How to fit skirting board

Fix your new skirting board in place with our step by step guide

Whether you’re replacing an existing one or adding a skirting board to an extension or revamped room, follow our steps below to fit your skirting boards.

In this article, we’ll show you how to fix the skirting board to the wall with screws, however there are other fixing methods. All of our MDF skirting boards can also be glued while our PVC boards can be attached with specific PVC dowels.

How-to-fit-skirting-board

Countersink: A hole which allows a screwhead to be hidden beneath the surface

Mitered corner: A joint made by cutting the end of the 2 pieces of wood at a 45° angle, fitting together to make a 90° corner.



Before you begin to fit your skirting board, you’ll need to know how to join it in the corners. The most common joints are internal and external. Internal corners face inwards, and external corners outwards. For an external corner, we’ll use a mitre joint to allow the shape of the skirting to continue around the corner. Use a mitre box and a panel saw, a precision mitre saw, or an electric compound mitre saw if you have one. If using a mitre box, you may need to use it with a bench, or you can fix it in place with screws to an off cut of wood.

Step 1

Before you begin to fit your skirting board, you’ll need to know how to join it in the corners. The most common joints are internal and external. Internal corners face inwards, and external corners outwards. For an external corner, we’ll use a mitre joint to allow the shape of the skirting to continue around the corner. Use a mitre box and a panel saw, a precision mitre saw, or an electric compound mitre saw if you have one. If using a mitre box, you may need to use it with a bench, or you can fix it in place with screws to an off cut of wood.

Step 2

Mark the position of the corner on the back edge of the skirting. Make a note of what angle the cut needs to go. One way to do this is make a temporary direction mark on the skirting near to the cutting mark.

Step 3

Always position the skirting boards so you’ll be sawing into the front face of the skirting – this will prevent damage as you’re sawing. Hold the skirting board firmly in place and make the cut.

Step 4

When cutting a long length of skirting, use a temporary support at the other end – like a stack of skirting boards so that it’s level with the base of the mitre box as you cut.

Step 5

Once you’ve cut the first board, you’ll need to make sure it forms a good tight joint. It’s always a good idea to clean up the cut surface with fine sandpaper. If there’s a gap in the joint, make a note of what part of the joint is preventing a tight fit, and use a block pane or sharp chisel to shave off a small amount of the skirting so that the gap closes up.

Step 6

For internal corners, you’ll need to cut a scribed joint. This is where one part of the skirting board is cut square, and the end of the other piece is shaped to the profile of the skirting board. The profiled piece simply pushes up to the face of the square cut piece.

Step 7

Using your mitre box, very carefully cut the end of the skirting board that needs to have a profiled end, in the same way as if you were going to form an internal mitre joint. This will provide you with the profile of the skirting board which you can then cut against using a coping saw or a jigsaw.

Step 8

Set out your scribed joints, so that you don’t need to make a profiled cut on both ends of a single piece of skirting board. If you need to cut a single piece of skirting board so that one end has a profiled cut, and the outer end has a square cut, always cut the profiled end first. It’s easier to mark up a squared cut from a profiled cut than vice versa.

Step 9

When fixing a skirting onto a masonry wall, like brick or block, use masonry nails or screws and wall plugs. If you’re attaching the skirting to a timber stud partition wall, use a stud detector to locate the studs and use lost head nails. Some new homes have metal stud partition walls. If your home has these types of walls, you’ll need to use screws. Remember to use zinc coated or plated screws so that they don’t rust. You can also stick the skirting to the wall using a gap filling grab adhesive.

Step 10

If there are any cavities which need filling to the wall, use an infill board.

Step 11

If using adhesive, apply this to the back of the board in blobs spaced at regular intervals and apply PVA glue to any external mitres. You may also need to use some small diameter pins to hold the joint tightly together. Simply fix the skirting board by placing the bottom edge to the floor just in front of the fixing position and push firmly against the wall. If the wall’s flat, you shouldn’t need any additional fixings, but if your wall has a bow in it, you’ll need additional screw fixings to draw the skirting board into the wall. The type and number of wall fixings you’ll need depends on the type of wall and the shape of the bow.

Step 12

If using screws, mark up the skirting board so that fixing points are approximately 2 cm below the start of the chamfer (sloping surface at the edge) and at approximately 60 cm intervals. Next, we need to position the skirting board flat along the floor and pushed up the wall, so we can copy these fixing points onto the wall. Make sure you mark the wall behind the skirting, so you don’t see the marks once the skirting board is installed.

Step 13

Use a pipe and cable detector and if you detect either, just move the fixing point along to a clear area. Once you’re happy with the location of the fixing points, drill a pilot hole into the skirting board using a suitable wood drill bit.

Step 14

Use a countersink bit to create a countersink at each fixing hole. Make sure the countersink is deep enough and large enough to allow the screwhead to be below the face of the skirting board. Place the skirting in position and make marks through the screw holes onto the wall. Take the skirting board away and check you can clearly see each mark.

Step 15

Wrap masking tape around your drill as long as the length of your wall plug so you know when to stop drilling, then drill holes into the wall.

Step 16

Insert your wall plugs and tap them until they’re flush with the wall.

Step 17

Screw the skirting board onto the wall.

Step 18

Fill any holes with a filler that matches the colour of your skirting.

Step 19

Use a flexible decorative caulk in a mastic gun to seal the gap between the top of the skirting board and the wall. Run a damp cloth along the join to smooth.