Technical Information about Skirting Boards & Architraves

What are the different wood types?

We can machine skirtings and architraves in almost any timber that is requested. The wood types we offer through the online shop are all FSC timber from two main categories and four types of wood:

  • Softwood
    • Pine (Redwood)
  • Hardwood
    • Tulipwood
    • Sapele
    • American Oak

Click here to view the wood types

Removing old skirting board

Firstly, run a sharp knife along the top of the skirting board to cut away any paint, wallpaper or filler sealing the join – for more stubborn fixing adhesives like plaster and wood filler use a hammer and chisel.

Starting at the top of the door frame, position the blade of the chisel into the join between the wall and the top of the skirting and tap the chisel with a hammer.

Lever the skirting board away from the wall. Remember that where boards meet in a corner, one board will be nailed over the other.

Once a gap has opened up between the skirting and the wall, slot a wooden wedge into the gap to protect the plastered wall.

Insert a crow bar between the skirting board and the strip of wood and prise the skirting away from the wall – you may find a particularly stubborn section of skirting board which may have been fixed with nails or screws. This is usually difficult to detect on the front of the skirting board as the heads will be covered with filler.

Try to unscrew any screw fixing. If this is not be possible, as with any nail fixing, you will need to cut it out using a cold chisel or a hacksaw blade.

Proceed along the length of skirting, pushing in wedges of wood behind the loosened skirting as you go, until it comes away from the wall.

Climatising the boards

It is very important that you ‘climatise’ your skirting boards or architraves prior to installation.

Skirting boards and architraves are made of natural materials which can absorb moisture from many sources such as damp air or cold flooring. This can lead to shrinkage after installation which can lead to gaps forming that may require filling.

That is why we recommend ‘climatising’ your skirting boards or architraves by stacking them, or laying them out separately, in the room environment in which they are going to be installed for at least 48 hours prior to installation.

Cutting skirting boards

Before fixing your new skirting board, prepare the boards which will meet at the corners of the room.

For internal and external corners, the ends should have a mitred join of 45º to create a clean joint – you can use a mitre block to make this cut, but a power saw with an adjustable blade will give you a more accurate cut. Remember that although the angle of cut is 45º for both an external and internal corner, the direction of the cut differs.

If you are fixing skirting boards to the wall of a long room or hallway you may need to make a joint before reaching a corner. This should be done using a scarf joint cut at a 45º angle. The two ends creating the scarf joint should be glued together and secured using angle pins.

Installing Skirting Boards

Install the skirting boards, architraves or mouldings, piece by piece, working your way around the room. Make sure you leave the nails exposed to allow for any repositioning.

Avoid nailing the last 2 to 3 inches of each piece to avoid splitting.

In some cases it is better to pre-drill, especially if using fixing screws.

Where possible, nail or screw-fix the skirting board, architrave or moulding in the curved, or ‘cove’ part of the moulding to better hide the fixing holes. nail or screw mouldings into wood studs or screw plug holes.

When nailing by hand or nail gun, ensure all nails are counter-sunk to make filling easier. Where screws are used, complete the hole with tapered wood pellets for a more natural finish or filler if pellets are unavailable.

Cutting Ornate Skirting

If fitting ornate skirting boards the method of creating an internal corner joint is different.

The end of one length of skirting should be placed tightly into the corner. Using an off-cut of skirting board mark with a pencil the outline of the shape of the skirting board onto the end of the piece of skirting that will make the joint. Carefully cut along the guideline using a coping saw then fit the skirting tightly against the first piece to create a clean joint.

An uneven floor may leave ugly gaps below the skirting board.

To remedy this you can mark and cut the bottom of the skirting board so it will follow the profile of the floor but remember that if you do this, the other lengths of skirting in the room will also need to be cut – even if they are flush to the floor on which they rest – to keep all the skirting the same height.

Put the skirting board against the wall, checking that it is level at the top and fits flush against the floor. You can push small wedges under the skirting board until it is level.

Rest a pencil on a small piece of wood slightly bigger than the largest gap to create a small scribing block.

Run the wood along the surface of the floor with the pencil point addressed to the skirting – this will create a guideline that follows the profile of the floor.

Carefully follow the pencil line using a jigsaw to cut away the bottom of the skirting board. The skirting board will now be level and fit flush against the floor.

Fixing skirting boards

Ensure your new skirting board is the same height as the one you are replacing, otherwise you will have a gap between the top of the skirting and the bottom of the plaster, which will need to be patched.

If your skirting board is not as thick as the old one, place another strip of wood behind to push it out further from the wall.

The type of wall to which you are fixing the skirting will determine the fixing method. Different methods may be required for different walls in one room.

Prior to fixing, apply a wood preserving product to the back of your new skirting board to prevent rot.

Fixing skirting boards to a masonry wall

Having applied a solvent-based grab adhesive to the back of the skirting board, push it against the wall. Use a spirit level to ensure the top of the skirting is level.

Using a power drill fitted with a masonry part, drill two pilot holes – one above the other – every 300mm (1ft) along the length of the skirting through the timber and into to the wall.

To ensure the screw heads will sit below the surface of the timber, fit a countersink part into the power drill and enlarge the openings of all the pilot holes.

Push wall plugs into all the holes and screw the skirting to the wall.

Fill the holes with wood filler and use a mild abrasive sandpaper to smooth the surface.

Any small gaps at the joints or between the skirting and the wall can then be filled with filler.

Fixing skirting board to a timber stud wall

Fitting skirting board to a timber stud wall requires you to locate the vertical studs.

If replacing old skirting boards the nail holes may be visible on the plasterboard. If this is the first time skirting is being fitted to the wall you’ll need an electronic stud finder. As a rule vertical studs are 400mm (1ft 4in) or 600mm (2ft) apart.

Position the skirting board against the wall and having located the vertical studs, mark their position on the front of the skirting board.

Apply a solvent-based grab adhesive to the back of the skirting board and position it against the wall ensuring the top is level.

The skirting board can then be fixed to each vertical stud using either screws or lost head nails.

Having fixed the skirting board to the wall, ensure all screw or nail heads are below the surface and covered with filler. Similarly, any small gaps between the joints, wall and the skirting board should have filler applied.