Taking on a renovation project can be daunting, but also exciting. Throughout the project you will maintain a visualisation of the end product and the home improvement or lifestyle enhancement you aim to achieve, and it can make the middle bit – ie. the actual work involved – hard to navigate methodically and practically. In addition to this, you might have no idea where to start or what needs to happen in what order. Planning a renovation project requires a lot of strategic thinking and will involve points where you need to hold your nerve and show some patience. And the right time to fit skirting boards is an important element of that.

Of course, what constitutes a ‘renovation project’ can wildly vary and can involve various different trades and lots of different stages. The order in which you tackle key jobs is vitally important and shouldn’t just be dictated by the availability of tradespeople. This is where you need to show patience and keep an eye on the quality you want from the end result.

Planning the order of your renovation project

Certainly, if there is any structural work involved in your renovation, this should be done first because it is the messiest task and helps you start from a blank canvass, it also helps to identify and sort out any leaks or areas of damp which might be present in a room. After that, a renovation project can involve many different tasks and disciplines, but at some point you will arrive at the discussion point of when to fit skirting boards.

The golden rule of most renovation projects is that the flooring goes down last. This is because most other trades create a mess, such as plastering, painting and joinery, and others may require access to the floor, such as plumbing or electrics. However, the point at which to add skirting presents something of a grey area.

When to install skirting during your renovation project

If you are fitting carpet as your flooring of choice, then this should definitely go down after the skirting boards have been fitted. First of all, you don’t want all the tradespeople trampling all over your fresh, clean carpet as soon as it has been fitted. You want it to go down as the very last job. Carpet fitters like to have a straight edge to work to and your skirting boards provide that. They should fit lengths of gripper approximately 7mm from the edge of the skirting. This allows the fitter to stretch the carpet over the gripper and tuck it neatly between the gripper and the skirting. This should leave a neat and professional finish.

Some people like to leave a gap under the skirting board to tuck the carpet under, and so you don’t see any join against the skirting board. This is not recommended, because you have to guess what gap to leave, this gap may then produce air flow and drafts, and you would have to remove the skirting boards if you ever change the carpet. Fitting carpet up to the skirting boards allows you to rip up carpet without removing the skirting, and a professional carpet fitter should be able to leave you with a good, straight finish. Another reason to fit skirting boards before carpet, is that you can treat and finish the skirting boards (ie. varnish or paint) without worrying about protecting the carpet.

There is an argument for fitting skirting boards BEFORE your flooring, if you are fitting wooden or laminate flooring. This is because you have less board lengths to cut accurately to size if you can conceal a board behind your skirting, so it is quicker and easier, and this provides a neater finish than if you cut the lengths along the edge of your skirting. However, this finishing joint can also be concealed by beading which runs along the length of the skirting. Wooden and laminate flooring can also be cleaned much easier than carpet, if you fit it first and have other trades still working on the renovation, or need to treat and finish your skirting boards.

Contact Period Mouldings for advice on installing your skirting boards

The general rule is that if you are fitting carpets, you should always install your skirting boards first, but if you are fitting wooden or laminate flooring you can do either and there are pros and cons to each method. If you need advice on how to install your skirting boards, then contact our experts at Period Mouldings and we will be happy to help.

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