Skirting Board FAQs

What is skirting board used for?

Skirting board (or baseboard) covers the essential “expansion gap” that is needed between floors and walls. The reason for this is that floors (particularly wooden floors) expand and contract depending on the temperature and humidity of the room and the material. If there were no expansion gap, the floor would buckle and lift somewhere in the middle and be very time-consuming and expensive to repair. The skirting board, therefore, sits above this gap and prevents it from being seen. In retro-fitted wooden floors, this job is often taken over by scotia – which is like a mini skirting board.

What lengths do skirting board come in?

Most of our stock and MDF range are available in 5.4m lengths or 4.4m lengths. Veneered skirting / architrave are always in 4.4m lengths. Architrave are usually supplied in either 5.4m lengths or 2.4m lengths to cover the sides and head. On occasion, we will do 2.4m or 3m lengths depending on the manufacture run and profile. Sofwood, however, are always mixed lengths and cannot usually be guaranteed due to protection and mixed supply rules.

What does “double sanded” mean?

When skirting is first primed, it may lift the surface of the wooden or MDF material somewhat, which must then be sanded off before a second coat is applied to become smooth. All of this is to be done before a final coat is applied by you or your carpenter/decorator, on site. We usually refer to this preparatory process as “double primed and sanded”. Many manufacturers will skip or shortcut this process, resulting in very rough boards out of the factory. Please bear in mind that even double primed and sanded does not guarantee a smooth finish and some sanding may be required before a final coat is applied.

Isn’t wood better than MDF?

Many people still prefer real wood to MDF, however, MDF is a much more stable material and less likely to bend/warp/crack or chip. It is also usually provided as moisture-resistant. If you want skirting for the bathroom, however, you are advised to seek out good quality MDF/softwood or even plastic, depending on your circumstances.

What is a rebated skirting?

A rebate is a groove that is machined into the back of a skirting board so that wires or pipes can fit behind it and hide them. This rebate can be different depths and thicknesses, depending on the skirting board.

How are corners cut with skirting boards?

The cuts are known as a “mitre” and done at a perfect 45 degrees to create a perfect corner join. It takes a great deal of practice or a good carpenter to get this right.

Does the skirting board have to be fitted in one piece?

No — it is perfectly normal to have multiple pieces of skirting board joined together to form a run. However, longer lengths will result in less joins and look better. Either way, a good final coat of paint will hide most joints.

How tall should skirting board be?

This is very much down to personal preference and the overall aesthetics of the room. Rooms with taller ceilings are much better suited with taller skirting boards, such as 194mm and upwards. Standard height skirting is 94mm, 119mm, or 144mm.

How thick is standard skirting board?

Skirting Board is usually 18mm thick, but can also be 25mm or thicker when required. It is not usual for it to be thinner than 15mm as flooring requries at minimum 12mm for an expansion gap between flooring and the walls.