Skirting boards are designed to cover the gap between flooring and the bottom of the walls. Their purpose is decorative as well as to protect the bottom area of the wall from damage. Skirting boards are also known as baseboards, floor moulding and mop boards. Skirting boards can be as utilitarian as a straight board nailed at the base of the wall to boards with many intricate details. Here are steps to install skirting boards using techniques that most people can master.
Measure the perimeter of the room to determine how many feet of skirting board will be required. Purchase extra to allow for waste and bad cuts. If applying a clear finish, sanding is all that is needed; prime all skirting boards if you are painting them.
Start on the longest wall first to install the skirting board. Measure the length required and leave the uncut end longer than required. Mitre the end that will be in the corner at 45 degrees. Test fit it and trim as necessary. If required to join a second piece of skirting board to the first to cover the length of the wall, mitre both ends at 45 degrees, cutting one with the mitre saw head to the left side and the second cut with the saw head to the right. The skirting board will then join with only one cut line showing.
Nail the skirting board to the wall studs using either the air nailer or with finish nails and a hammer. If using a hammer, use a nail set to finish setting the nails and avoid hammer marks on the skirting board.
Mitre the outside corners at 45 degrees, coping out the back side of the skirting board to get a neat, close fit. When the fit is almost perfect, switch to wood files to finish the trimming, taking off a little at a time until the fit is perfect. Fill in any line still showing with caulking, if you are painting, or wood putty, if you want a clear finish.
Caulk around the top of the baseboard to fill any gaps caused by uneven walls. Paint the skirting board the same colour as the walls.
Extra time spent coping and filing any joints in the skirting boards will make for a more professional-looking installation.