Most walls feature skirting boards at the joint where the wall meets the floor.
Skirting covers gaps, protects the base of the wall and conceals imperfections.
Decorative skirting also enhances the look of a room by breaking up the flat surfaces of walls and floors, in the same way other trims such as dado rails, cornices and architraves do.
When adding skirting to a new wall or in an extension, install boards that match the ones used in the rest of the home to maintain the style.
If the standard profiles don’t suit, install rectangular boards, then add skirting and quad moulding to the top and base to make customised trim.
Where the skirting isn’t long enough to cover the entire wall, join two pieces with a scarf joint, cutting the lengths of timber at a 45° angle with a compound mitresaw and joining them with adhesive and nails.
Most trim is made from solid timber like Tassie oak or finger-jointed pine, with primed MDF also available.
The combination of profiles we used here costs about $15 a metre.
If you can’t find or make skirting boards to match the existing ones in your home, moulding specialists can cut them for you, but this can cost up to three times as much.
Skirting tends to dip in at the base because of the recess at the base edge of plasterboard, or if the plasterboard stops short of the floor.
To prevent this, drive screws into the wall framing so the heads align with the main part of the wall before installing the skirting.
Step 1. Cut the skirting
Mark the location of the wall studs with masking tape.
Cut the skirting about 50mm longer than each wall, laying it in position around the floor’s perimeter.
Starting with the longest wall, cut the pieces 1-2mm too long to get a tight fit.
For inside corners, butt the skirting together with 90° cuts.
Step 2. Determine the mitre angles
For the outside corners, mitre two offcuts to determine the correct angle, adjusting if required.
It’s best to overcut the mitre, leaving the back slightly open.
This will ensure the front of the mitre is tight and leave a slight gap at the back that will be covered by the skirting.