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Common Skirting Board Questions and Advice

Below are some common questions, hints, and tips that we've been asked about by numerous customers over the years. We hope they help you out too!

Why is skirting board needed?

Skirting boards, also known as baseboards or skirting, serve several practical and aesthetic purposes in buildings, particularly in homes. Here are some of the reasons why skirting boards are commonly used:

  1. Protection: Skirting boards provide a protective barrier for the bottom of walls against potential damage. They can help prevent scuffs, dents, and scratches that may occur from everyday activities like moving furniture, vacuuming, or accidentally bumping into walls with objects.

  2. Concealment: Skirting boards are often used to conceal the joint between the wall and the floor. This can hide any gaps, unevenness, or imperfections that may exist in this area, creating a neater and more finished appearance.

  3. Aesthetic Enhancement: Skirting boards come in various designs and finishes, which can enhance the overall aesthetic of a room. They can be used to complement the style of a space, whether it's traditional, contemporary, or somewhere in between. Skirting boards can also be painted or stained to match the room's color scheme.

  4. Transition: Skirting boards create a transition between different types of flooring materials, such as carpet, hardwood, tile, and vinyl. This transition not only looks more polished but also helps prevent debris or dirt from getting trapped in gaps between the floor and wall.

  5. Hygiene: Skirting boards can help with cleanliness by preventing dust, insects, and small debris from entering the gaps between the wall and the floor. This can make cleaning and maintenance easier, as you can simply wipe or vacuum along the surface of the skirting boards.

  6. Heat Insulation: In some cases, skirting boards can act as a barrier to prevent drafts and heat loss along the base of walls. This can contribute to better insulation and energy efficiency in a building.

  7. Sound Insulation: While not a primary purpose, skirting boards can help dampen sound to a certain extent. They can reduce the transmission of sound between rooms by filling the gap between the wall and the floor.

  8. Historical and Decorative Value: In older homes and historic buildings, skirting boards may be preserved for their historical significance and decorative charm. They can be an integral part of the architectural style of the building.

In summary, skirting boards serve both functional and aesthetic purposes in interior design and construction. They help protect walls, create a polished appearance, and offer practical benefits related to maintenance, insulation, and cleanliness. The choice to use skirting boards or not depends on the design preferences and needs of the building or room in question.


What heights do skirting boards come in?

Skirting boards come in various heights to suit different design preferences and practical needs. The most common heights for skirting boards range from 2.5 inches (approximately 6.35 centimeters) to 6 inches (approximately 15.24 centimeters). However, it's important to note that skirting board heights can vary significantly, and some may be taller or shorter depending on factors like architectural style, regional preferences, and personal taste.

Here are some common skirting board heights and their typical applications:

  1. Short Skirting Boards (2.5 to 3.5 inches):

    • These shorter skirting boards are often used in modern and minimalist interior designs.
    • They provide a subtle and unobtrusive border between the wall and the floor.
    • Commonly chosen for smaller rooms or spaces with lower ceilings.
  2. Medium Skirting Boards (4 to 5 inches):

    • Medium-height skirting boards strike a balance between functionality and aesthetics.
    • They can work well in a variety of interior styles, including traditional and contemporary.
    • These skirting boards offer more protection to walls than shorter options.
  3. Tall Skirting Boards (5.5 to 6 inches and taller):

    • Tall skirting boards are often selected for homes with higher ceilings and a more traditional or ornate design.
    • They can add a sense of grandeur and sophistication to a room.
    • Tall skirting boards are also useful for covering larger gaps between the wall and the floor.

Ultimately, the choice of skirting board height depends on the overall design concept of the space, the architectural style of the building, and personal preferences. When selecting a height, consider factors like the room's size, ceiling height, and the visual impact you want to achieve. It's also important to ensure that the skirting board height is proportionate to other elements in the room, such as doors, windows, and the overall scale of the space, to create a harmonious and balanced look.


Should I paint my skirting boards?

Whether or not you should paint your skirting boards depends on your design preferences and the overall aesthetic you want to achieve in your space. Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether to paint your skirting boards:

  1. Aesthetic Goals: Painting skirting boards can significantly impact the look and feel of a room. If you want a cohesive and polished appearance, painting the skirting boards to match or complement the wall color can be a good choice. On the other hand, if you prefer a contrasting or statement look, you might choose a different color for the skirting boards.

