The Ultimate Guide to Skirting Boards in the UK

Skirting boards may not always be the first thing that comes to mind when redecorating or renovating a space, but they play an essential role in both the aesthetic and functional aspects of any room. The skirting board is that horizontal piece that runs along the base of your wall, meeting the floor, acting as a bridge between walls and flooring. It might seem like a small detail, but in the world of interior design and home renovation, details make all the difference!

For those unfamiliar with them, skirting boards, often called baseboards in other regions, are a staple in British homes. They serve multiple purposes:

Protection: They protect walls from accidental knocks, scuffs, or dings, especially in high-traffic areas where furniture moves might scrape or bump into the walls.
Concealment: They’re great for hiding unsightly cables or wires, giving rooms a neat finish.
Decoration: With various styles and designs available, skirting boards can be a design statement. From traditional ornate patterns to sleek, modern designs, there’s a skirting board for every home.
Choosing the Right Material
Skirting boards in the UK come in a variety of materials:

MDF (Medium-Density Fibreboard): A popular choice due to its cost-effectiveness and smooth finish. It’s easy to paint and provides a consistent look.
Solid Wood: Offers a classic, durable finish. Types like oak or pine are popular choices and can be varnished or stained.
PVC: Ideal for damp areas like bathrooms. They’re water-resistant and don’t warp.
Measuring and Installation
When measuring for your skirting boards, you’ll want to consider both height and thickness. The height is mostly about personal preference and room proportion, while thickness should match the depth of any existing door architraves for consistency.

As for installation, it’s relatively straightforward for those familiar with DIY projects. However, if angles and cutting aren’t your strengths, considering hiring a professional might be a good idea. Remember to always measure twice and cut once!

Painting and Finishing Touches
Most skirting boards need a coat of primer followed by your chosen paint. For MDF, a water-based primer is ideal, while for solid wood, an oil-based primer helps seal the wood. When painting, use a brush for a textured look or a roller for a smoother finish.