What are Skirting Boards?

Close up shot of white skirting board

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Skirting boards are a common feature in many homes and buildings. They are the boards that run along the bottom of interior walls, covering the joint between the wall and the floor. Typically, they’re made from wood or PVC but you can also buy metal, tile and laminate skirting boards.

Skirting boards serve both functional and aesthetic purposes.

Functionally, skirting boards protect the base of walls from damage caused by furniture, vacuum cleaners, and general wear and tear. They also prevent dust and debris from accumulating in the gap between the wall and the floor.

Aesthetically, skirting boards provide a finishing touch to a room, concealing any unevenness or gaps between the wall and the floor.

Skirting boards come in a variety of styles and materials, allowing them to complement any interior design. They can be plain or decorative, tall or short, and made from wood, PVC, or other materials.

Some skirting boards even have built-in features such as cable management systems, allowing for a more streamlined look.

What are the different profiles available for skirting boards?

What follows is just a selection of the skirting board profiles commonly available in the UK. Each profile adds its own unique style and character to the overall design of a room. When choosing a profile, it’s essential to consider the architectural style of the space and the desired visual impact.

Ogee Skirting Board

The Ogee profile features a classic S-shaped curve, adding an elegant and timeless touch to the skirting board.

Torus Skirting Board

The Torus profile is characterised by a rounded convex shape, offering a softer and more traditional look.

Chamfered Skirting Board

The Chamfered profile has a simple, angled edge design, providing a clean and modern appearance.

Bullnose Skirting Board

The Bullnose profile features a smooth, rounded edge, creating a gentle and refined finish.

Pencil Round Skirting Board

The Pencil Round profile showcases a slender, rounded shape, lending a delicate and contemporary feel.

Square Edge Skirting Board

The Square Edge profile has a straight and sharp design, offering a minimalistic and sleek look.

Lambs Tongue Skirting Board

The Lambs Tongue profile features a distinctive inward curve at the top, adding a touch of elegance and character.

Ovolo Skirting Board

The Ovolo profile has a convex shape with a rounded top and bottom, evoking a classic and sophisticated aesthetic.

Bevelled Skirting Board

The Bevelled profile has an angled edge, providing a contemporary and sleek appearance.

Reeded Skirting Board

The Reeded profile showcases vertical grooves or lines along the surface, offering a textured and decorative element.

Victorian Skirting Board

The Victorian profile reflects the ornate and intricate designs of the Victorian era, often featuring multiple layers, intricate mouldings, and decorative detailing.

Edwardian Skirting Board

The Edwardian profile embodies the refined elegance of the Edwardian period, characterised by simpler lines and less intricate detailing compared to the Victorian profile.

Georgian Skirting Board

The Georgian profile draws inspiration from the neoclassical style of the Georgian era, featuring clean lines, symmetrical designs, and subtle mouldings.

Colonial Skirting Board

The Colonial profile takes cues from colonial-era architecture, combining simplicity with a touch of sophistication, often featuring a combination of straight lines and subtle curves.

Modern Contemporary Skirting Board

The Modern Contemporary profile embraces clean lines, minimalistic designs, and sleek finishes, offering a contemporary and streamlined look to complement modern interiors.

Art Deco Skirting Board

The Art Deco profile reflects the iconic geometric patterns and bold designs of the Art Deco movement, featuring stepped or angular mouldings for a distinctive and glamorous appearance.

Gothic Skirting Board

The Gothic profile draws inspiration from Gothic architecture, featuring pointed arches, intricate carvings, and dramatic detailing, evoking a sense of grandeur and Gothic charm.

Shaker Skirting Board

The Shaker profile takes inspiration from Shaker-style furniture and design principles, characterised by simplicity, functionality, and clean lines, offering a timeless and minimalist aesthetic.

What materials are commonly used for skirting boards?

The choice of material for skirting boards can significantly impact the overall look and feel of a room.

This section delves into the various materials commonly utilised for skirting boards, exploring their unique characteristics and the visual and practical effects they bring to interior spaces. By understanding the range of materials available, you will be empowered to make informed decisions that align with your design vision and desired aesthetic outcomes.

Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF)

Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) skirting boards are popular due to their affordability and versatility. They are made from compressed wood fibres and can be easily painted or finished to match any decor.

Solid Wood Skirting Boards

Solid wood skirting boards, such as pine or oak, offer a natural and luxurious look. They are durable, can be stained or varnished, and are available in various profiles and finishes.