  2. Maintenance: Paint can help protect skirting boards from damage and make them easier to clean. It can act as a barrier against scuffs, stains, and dust. If you want your skirting boards to be low-maintenance and durable, painting them can be a practical choice.

  3. Room Style: Consider the style of the room. In contemporary and minimalist spaces, painting skirting boards in the same color as the walls can create a clean and seamless look. In more traditional or eclectic rooms, contrasting or complementary colors might enhance the overall design.

  4. Architectural Features: If your skirting boards have intricate detailing or decorative features, painting can highlight and accentuate those elements, adding character and charm to the space.

  5. Personal Preference: Ultimately, the decision to paint skirting boards should align with your personal taste and the vision you have for your home. If you like the natural wood look of skirting boards, you might choose not to paint them and instead opt for a clear finish or stain to enhance the wood's beauty.

  6. Color Palette: Consider the color palette of the room as a whole. Ensure that the color of the skirting boards complements the walls, flooring, furniture, and other elements in the room to create a harmonious environment.

  7. Lighting: The color of the skirting boards can affect how light is reflected in the room. Light-colored skirting boards can make a room appear brighter, while dark-colored ones can create a cozy and intimate atmosphere.

In summary, painting your skirting boards is a design choice that should align with your preferences and the overall style of your home. Both painted and unpainted skirting boards have their advantages, so it's important to weigh the aesthetic and practical considerations when making your decision. If you're unsure, you can always seek the advice of an interior designer or home decor professional to help you choose the best option for your specific space.


What are skirting board covers?

Skirting board covers, also known as skirting board overlays or skirting board cladding, are pre-finished decorative panels or moldings designed to fit over existing skirting boards or baseboards. These covers serve several purposes and offer various benefits:

  1. Aesthetic Enhancement: Skirting board covers can instantly transform the appearance of your skirting boards. They come in a range of styles, finishes, and colors, allowing you to update the look of your room without the need for extensive renovations. Whether you want a modern, traditional, or contemporary look, there are cover options to suit your preferences.

  2. Damage Repair: If your existing skirting boards are damaged or worn, skirting board covers can provide a cost-effective solution to conceal imperfections and make them look like new again. This is especially useful if you're renovating a room and want to refresh the skirting without replacing it entirely.

  3. Ease of Installation: Installing skirting board covers is generally a straightforward process that doesn't require specialized skills. They often come with adhesive backing or clips that secure them over the existing skirting. This makes them a DIY-friendly option for homeowners.

  4. Clean and Low-Maintenance: Skirting board covers are typically made from materials that are easy to clean and maintain. They can resist stains, scuffs, and damage better than painted or unfinished skirting boards, which can require regular repainting or touch-ups.

  5. Versatility: Skirting board covers are available in various materials, including PVC, MDF (medium-density fiberboard), and other engineered woods. This diversity of materials allows you to choose a cover that suits your budget and specific needs.

  6. Cost Savings: If you're looking to update your skirting boards without the expense and hassle of removing and replacing them, skirting board covers offer a cost-effective alternative. They can give your room a fresh appearance without a major renovation project.

  7. Customization: Some skirting board covers are designed to be easily cut or trimmed to fit specific wall lengths or angles. This customization option allows for a snug fit in irregular spaces.

While skirting board covers have their advantages, it's important to note that they may not be suitable for every situation. The success of using skirting board covers depends on the condition and size of your existing skirting boards, as well as your aesthetic preferences. Before purchasing skirting board covers, assess whether they will meet your goals and provide the desired look for your space. Additionally, make sure to follow the manufacturer's installation instructions for the best results.


What is skirting board heating?

Skirting board heating, also known as baseboard heating or radiant baseboard heating, is a type of heating system that uses a network of heating elements or pipes installed along the baseboard or skirting board of a room. This system provides warmth by radiating heat into the room from the lower part of the walls, making it an alternative to traditional central heating systems or forced-air heating.

Here are the key components and features of skirting board heating:

  1. Heating Elements: Skirting board heating systems typically consist of heating elements, which can vary in type. The most common types include electric resistance heating elements or hydronic (water-based) heating elements. Electric systems use electrical resistance to generate heat, while hydronic systems circulate heated water through the pipes.

