Instructions for installing baseboards.

What is the optimal technique for installing skirting boards?

Skirting boards serve the purpose of concealing the joint that connects the wall and floor. Depending on your project, you may either be revamping a room with new skirting or replacing it. If installing both architrave and skirting, it is advisable to match their styles to maintain consistency.

You need not leave a gap under the skirting boards. If the floor has a carpet, fit the skirting boards initially. But if you are installing a wooden floor, the skirting boards should be secured after completing the installation.

Skirting boards are available in an array of materials, including primed MDF, fully finished MDF, softwood, and hardwood. MDF does not warp, has no knots or imperfections, and is the ideal option. But if you choose hardwood or softwood, select boards with the fewest knots or imperfections.

Is sanding necessary before fitting skirting boards?

MDF skirting boards do not require sanding. If you opt for softwood or hardwood boards, slightly sand and treat them before installation.

How do I measure and cut skirting boards?

While cutting skirting boards, it is crucial to know the proper technique for corner joints. External corners face outward, while internal corners face inward. Each corner requires a different cut for the best result.

To fit external corners, use mitre joints. The boards are cut at 45-degree angles to ensure a snug fit around the corner. Internal corners need scribe joints. Cut one board square and "scribe" the other board to match the profile of the first board. Scribing also reduces the risk of gaps forming if the skirting shrinks after installation.

Remember to begin installing new skirting from the left side of the door and work around the room in an anticlockwise direction. This guarantees that the square-cut piece on an internal corner is always cut and fitted before the scribed piece. Ensure that it is clear which cuts are required for each skirting end.

How do I cut a mitre joint?

Measure the distance to the next corner and mark it on the top back edge of the skirting board. Then lightly mark the intended direction of the mitre cut.

Secure the skirting board in a mitre box. The side that faces the interior of the room should face you to prevent damage during cutting. Firmly hold the skirting board in place and make the 45-degree cut using a tenon or fine-tooth saw. When cutting a long piece of skirting, ensure you support and secure the opposite end.

Installing Skirting: Cutting and Joining

For a seamless appearance, use a mitre box to cut your skirting at a 45-degree angle in the opposite direction of the first piece. This will allow them to fit snugly around the corner. Smooth out the ends with sandpaper and hold the two sections together to ensure the mitre cuts align perfectly.

If the joint needs further adjustment, use a block plane and additional sanding.

Creating a Scribed Joint

To create a scribed joint, begin by measuring and cutting the right-hand skirting to the desired length. Ensure the end is straight to fit against the corner wall.

Instructions for Joining and Fixing Skirting Boards

When working on the left-hand part of the joint, use a mitre box to precisely cut the skirting board to the desired length. Ensure that the resulting 45 degree angle fits perfectly into the corner. Mark the front edge of the skirting with a pencil down its profile where the cut starts for accuracy.

To shape the mitre cut, secure the skirting board onto your workbench and use a coping saw to carefully remove the waste section. Be cautious regarding the saw's angle, removing only material behind the pencil line and not the line itself. Due to the complexity of this stage, it is advisable to practice on offcuts before attempting it on the actual workpiece.

After the completion of the first stage, check the fit of the two boards, and make adjustments if necessary. Use the coping saw and sandpaper to smooth out the edges of the board. Then proceed to make the required cut at the other end of the board before fixing it to the wall.

Remember, before fixing anything to the walls, use a pipe and cable detector to check for hidden pipes and electric cables. Always adhere to the manufacturer's instructions in this regard.

When attaching the skirting to a stud wall, it is important to use a stud detector to locate the vertical timber studs behind the plasterboard. Once these studs are located, mark the center position on the skirting as a guide for where to hammer the nails.

When fixing the skirting board, apply grab adhesive to the back of the skirting, making sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions. Press firmly against the wall and remove any excess adhesive quickly. If the wall is completely flat, additional fixings may not be necessary. However, if the wall has a bow, additional screws or fixings may be needed to properly secure the skirting.

If attaching the skirting to a masonry wall, use a 6mm masonry drill bit to drill through the skirting and into the wall. Begin the holes 50mm from the end of the wall, positioning them 25mm from the top and bottom of the skirting. Repeat this pattern every 500mm along the length of the skirting. To hide the screws, countersink the holes so the screw head sits below the surface of the skirting.

Insert a 6mm wall plug and an 8 gauge screw, tapping them into place until you feel resistance. Then, screw until the head sits below the surface of the skirting.

If you're affixing the skirting onto a stud wall, the recommended method is by pounding two 40mm lost head nails into the center of each timber stud through the skirting. Employ a hammer and nail stud to push the nails below the surface.

When fastening and securing an external joint, it is mandatory to apply PVA glue to the face of each mitre cut.

In the case of internal joints, the square cut section is to be fitted initially. All you require to do next is align the scribed section and fasten the board. No PVA glue is needed for internal joints.

You can use a cartridge gun to apply flexible decorator's caulk to the skirting's top. It will help seal and fill any minor gaps between the wall and the skirting. After applying, smoothen the surface and remove any extra caulk with a damp cloth.

Ultimately, any countersunk nails and screws you've used should be filled and sanded down. Now, your skirting is ready to paint.

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