What Is Skirting Board? Types And How To Choose

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Skirting boards, also known as baseboards or mopboards, are an integral aspect of interior design that often goes unnoticed. They are the finishing touch to a room, adding a polished look while protecting the walls from scuffs and scratches.

In this article, we’ll delve into what skirting boards are, their very purpose, types, and materials, as well as some tips on choosing the perfect skirting board for your home to enhance the beauty and functionality of any room.

Let’s get started!

What Is Skirting Board?

Skirting boards, also known as baseboards, mopboards, floor molding, or kickboards, are decorative and functional architectural elements installed at the bottom of the interior walls of a building.

A Skirting Design

Image Credit: homecrux.com

Skirting boards are not just a decorative feature but also serve a practical purpose: to protect the interior wall from damage caused by furniture, vacuum cleaners, and other household objects. Skirting boards are available in various materials, styles, and finishes, making a choice a versatile contrasting element that can complement any interior decor.

Historically, skirting boards were made from wood and were typically several inches high. They were often ornately carved and served as a decorative element in their own right. Skirting boards are available in various materials, including MDF, PVC, aluminum, and traditional wood. The height of skirting boards also varies, with some modern designs being as low as half an inch.

What Are the Reasons for Skirting?

1. Creating a Smooth Transition

One of the main reasons for installing skirting boards is to create a smooth transition between the wall and the installed wood floor. Without skirting boards, there can be a visible gap between the two surfaces, which can be unsightly and difficult to clean. Skirting boards can also help to protect the walls from damage caused by furniture or foot traffic.

When furniture is moved or bumped against the wall, skirting boards can absorb some impacts and prevent scratches or dents.

2. Hiding Any Imperfections

Another reason for installing skirting boards is to hide any imperfections in the wall or floor. Over time, fences can develop small cracks or unevenness, which can be challenging to repair. Skirting boards can hide these imperfections and create a smoother appearance. Skirting boards can also cover any unsightly gaps between the wall and the floor that may be present due to uneven flooring or walls.

3. Creating a Decorative Finish

Skirting design

Image credit: intrimmouldings.com.au

Skirting boards can also create a decorative finish in a room. Skirting boards have many styles and designs, from simple and plain to ornate and intricate. Choosing the right skirting board for a room can enhance the overall aesthetic and create a more cohesive and visually appealing space. Skirting boards can be painted or stained to match the color of the walls or to make a contrasting effect.

4. Reduce Dust and Dirt

One of the practical benefits of skirting boards is that they can help to reduce the amount of dirt and dust that accumulates in a room. Without skirting boards, dust and dirt can quickly get in the gap between the wall and the floor, which can be challenging to clean. Skirting boards can help to prevent this by creating a barrier between the two surfaces and reducing the amount of dust and dirt that can enter the gap.

5. Improve on Insulation

In addition to their practical and aesthetic benefits, skirting boards can also help improve a room’s insulation and soundproofing. By creating a seal between the wall and the floor, skirting boards can help to prevent drafts and reduce heat loss. Skirting boards can also help absorb sound and reduce the noise transmitted through the walls.

6. Increase the Value of Your Property

Skirting boards can enhance a property’s overall appearance and quality, increasing its value. This is specifically important if you plan to sell your property. Potential buyers will be impressed by a well-maintained property with a high-quality finish.

7. Protect the Walls From Moisture

Skirting boards can help protect the walls from damage caused by water or dampness in rooms with high moisture levels, such as kitchens or bathrooms. Skirting boards can act as a barrier between the walls and the floor, preventing moisture from seeping into the walls and causing damage.

8. Hide Cables and Wires

Hiding cables

Image credit: listwy-cezar.pl

Many cables and electrical wirings hanging in modern homes must be hidden. Most contractors advise installing skirting boards that conceal these cables and wires, creating a neat appearance in the room. This can reduce the risk of tripping hazards and make it easier to keep the room clean. Whether you are a DIY enthusiast or a professional installer, skirting boards are a great addition to any home.