  2. Installation: The heating elements are installed inside a specially designed cover or housing that is mounted along the lower portion of the walls, usually where traditional skirting boards would be located. This installation creates a discrete and unobtrusive heating solution.

  3. Radiant Heat: Skirting board heating relies on radiant heat transfer. The heating elements warm up and emit heat into the room, warming objects and surfaces in its path. These objects then re-radiate heat, creating a comfortable and even distribution of warmth.

  4. Thermostat Control: Skirting board heating systems are typically controlled by thermostats that allow you to set and maintain the desired room temperature. This provides precise control over heating levels and energy efficiency.

  5. Zoning: Depending on the design of the system, you may have the option to divide your space into zones, each with its own thermostat and control. This allows you to heat specific areas of your home independently, reducing energy consumption in unused or less frequently occupied spaces.

  6. Energy Efficiency: Skirting board heating can be an energy-efficient option since it heats the room from the bottom up. This means you can often achieve the desired level of comfort at a lower thermostat setting compared to forced-air systems, potentially saving on energy costs.

  7. Aesthetics: Skirting board heating can be visually appealing, as it doesn't require radiators or bulky heating equipment that can disrupt the aesthetics of a room. The heating elements are concealed within the skirting board cover, providing a clean and seamless look.

It's important to note that skirting board heating is typically used as a supplemental heating system rather than the primary heat source for an entire home. It is particularly well-suited for rooms where maintaining a consistent and comfortable temperature is important, such as bedrooms, living rooms, or bathrooms.

The choice of skirting board heating should be considered during the design and construction phase of a building or during renovations, as it involves the installation of specialized components along the walls. Additionally, professional installation and regular maintenance are crucial to ensure the system operates efficiently and safely.


What types of skirting board profiles can you get?

Skirting board profiles come in a wide variety of styles, shapes, and designs to suit different architectural preferences and interior design aesthetics. The choice of skirting board profile can significantly impact the overall look and feel of a room. Here are some common skirting board profiles:

  1. Square or Straight Profile: This is a simple and straightforward skirting board profile with a flat, straight design. It offers a clean and modern appearance and is often used in contemporary interior design.

  2. Chamfered Profile: Chamfered skirting boards have a beveled edge, creating a subtle, angled detail along the top of the board. This profile adds a touch of sophistication to a room and works well in both modern and traditional settings.

  3. Ogee Profile: Ogee skirting boards feature an S-shaped curve along the top edge, creating an elegant and decorative look. This profile is commonly used in more traditional or classic interior designs.

  4. Bullnose Profile: Bullnose skirting boards have a rounded, semi-circular top edge. This profile adds a softer and more inviting touch to a room, making it a good choice for spaces where a cozy atmosphere is desired.

  5. Torus Profile: Torus skirting boards have a convex, rounded top with a distinctive groove near the bottom. This profile is versatile and can work in various interior styles, including both contemporary and traditional settings.

  6. Lambs Tongue Profile: Lambs tongue skirting boards have a small, rounded projection at the top, resembling the shape of a lamb's tongue. This profile is often used in traditional or period-style interiors.

  7. Victorian Profile: Victorian skirting boards are characterized by intricate and ornate designs, often featuring multiple curves, grooves, and patterns. They are commonly used in Victorian-era or period-style homes.

  8. Modern and Minimalist Profiles: In contemporary interior design, you may find skirting boards with sleek, minimalist profiles that feature clean lines and simple shapes. These profiles are designed to create a seamless and understated look.

  9. Custom Profiles: Some homeowners and designers opt for custom skirting board profiles to achieve a unique and personalized appearance. Custom profiles can be tailored to specific design preferences and architectural requirements.

  10. High or Tall Profiles: Skirting boards with taller profiles are often used to make a bold design statement and can add an element of grandeur to a room. They are especially common in homes with high ceilings.

When selecting a skirting board profile, consider the overall style of the room, the architectural features of the space, and your personal design preferences. It's important to choose a profile that complements other design elements in the room, such as doors, windows, and moldings, to create a cohesive and harmonious interior. Additionally, the choice of material and finish (e.g., wood, MDF, PVC, or painted) can also impact the final look of the skirting boards.


Do I have to buy my skirting board from B&Q, Screwfix, or Wickes?

