Tips on wooden skirting boards

09 Nov 2012

Originally, skirting boards were designed to neatly finish off the junction between the floor and the wall.

Wooden skirtings have the widest variety of heights and profiles to choose from, so you are sure to find a style to suit your specific home and décor.

They also provide the more functional task of being virtual kickboards, designed to protect the wall from possible bumps, knocks and scrapes from foot traffic, moving furniture and vacuum cleaners. Skirting boards also provide protection for the wall from polish and floor cleaners.

“However, skirtings can add a subtle detail to any décor composition – whether sleek and modern, or intricate and traditional, skirting boards add the final finishing touch to any room,” says Charl Jacobz from Swartland Wooden Windows and Doors.

Although skirting boards are available in a multitude of materials, Jacobz says wooden skirting boards are by far the most popular and coveted choice.

The benefits of wooden skirting boards

Jacobz says the main benefit of choosing wooden skirtings for your home is variety. Wooden skirtings have the widest variety of heights and profiles to choose from, so you are sure to find a style to suit your specific home and décor. "Wooden skirting also offer a timeless, elegant and natural finish – wood can complement very traditional styles, or it can serve just as well in an über contemporary abode.”

However, the benefits of using wooden skirtings over other materials are that it is an environmentally sound choice as well. Jacobz explains there are various reasons why wooden skirtings are an eco-friendly choice for your home, including the fact that wood is a renewable resource, it sequesters to carbon, it looks great, and it lasts for a long time if properly maintained, as well as having insulating qualities.

Sometimes the wall behind will not be 100 percent square with the board, resulting in a space between the board and the wall. You can fill this with wall filler and sand it down to a smooth finish once dry.

He says when choosing wooden skirtings, it is important to ensure that the boards are manufactured from quality wood.

Some skirting boards are high and elaborate for the more traditional décor, while others are slick, simple with a low profile for a more contemporary look.

The finishing touch

Your wooden skirtings can be finished in a number of ways. They can be stained, varnished or painted a solid colour with enamel paint. Jacobz advises that you stain, varnish or paint them before you install them, and then touch up where necessary after installation.

He says if the skirting is for an outdoor area, such as a covered patio or they are installed in a wet area, such as a bathroom or kitchen, it is essential they are very well sealed to avoid warping and cracking form the exposure to moisture.

Swartland recommends skirtings are sealed with water-based sealant from its Maxicare range to bring out and maintain the natural beauty of the wood. Maxicare offers lasting protection for wooden skirtings as it is UV and water-resistant, and it contains anti-fungal agents, he says.

DIY installation

Swartland recommends skirtings are sealed with water-based sealant from its Maxicare range to bring out and maintain the natural beauty of the wood.

Remove old skirtings: Use a hammer and chisel to pry the old skirting boards from the wall. Place the chisel behind the skirting and gently tap with the hammer until the skirting is free from the wall. Work from one side of the wall to the other, until the entire length of the skirting has been removed.

The area behind: For the best finish, it is recommended to finish the wall behind the skirting before installing any new skirtings. Remove any nails left behind with pliers, and fill up any cracks or chips with a filler. Wait for the filler to dry before you sand it down to a smooth finish. If you are going to repaint the room, sand any wooden floors, or install any new flooring, this is the time to do it.

Measure up: Measure the room before you go shopping for skirting boards so that you know what quantity you will need to purchase.

Cut them to size: Starting on one side of the longest wall, measure the length that is to be cut. Don’t forget to add an extra 30cm to this measurement to allow for the cutting of the angled edges. Work your way around the room, until all the walls have been measured. Try and use the longest strips possible, as from an aesthetic perspective, it is better to have long, uninterrupted strips of board than several smaller pieces.

Cut 45-degree angles: Each section will need to have its ends cut at a 45-degree angle to ensure that they sit neatly together in the corners of the room. A compound mitre saw is the easiest way to cut neat and accurate angles.

Finish off: Once all the boards are cut to the correct size, and the edges have been cut, you can treat the wood in your chosen finish, whether it be stained, varnished or painted. Be sure to apply three or four coats for the best finish and leave the boards to dry before attempting to install them.

The final touch: Sometimes the wall behind will not be 100 percent square with the board and this will result in a small space running between the board and the wall behind. You can fill this with wall filler and sand it down to a smooth finish once dry. Also, if you have counter-sunk any nails, be sure to fill these up to and touch the skirtings up with wood-filler and a top-coat in the necessary finish.

For more information on Swartland Wooden Windows and Doors click here.

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