How to fit skirting boards

How to fit skirting boards

Albert, Manager of a gardening service, Leicester

Guide written by:

Albert, Manager of a gardening service, Leicester

69 guides

Installing skirting boards is the final step in laying a new floor. To do so, you have a choice of three methods: applying adhesive, hammering in nails or using a clip fastening system. In this guide, we'll take you through the main steps involved in each of these methods. Read on to find out how to fit skirting boards.
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Installing skirting boards: an important final step for any floor

Fitting skirting boards is the next logical step after laying a new floor. Skirting is used to finish off flooring, protect the base of your walls and to hide away cables and wiring such as phone lines or internet cables.

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4 steps to fitting skirting boards

No matter which method of skirting board installation you choose, the steps required to prepare your work space – as well as certain other steps – are largely the same.

Start by storing the skirting in the room of installation. You must leave the skirting boards flat on the floor in this room for at least 48 hours before installation. This allows the material to adapt to the moisture level of the room which will help to keep them straight.

Here are the four main steps to follow when fitting skirting boards:

1. Take measurements and mark out the first skirting board

Always fit your skirting boards starting from the edge of the door frame. Measure the distance up to the wall and mark out this measurement on the first skirting board.

2. Cut and fit the first skirting board

Using a saw and a mitre box, or a power mitre saw, cut a mitre joint into the end of the first skirting board. Fit the skirting board to the wall according to your chosen method (see below).

3. Line up and cut the second skirting board

Prepare the next skirting board by cutting the ends to the correct angle so that it will slot in perfectly with both the previous skirting board and the next one.

4. Cut and fit the rest of the skirting boards

To fit the next skirting board you might want to line the boards up end to end without cutting them. However, cutting mitre joints on each end of the skirting board will provide a more accurate connection. Next, fit the skirting boards to the wall.

Proceed in the same way as outlined above until the whole room is covered. Cut around any external corners according to the instructions set out below.

If you have cables to pass through a room, you can use skirting boards to hide them. Rebated skirting boards feature a section in the back for hiding cables. Be sure to check that this section is wide enough to fit your cables and wiring.
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Mitre boxes

Type of wall


Clip on


Plasterboard partitions (straight)


Curved walls



Tiled partition walls (straight)


Brick walls


Wood partitions


Plaster walls


Concrete walls


Rendered block walls



If you opt for adhesive, be sure to check the glue you choose is compatible with the materials you want to adhere to. Nails are perfect for fitting wooden skirting boards to timber surfaces. For any curved wall, clip on skirting boards will be the best option regardless of the surface material. Special flexible skirting should be used as conventional skirting boards will often come away from the wall as they try to straighten themselves out.

Let's take a closer look at how to install skirting boards using each of these methods.

Gluing on skirting boards

Adhesive is a quick and easy way to install skirting boards. In fact, it is even possible to purchase special skirting board adhesive for the job. That said, it is important to check that your surface is clean, dry and free of dust.

Be careful: if your walls are not entirely straight – as is often the case in older buildings – it's best to nail down the skirting or use clip on skirting. If you have absolutely even surfaces, adhesive will work perfectly. Proceed as follows to glue on skirting boards.

  • Use a caulking gun to apply a bead of glue along the back of the skirting board.
  • Hold the skirting board in place against the wall for a few seconds to help the glue to adhere properly.
  • Repeat the process with all the skirting boards taking care to hold them in place as you install them.

Nailing in skirting boards

Nails are the most traditional way to fit skirting boards. This method can only be used for wooden skirting boards. A very straightforward process, this method can be carried out in record time if you have an air nail gun.

Skirting boards should be installed using lost head nails. Unlike nails with flat heads, lost head nails will lodge themselves into the wood. Be sure to check that the wall is even and dry before starting work.

Use a hammer to secure lost head nails every 20 to 40 cm. For a better finish, hammer the nails in further using a nail punch.

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Fitting clip on skirting boards

Skirting boards with a clip fastening system are a relatively recent addition to the market. This method allows you to dispense with adhesive and nails. The other advantage of this system is that you can remove the skirting boards easily whenever you like. All you need to remove the skirting is a screwdriver.

Clip on skirting boards are held in place by clips. These clips can be made of metal or plastic and are secured to the wall using screws and wall plugs. The back of the skirting is also fitted with clips. Clip on skirting can be installed as follows:

  • Position the clips against the wall on the ground every 25 to 50 cm depending on the size and layout of the room.
  • Mark out where your screws will go, drill holes using a drill and fit the wall plugs to the wall.
  • Use a cordless screwdriver to secure the screws for the clips. Remove the plastic base from the skirting board and secure it place by sliding the skirting in a downwards motion.

How to fit skirting boards

Required skills

Fitting skirting boards is an easy enough job for any DIYer, even beginners! No particular skills are required beyond knowing how to handle basic tools. If you opt to use a mitre saw be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Time required

1 or 2 hours for a room measuring 12 m2 (depending on room layout and installation method)

Number of people required

1 person

Tools and equipment

  • Tape measure
  • Drill
  • Hand saw and mitre box
  • Power mitre saw (instead of mitre box)
  • Caulking gun (if gluing)
  • Skirting board adhesive (if gluing)
  • Wall plugs and suitable screws (for clip on system)
  • Nails (if nailing)
  • Wood paint and paint brush (if nailing)

Safety and workwear

This is a non-exhaustive list; be sure to match your safety and workwear to the job at hand.

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Fixings and plugs

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Guide written by:

Albert, Manager of a gardening service, Leicester, 69 guides

Albert, Manager of a gardening service, Leicester

For several years I have been running a garden service with a clientele of both individuals and companies. I manage a team of gardeners and ensure the creation and maintenance of green spaces. At the same time, I bring my expertise to my clients in terms of the maintenance and improvement of their gardens. In fact, as a trainee and working in the hospitality industry at the beginning of my career, I focused on landscaping in a local community where I acquired solid technical skills through in-house training and the follow-up of major projects in a rapidly changing town. On a personal level, I am equally oriented towards the art of gardening. With my wife, I created our garden from start to finish and I maintain it carefully, the same goes for the vegetable garden. As for DIYing, it’s not to be outdone. Yes, gardening is also tinkering: pergolas, huts, pavements, fences, and so on...There is always something to do in a garden. After working well together, my wife and I are proud of the result and delighted to be able to take full advantage of a friendly and warm environment. So, let us give you advice and help you in your choice of tools, maintenance, or the improvement of your garden, nothing could be simpler.

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