No, you do not have to buy your skirting boards or any other construction or home improvement materials exclusively from B&Q, Screwfix, or Wickes. B&Q, Screwfix, and Wickes are well-known home improvement and DIY retailers in the United Kingdom, and while they offer a wide range of products, there are many other places where you can purchase skirting boards and related materials. Your options for sourcing skirting boards include:

  1. Other Home Improvement Retailers: There are various home improvement stores, both large chains and local businesses, that sell skirting boards and related products. Examples include Wickes, Homebase, Screwfix, and Travis Perkins.

  2. Online Retailers: Numerous online retailers specialize in building materials and offer a vast selection of skirting boards. Websites like Amazon, eBay, and dedicated construction supply websites can provide a wide range of options.

  3. Specialty Suppliers: Some suppliers specialize in architectural moldings and trim, including skirting boards. These specialty suppliers may offer a broader selection of profiles and materials.

  4. Local Lumberyards: Local lumberyards and building supply stores often carry skirting boards and can provide personalized assistance and advice based on your specific needs.

  5. Carpentry and Millwork Shops: Local carpenters or millwork shops may offer custom-made skirting boards that are tailored to your design requirements.

  6. Reclaimed and Salvage Yards: If you're interested in vintage or reclaimed skirting boards, salvage yards and architectural salvage shops can be a great resource for finding unique and historic materials.

When choosing where to purchase skirting boards, consider factors such as the specific skirting board profile you want, the material (e.g., wood, MDF, PVC), the finish, and the price. Additionally, think about whether you prefer in-person shopping for a hands-on look and feel of the materials or if you are comfortable shopping online.

Before making a purchase, it's a good idea to measure the areas where you plan to install the skirting boards to ensure you buy the correct amount. Additionally, if you have specific design preferences or require customized skirting boards, inquire with suppliers about their options for tailored solutions.

Ultimately, you have a variety of choices when it comes to sourcing skirting boards, so you can select the one that best aligns with your project's requirements and your personal preferences.


What types of skirting board wood is there?

Skirting boards come in a variety of wood types, and the choice of wood can impact the appearance, durability, and cost of the skirting boards. Here are some common types of wood used for skirting boards:

  1. Pine: Pine is one of the most popular and budget-friendly choices for skirting boards. It's readily available, easy to work with, and has a pale, light color that can be stained or painted to match the room's decor. Pine skirting boards are relatively soft, which makes them susceptible to dents and scratches but also easier to cut and shape.

  2. Oak: Oak is a hardwood known for its strength and durability. Oak skirting boards are more resistant to wear and damage compared to softwoods like pine. They have a natural, attractive grain pattern that adds character to a room. Oak skirting boards can be left unfinished to showcase their natural beauty or stained and varnished for protection.

  3. MDF (Medium-Density Fiberboard): MDF is an engineered wood product made from wood fibers, wax, and resin. It is smooth, uniform, and easy to paint, making it a popular choice for painted skirting boards. MDF skirting boards are available in various profiles and can be customized to match the room's style.

  4. Hardwood (e.g., Walnut, Cherry, Maple): Various hardwoods, such as walnut, cherry, and maple, can be used for skirting boards. These woods offer durability and a rich, distinctive appearance. Hardwood skirting boards are often chosen for upscale or traditional interiors.

  5. Plywood: Plywood skirting boards consist of layers of wood veneer bonded together. While not as common as other options, plywood can be used for skirting boards when a more affordable wood option is desired. It's often painted or veneered to achieve the desired finish.

  6. Exotic Woods: Some homeowners with a taste for unique and exotic materials may opt for skirting boards made from exotic woods like teak, mahogany, or padauk. These woods offer exceptional beauty and often come with a higher price tag.

When selecting the type of wood for your skirting boards, consider factors such as your budget, the overall design of the room, the desired finish (paint or stain), and the level of durability required. Keep in mind that different wood types may have varying maintenance needs, so be prepared to follow the appropriate care and maintenance recommendations to ensure the longevity and appearance of your skirting boards. Additionally, the availability of wood types may vary depending on your location and the suppliers in your area.


Which wood is best for skirting boards?

The best wood for skirting boards depends on your specific needs, preferences, and budget. Different wood types offer various advantages and characteristics, so it's essential to consider your priorities when making a choice. Here are some considerations for selecting the best wood for skirting boards:

  1. Pine: Pine is a popular and cost-effective choice for skirting boards. It's easy to work with, readily available, and can be stained or painted to match your decor. However, pine is relatively soft, which means it may be more prone to dents and damage compared to hardwoods.