PVC Skirting Boards

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) skirting boards are known for their water resistance and durability. They are a practical choice for areas prone to moisture, such as bathrooms and kitchens. PVC skirting boards are easy to clean and maintain.

Laminate Skirting Boards

Laminate skirting boards are designed to coordinate with laminate flooring. They are typically made from high-density fiberboard (HDF) and come in a range of finishes that mimic wood grain or other textures.

Tile Skirting Boards

Tile skirting boards are specially designed to complement tiled floors. They are often made from the same material as the tiles, allowing for a seamless transition between the floor and the wall.

Flexible Skirting Boards

Flexible skirting boards, usually made of flexible polyurethane, are ideal for curved or uneven walls. They can be easily bent to fit the desired shape and offer a practical solution for challenging installation scenarios.

Metal Skirting Boards

Metal skirting boards, such as aluminium or stainless steel, provide a sleek and modern look. They are often used in contemporary or industrial-style interiors and offer durability and resistance to wear and tear.

Painted Skirting Boards

Painted skirting boards refer to any type of skirting board that has been painted to match or contrast with the wall or trim. This allows for a customized and cohesive look within the space.

The type of skirting board used will depend on the style of the room and the homeowner’s personal preference.

Can skirting boards be installed on uneven walls?

Yes, you can install skirting boards on uneven walls. Here are a few ideas and processes to take into consideration before starting such a project.

  • Assess the unevenness of the wall: Determine the extent of the unevenness on the walls. If it is a minor irregularity, you may be able to address it during the installation process. However, significant variations in the wall surface may require more extensive preparation.
  • Wall preparation: Prepare the wall surface by removing any loose paint, wallpaper, or debris. Fill in larger gaps or indentations with a suitable filler or putty, and allow it to dry completely. Sand the filled areas to create a smooth and even surface.
  • Scribing: Scribing is a technique used to fit skirting boards to uneven walls. It involves tracing the contours of the wall onto the back of the skirting board, allowing you to cut it to match the wall’s profile. This ensures a tight and flush fit, even on uneven surfaces.
  • Shimming: In cases where the wall has significant irregularities, you may need to use shims to level the skirting board during installation. Shims are small wedges or pieces of material that can be placed behind the skirting board to raise or level it, compensating for the unevenness of the wall.
  • Flexible skirting boards: Another option for dealing with uneven walls is to use flexible skirting boards. These skirting boards are made from flexible materials like polyurethane and can be bent or curved to accommodate irregular wall surfaces. Flexible skirting boards can provide a seamless and tidy finish on uneven walls.
  • Professional assistance: If you’re unsure or uncomfortable with installing skirting boards on uneven walls, it may be best to seek the assistance of a professional carpenter or installer. They will have the expertise and tools necessary to handle the unevenness and ensure a professional-looking installation.

Remember, proper measurement, planning, and attention to detail are crucial when installing skirting boards on uneven walls. Taking the necessary steps to address the unevenness will help you achieve a clean and aesthetically pleasing result.

Can skirting boards be installed on floating floors?

Yes, skirting boards can be installed on floating floors.

Floating floors are typically installed without being directly attached to the subfloor, allowing for expansion and contraction. When installing skirting boards on floating floors, it’s important to consider a few factors:

  • Leave an expansion gap: Floating floors require an expansion gap around the perimeter to accommodate any movement. It’s crucial to leave a sufficient gap between the edge of the flooring and the wall to allow for expansion. The skirting boards should be installed leaving this expansion gap intact.
  • Install skirting boards after flooring installation: It is recommended to install the floating floor first and then install the skirting boards afterwards. This ensures that the flooring has been properly acclimated and installed, and any necessary adjustments or trimming of the skirting boards can be done accurately.
  • Use appropriate fastening methods: Skirting boards can be fastened to the wall using adhesive, nails, screws, or a combination of these methods. It’s important to ensure that the chosen fastening method does not interfere with the floating floor’s ability to expand and contract.
  • Maintain the expansion gap: When installing skirting boards on floating floors, it’s crucial to ensure that the expansion gap is maintained. This may require leaving a small visible gap between the bottom of the skirting boards and the floor or using spacers during installation to ensure the gap is preserved.

By following these guidelines, you can successfully install skirting boards on floating floors while allowing for the necessary expansion and contraction of the flooring. It’s always recommended to refer to the specific installation instructions provided by the flooring manufacturer and consult with professionals if needed.

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