How to Fit an Oak Skirting

Written by steve sloane
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How to Fit an Oak Skirting
Skirting is installed around the base of interior walls. (Empty Room image by dwight9592 from

Skirting board, also known as baseboard, is installed at the bottom of each interior wall. Its primary job is to guard the wall against knocks or damage from household instruments like vacuum cleaners, however it also has an aesthetic quality that can tie into the room's existing colour scheme. Oak skirting, when installed, is usually left bare or is coated with polyurethane to help protect it. As oak is a more expensive wood, it's doubly important to exercise the notion 'measure twice, and cut once.'

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Oak skirting
  • Mitre box
  • Mitre saw
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Stud finder
  • 2-inch finishing nails
  • Hammer
  • Hole punch
  • Wood filler
  • Polyurethane

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  1. 1

    Measure the first length of wall that needs skirting installed; add 2 inches to the length, for possible cutting/measuring mistakes. The corners of the skirting are cut and installed at 45-degree angles and are either internal or external joints. Mark on the skirting where the joint needs to be cut, and place the skirting in a mitre box so that the mitre saw will cut on the mark.

  2. 2

    Place the skirting against the wall so that the 45-degree angle end is in the corner. Mark the other end of the skirting at the point where it needs to be cut. As before, place the skirting in the mitre box so that the mitre saw will cut onto the mark. Now measure and cut the next section of skirting. Note that when the two 45-degree cuts meet, the joint should be snug with no gaps. If necessary, sand the cuts to ensure a snug joint. Continue on until all pieces of skirting have been measured and cut around the room.

  3. 3

    Run a stud finder along all walls, marking the central location of each wall stud on the wall just above where the top of the skirting will meet the wall. Use 2-inch finishing nails to attach the skirting in place against the wall, two nails per stud. Use a hole punch to sink the head of the nails slightly below the surface of the oak wood.

  4. 4

    Use wood filler to cover the holes; be sure that its colour matches the colour of the oak. When the filler has dried, lightly sand over the wood-filled areas, using fine sandpaper. If desired, apply one or two coats of polyurethane to the oak skirting.

Tips and warnings

  • Internal 45-degree skirting joints are found in the corner of a room. External 45-degree skirting joints are where the joint sticks out, such as at the corner of a protruding wall cupboard.
  • When installing carpet, install the skirting first before the carpet. With hardwood floors, install the hardwoods before the skirting.
  • A scarf joint is cut when the ends of two pieces of skirting meet on a straight section of wall. Cut the ends at a 45-degree angle so that they fit snugly together, and apply wood glue to the joint.
  • Make doubly sure that you are cutting either an internal or external 45-degree joint.

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