How to Fit or Replace Skirting Boards: A Step-by-Step Guide

how to fit or replace skirting boards

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Whether you’re fitting skirting boards for the first time or replacing old ones, this step-by-step guide will walk you through the process, ensuring a professional finish.

The first thing you want to do is take measurements and put together a plan.

Begin by measuring the lengths of the walls where skirting boards will be installed. Take note of any corners, door frames, or other obstacles.

Plan the layout, considering the type of joints (internal, external, chamfered) based on your design preferences.

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The first step in fitting or replacing skirting boards is to measure the length of the walls where they will be installed. It is important to take into account any corners or angles, as these will need special cuts.

Here’s a list of cuts commonly used when fitting skirting boards.

Internal mitre joint

  • Used for internal corners where two walls meet.
  • Cut each skirting board at a 45-degree angle, so when the two pieces come together, they form a 90-degree internal corner.

External mitre joint

  • Used for external corners where two walls meet.
  • Similar to the internal mitre joint, cut each skirting board at a 45-degree angle for a clean fit at the external corner.

Straight cut

  • For sections of skirting that run along straight walls with no corners or interruptions.
  • Simply cut the skirting board at a straight 90-degree angle.

Scribe joint

  • Used when fitting skirting against uneven walls.
  • Instead of cutting the skirting at a 90-degree angle, scribe the profile of the skirting onto the board to follow the contours of the wall, resulting in a custom fit.

Copied mitre joint

  • Useful for irregular corners.
  • Create a template of the corner using a bevel, transfer the angles to the skirting board, and cut accordingly.


  • Used when a skirting board ends against a wall or another surface.
  • Cut the end of the skirting at a 45-degree angle to create a finished and polished appearance.

Stop splayed joint

  • For situations where the skirting board meets an architrave around a door frame.
  • Cut the skirting at a 45-degree angle to create a neat and seamless transition.

Chamfered joint

  • In cases where a more decorative finish is desired, a chamfered joint can be used.
  • Cut the skirting board at an angle to create a beveled edge, adding visual interest.

Once you know the length of the walls, the skirting board can be cut to size using a saw, making sure to leave a small amount of excess to allow for any adjustments.

Before attaching the skirting boards to the wall, it is important to prepare the surface by removing any old skirting boards, nails or screws.

The walls should also be cleaned and sanded to ensure a smooth and even finish.

Once the surface is prepared, the skirting board can be attached using adhesive or screws, making sure to use the correct fixings for the type of wall.

Tools and Materials Required for Fitting or Replacing Skirting Boards


Before starting the installation process of skirting boards, the following tools are required:

  • Mitre saw
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Hammer
  • Pry bar/Chisel
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill
  • Bradawl
  • Spirit level
  • Sanding block
  • Safety goggles
  • Dust mask


The materials required for fitting and replacing skirting boards are:

  • Skirting boards
  • Adhesive
  • Screws
  • Nails
  • Filler
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint or varnish

It is important to ensure that all the tools and materials are available before starting the installation process. This will help in completing the task efficiently and without any interruptions.

How to Remove Old Skirting Boards

Before fitting new skirting boards, it’s important to remove the old ones first. This can be a bit of a challenge, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be done with minimal damage to the wall or surrounding area.

Here are the steps to follow:

  • Start by using a pry bar or chisel to gently loosen the skirting board from the wall. Be careful not to damage the wall or the board itself.
  • Once the board is loosened, use a crowbar or similar tool to slowly pry it away from the wall. Again, be careful not to damage anything.
  • If the board is stubborn and won’t come away from the wall, use a saw to cut through any nails or screws that are holding it in place.
  • Once the board is removed, use a scraper or sandpaper to remove any remaining adhesive or debris from the wall.

It’s important to note that if the skirting board is painted, it may be necessary to touch up the paint or repaint the entire wall after the board is removed.

Overall, removing old skirting boards can be a bit of a challenge, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be done with minimal damage to the wall or surrounding area.

Measuring and Cutting the New Skirting Boards

Before cutting the new skirting boards, it’s important to measure the length of each wall where the skirting board will be fitted. Make sure to measure twice to ensure accuracy.

Once the measurements have been taken, transfer them to the new skirting board. Use a pencil to mark where the cuts need to be made.

When cutting the skirting board, it’s important to use the correct tools. A saw with a fine-toothed blade is recommended to ensure a clean cut.

When making the cuts, it’s important to cut at a 45-degree angle to ensure a neat join between the skirting boards.

If the skirting board needs to fit around corners or obstacles, it may be necessary to make more complex cuts. In this case, it may be helpful to use a mitre saw or a coping saw.

Remember to take your time when cutting the new skirting boards to ensure accuracy and a professional finish.

Fitting the New Skirting Boards

Preparing the Wall

Before fitting the new skirting boards, it is important to prepare the wall properly. Start by removing any existing skirting boards and ensuring the wall is clean and free from debris. If the wall is uneven, use a spirit level to mark any high or low spots.

Next, measure the length of the wall where the new skirting board will be fitted. It is recommended to add an extra 10% to this measurement to account for any cutting errors or discrepancies in the wall’s length.

Attaching the Skirting Boards

Once the wall is prepared, it is time to attach the new skirting boards. Begin by cutting the skirting board to the correct length using a saw. It is important to ensure the cut is straight and accurate.

Next, apply a suitable adhesive to the back of the skirting board and press it firmly against the wall. Use a spirit level to ensure the skirting board is straight, and use a hammer and nails to secure it in place. Alternatively, use screws to attach the skirting board.

Repeat this process for each section of the skirting board until the entire wall is covered. Once all the skirting boards are attached, fill any gaps or holes with wood filler and sand down any rough edges.

Finishing Touches

Once the skirting boards are fitted, it’s time to add the finishing touches to ensure they look perfect. This section will cover the steps to take to fill any gaps, sand the skirting boards, and paint or stain them to match the room’s decor.

Filling and Sanding

Before painting or staining the skirting boards, it’s important to fill any gaps between the skirting and the wall. This can be done using a filler and a filling knife. Once the filler has dried, sand the skirting boards to ensure they are smooth and even.

If there are any rough or uneven areas, use a sanding block to smooth them out. Make sure to sand the skirting boards with fine-grit sandpaper to ensure a smooth finish. Sanding also helps the paint or stain adhere better to the skirting boards.

Painting or Staining

Once the skirting boards are filled and sanded, it’s time to paint or stain them. Choose a paint or stain that matches the room’s decor. If painting, use a paintbrush or roller to apply the paint evenly. Be sure to apply two coats of paint for a professional finish.

If staining, use a brush or cloth to apply the stain evenly. Wipe off any excess stain with a clean cloth. Allow the stain to dry completely before applying a second coat if necessary.

After the paint or stain has dried, remove any masking tape used to protect the wall and admire the finished skirting boards. They should look seamless and add a polished look to the room.