950s skirting in this house had been replaced with profile stuff before we bought it, and I've given up caring about the skinny stuff in the kitchen and toilet! I'm currently dreaming about new doors for the kitchen cupboards, as a few months worth of 'no longer having a car' money will pay for them, or a new window for the lounge, or a new back door, or...... the list goes on!
    And, we recently acquired a bath (which is currently in the garage), so the shower of doom should be a thing of the past later this year!

  8. Respect Girl! I would never attempt a job like this, it looks far too complicated and laborious.
    Love the cat in the In tray.

  9. So glad all my skirting boards are original (although most could do with a lick of paint) I can't imagine having the patience to work all of that out let alone actually doing the work! A bit of filler and sanding will sort out that external corner once you can bring yourself to look at it again.

    1. You're very lucky! I hope you're right about that corner...x

  10. You're a DIY machine, woman - I'm so impressed! But not surprised you're bored of skirting boards; 1.5 days on something which is essentially fancy upright planks can't be fun. You've inspired me to get on with some of my own DIY though; today I painted over some marks in the hall where I accidentally sprayed my suncream straight over my shoulder and onto the paintwork. That happened last summer, and repainting took me less than three minutes. Why did I not fix it sooner?! xxx

  11. Wow ... I have so much respect for you! M x

  12. Nice work done by You. But what if we have a rounded corner , guide me about that .I have two rounder corners at my home.

    1. I'm sorry I don't know! Maybe a series of little angles that go round the corner? Good luck!


I love to hear your comments!