Skirting boards are an essential feature of your interior design and have a high impact in a visual sense, while also playing an integral role in covering up joints and cracks and stopping drafts. Despite this important role they are sometimes afforded a minor consideration and as part of a larger renovation project will need to be cost-effective, so what material you choose is a big decision to make.
The aesthetic appeal of a skirting board is of course important, particularly if you have a period theme in a particular room, so it is important that you match the profile of your skirting board with surrounding architrave, wall mouldings or period doors. But the durability of skirting is also a big factor. Skirting boards take a lot of hammer from vacuum cleaners, kids’ toys and pets and you don’t want to be replacing them every few months, so choosing the right material is the most important factor in making sure a skirting board renovation runs to budget. So what materials are available?
This stands for medium-density fibre and is a combination of sawdust, shavings and wood chips compacted together by waxes and resins. While MDF is much cheaper than natural woods and provides a nice finish for a contemporary home, there are a number of practical limitations to using MDF for your skirting boards. You can’t achieve a ‘natural’ look with MDF and it can only be painted, not stained. It can’t be sanded if you were looking to carry out a repair, and when fixing MDF it doesn’t always take a nail or screw very well, and so boards can work loose over time. It is not easy to machine MDF and the edges can split or crack when cut, and it is also much less durable than natural wood, because it can dent easily. MDF is also susceptible to moisture, meaning it can swell over time if damp gets in, if there are spills on the floor, or if you regularly mop the floor.
There is a difference between softwoods and hardwoods, but generally speaking, all types of natural wood provide a more durable and elegant solution for your skirting boards than MDF. Hardwoods such as Tulipwood, Sapele or Oak are very strong and durable, so are more resistant to knocks and damage and therefore should last longer. Natural woods are more versatile in terms of their finish, because they can be painted, stained, varnished or lacquered and in most cases will still retain their natural features.
Natural woods are moisture resistant, can be sanded and machined easily and can be fixed using screws, nails or adhesive. Softwoods such as pine are cheaper and even easier to sand than hardwoods, and while they are still more robust than MDF, they can warp a little easier than hardwoods. However, all forms of natural wood are readily-available and will come cut to standard lengths, just like MDF.
Contact Period Mouldings for advice on the best wood for your skirting boards
If you need some more advice and information on the best wood for your skirting boards renovation, then contact Period Mouldings today. Our range of skirting boards is manufactured using traditional skills and techniques and our products are built to last using quality, local materials. Our experts can advise on the visual and practical characteristics of different types of wood and the most suitable styles for your contemporary or period home, so get in touch today.