  2. Oak: Oak is a hardwood known for its durability and attractive grain pattern. Oak skirting boards are highly resilient and can withstand wear and tear over time. They are especially suitable for high-traffic areas or rooms where you want a classic, natural wood look.

  3. MDF (Medium-Density Fiberboard): MDF is a versatile and budget-friendly option, particularly if you plan to paint your skirting boards. It provides a smooth and uniform surface for paint and is available in various profiles. MDF skirting boards are also resistant to warping and splitting.

  4. Hardwood (e.g., Walnut, Cherry, Maple): Hardwood skirting boards, such as those made from walnut, cherry, or maple, offer both durability and a luxurious appearance. These woods are known for their strength and can add a touch of elegance to your space. They are particularly well-suited for upscale or traditional interiors.

  5. Exotic Woods: If you desire a unique and exotic look, consider skirting boards made from exotic woods like teak, mahogany, or padauk. These woods are prized for their exceptional beauty and distinct grain patterns, making them suitable for luxury interiors.

  6. Plywood: Plywood skirting boards are an economical option, ideal for those seeking affordability without sacrificing quality. Plywood is strong and stable and can be painted or veneered to achieve your desired finish.

To choose the best wood for your skirting boards, consider the following factors:

  • Budget: Your budget will play a significant role in your wood choice. Hardwoods like oak and exotic woods tend to be more expensive, while softwoods like pine are more budget-friendly.

  • Style: Consider the overall design and style of the room. Some woods, like oak, lend themselves well to traditional and rustic settings, while others may be better suited for modern or contemporary spaces.

  • Durability: If your skirting boards will be exposed to a lot of wear and tear, opt for a durable wood like oak or hardwood.

  • Finish: Decide whether you want a natural wood finish, a painted finish, or a stained finish, as this will influence your wood choice.

  • Maintenance: Different woods may have varying maintenance requirements, so be sure to consider how much upkeep you're willing to commit to.

Ultimately, the best wood for your skirting boards should align with your aesthetic preferences, practical needs, and budget constraints. Be sure to consult with suppliers and consider samples of different wood types to help you make an informed decision.


Can you get plastic skirting boards?

Yes, you can get plastic skirting boards, and they are commonly referred to as PVC (polyvinyl chloride) skirting boards or plastic baseboards. PVC skirting boards have gained popularity for several reasons, and they offer several advantages for homeowners and builders:

  1. Durability: PVC is a highly durable and long-lasting material. It is resistant to moisture, rot, termites, and other common issues that can affect wooden skirting boards. This durability makes PVC skirting boards an excellent choice for areas prone to moisture, such as bathrooms and kitchens.

  2. Low Maintenance: PVC skirting boards are easy to clean and maintain. They are not susceptible to warping, cracking, or chipping, and they do not require painting or staining. Regular cleaning with a damp cloth is usually sufficient to keep them looking new.

  3. Versatility: PVC skirting boards come in a variety of styles, profiles, and finishes. You can find options that mimic the look of wood, allowing you to achieve a traditional or contemporary appearance. They are also available in various colors to match your decor.

  4. Ease of Installation: Installing PVC skirting boards is often straightforward. They can be cut to size and attached to the wall using adhesive or screws, similar to other skirting board materials. This makes them a suitable DIY project.

  5. Affordability: PVC skirting boards are often more budget-friendly than some hardwood options. Their cost-effectiveness makes them an attractive choice for homeowners looking to save on materials.

  6. Moisture Resistance: PVC skirting boards are particularly suitable for areas where moisture is a concern, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements. They do not absorb moisture or swell when exposed to water.

  7. Environmentally Friendly Options: Some PVC skirting boards are made from recycled or eco-friendly PVC materials, which can be a sustainable choice for environmentally conscious consumers.

While PVC skirting boards offer numerous benefits, it's essential to consider the overall aesthetic of your space and your personal preferences. Some homeowners prefer the natural appearance of wood and may opt for wooden skirting boards for a more traditional or upscale look.

When choosing PVC skirting boards, be sure to select profiles and finishes that complement your interior design and style. Additionally, consider the quality of the PVC material, as higher-quality options may offer better resistance to fading and discoloration over time.