Fitting skirting boards: a step by step guide


You can save yourself a significant amount of money by fitting skirting boards yourself. Depending on your experience level and the quality of your tools, it may take you longer than a tradesman, but it can be a DIY job.

Skirting is available in a range of materials, including softwood, hardwood and MDF. What kind you choose is down to personal preference, experience and your budget. MDF is a popular choice of material for fitting skirting boards, as it’s relatively low cost, easy to work with and can be painted.

Skirting also comes in a number of profiles. Some of the most common profiles are torus, ogee, bullnose and chamfered.

skirting board profiles

What you’ll need

Preparation for fitting skirting boards

When deciding how much skirting you need, measure the entire area where the skirting will be fitted. Add 20 per cent onto this figure, to account for any mistakes or practice cuts.

Once you have the right tools and materials, you’ll need to measure the lengths of skirting against each wall. Use a pencil to mark where cuts need to be made and at what angle.

Cutting your skirting board

Place a length of skirting board into the mitre box, aligning the cutting mark with the right saw guide channel. The mitre box will allow you to make cuts at the correct angles for joining external and internal corners. If in doubt, practice making these cuts on a spare piece of skirting or scrap wood and test how they fit together at the corners.

Internal corners will consist of two pieces, cut at opposite 45 degree angles. The wider part of each angle will be on the back face of the skirting. For external angles, the wider end of the angle will be on front face of the skirting board. Make sure that you cut into the front face of the skirting board, so that you cut downwards into the width of the board.

Hold firmly in place as you saw. If the length of skirting is very long, make sure your work surface supports the entire length and keeps it level. You should cut either side of your corners and place them against the wall to check that they match up firmly. You can sand down any parts of the cut that are preventing a firm join.

Fixing skirting to the wall

Whether you’ll be fixing the skirting to the wall with nails or screws, it’s a good idea to fix with a gap-filling, instant grab adhesive. Apply the adhesive on the back of the skirting in blobs, evenly spaced apart.

Press the board against the wall, starting from the bottom. Make sure it’s fixed firmly and wipe away any excess adhesive. It’s a good idea to fix external corners first, to make sure they match up correctly. If you have flat, plastered walls, you may not need any additional fixings. However, if the wall is at all bumpy or bowed, you should use the appropriate screws or nails for your wall.

Before putting any screws or nails into your wall, use a pipe and cable detector to make sure it’s safe to do so. See our full range or skirting boards to find the one that’s right for you. You can find more helpful guides in our Expert Advice section.