How to Lay Skirting Boards

Written by f.r.r. mallory
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How to Lay Skirting Boards
Skirting boards help make a room look properly finished. (guest room image by from

Skirting boards are also known as baseboards, which are a type of wall trim that is installed above the flooring surface. Baseboards protect the bottom edge of the wall from kick damage and from furniture being backed up into the wall. Since most modern walls are built using drywall, the wall can dent or be punctured fairly easily. Baseboards also cover the expansion gaps that hardwood floors need and make a room look properly finished.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Baseboards
  • Quarter round boards
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • 4-inch foam roller and pan
  • 3-inch angled paint brush
  • Tape measure
  • Combination square
  • Mitre saw
  • Coping saw
  • Files
  • Nail gun
  • Construction adhesive
  • Wood fill
  • Caulk
  • 2 saw horses

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  1. 1

    Place your baseboard (skirting) and quarter round boards across saw horses and prime and paint the wood on both sides before cutting or installing. Use a quality primer if your wood has knots or finger joints. Allow primer 24 hours to dry. Paint your baseboards (skirting) with at least one coat of paint and allow that to dry 24 hours before cutting your wood. This step will save you hours of painting and taping later.

  2. 2

    Measure the long wall in your room. When possible, you should use a single piece of baseboard for each run (wall). This will create the most seamless look. Mitre your baseboard ends so that the point end of your cut matches the length measurement of your room. In theory, your mitre should be 45-degrees for a square corner. You may need to cope or file your mitres to create a seamless fit because walls are seldom square.

  3. 3

    Place your baseboard above your hardwood, tile or carpet. If your wall is very old and wavy you should consider adding a bead of construction adhesive to assist your baseboard in following the contour of the wall. Use a finish nail gun and shoot finish nails through your baseboard into the wall. Try to hide your nails in contours of the baseboard when possible.

  4. 4

    Cut remnant pieces of moulding to fit around corners and against small sections of wall. Trim on the ends of walls is often glued in place with minimal nails. If your nails are splitting your wood, use smaller nails.

  5. 5

    Cover the distance between the baseboard skirting and hard floor surfaces by adding an additional quarter round board trim. This trim will cover the edges of the hardwood or tile and create a very clean look. Use your finish nailer and glue as necessary.

  6. 6

    Fill your nail holes with wood fill. Caulk all your seams and edges and touch up your paint.

Tips and warnings

  • Learning how to cope or remove material behind a mitre cut takes practice and can be frustrating for a beginner. Once your mitre cuts are made, you use the coping saw to follow the edge of the mitre (as a guide) but to remove some of the wood. This allows your coped mitre to fit a non-square corner. Expect to use up to 10% more moulding than you anticipate due to waste and miscuts.

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