Types of Skirting

Here are some of the common types of skirting boards available:

1. Bullnose Skirting

Bullnose Skirting Board

Image credit: skirtingonline.co.uk

This skirting board has a rounded edge on the top and bottom, giving it a unifying look. It is often used in traditional or classic interiors where a more decorative and ornate style is desired. Bullnose skirting boards are usually made from solid wood and can be painted to match the room’s decor.

2. Wooden Skirting

Wooden Boards

Image credit: self-build.co.uk

Wooden skirting boards are among the most popular types and have been used for centuries in homes and buildings worldwide. They are known for their durability, strength, and natural beauty, making them versatile for various interior design styles. When choosing wooden skirting boards, it is crucial to consider the type of wood, the style and design of the skirting board, and the practical requirements of the gaping space.

3. Torus Skirting

Solid Oak Torus Skirting

Image credit: loveskirting.co.uk

This type of skirting board has a convex profile with a curved top and a flat bottom edge. It is often used in traditional or classic interiors where a more decorative and ornate style is desired. Torus skirting boards are usually made from solid wood and can be painted or stained to match the room’s decor.

4. Pencil Skirting

Pencil skirting is a type of skirting board known for its slim and sleek profile. It is often used in modern and minimalist interiors where a clean and unobtrusive look is desired. Pencil skirting boards are typically made from MDF (medium-density fibreboard) or other engineered wood materials, which are more affordable and more accessible to work with than solid wood.

Pencil Round Skirting Board

Image credit: howarth-timber.co.uk

They are available in various finishes, including plain white or black, natural wood grain, or painted in any color to match the room’s decor.

5. Rustic Skirting

This type of skirting board has a rough and uneven surface, giving it a natural and rustic look. It is often used in country-style or rustic interiors, where a more organic and natural look is desired. Rustic skirting boards are usually made from reclaimed wood and can be left unfinished or painted to match the room’s decor.

Rustic Skirting Boards

Image credit: etsy.com

6. Flush Skirting

Flush skirting is a type of skirting board designed to sit flush with the wall, creating a seamless and clean look. It is typically made from MDF or other engineered wood materials. It is available in various finishes, including natural wood grain, plain white or black, or painted in any color to match the room’s decor. It may be a good option for modern and minimalist interiors with a desired clean and discreet skirting board.

Flush Skirting

Image credit: archdaily.com

7. Molded Skirting

This type of skirting board has decorative molding, such as a dental or egg-and-dart, running along its length. It is often used in traditional or classic interiors where a more ornate and decorative style is desired. Molded skirting boards are usually made from solid wood and can be stained to match the room’s decor.

8. Double-layer Skirting

Double Skirting

Image credit: skirtingsrus.co.uk

Double-layer skirting is a type of skirting board that consists of two layers, usually made from MDF or other engineered wood materials. The first layer is a thicker base layer fixed to the wall, while the second layer is a thinner decorative layer attached to the base layer. The base layer of double-layer skirting is typically thicker than other skirting boards, providing extra durability and impact resistance.

9. Flexible Skirting

This type of skirting board is made from a flexible material, such as rubber or many PVC boards, which can be bent to follow the contours of the wall. It is often used in curved or uneven walls where a standard rigid skirting board would not fit properly. Flexible skirting boards are available in various styles and finishes and can be painted to match the room’s decor.

skirting board

Image credit: ebay.co.uk

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Skirting Board

Finding the ideal skirting board for your home can seem daunting. There are many styles and materials, and it can take time to know where to start. But don’t worry – we’re here to help. Here we’ll explain everything you need to know about skirting boards to make the best choice for your home.

Skirting boards are a vital part of any home. Not only do they add an extra layer of protection against dirt and moisture, but they also give your home a finished look. When choosing skirting boards, there are things to remember, including style, material, and installation. Let’s look at these factors to make the best choice for your home.

1. Consider the Style of Your Home

house style

Image credit: intrimmouldings.com.au

The first thing to consider when choosing skirting boards is style. Do you want something traditional or something more modern? What kind of feel are you going for in your home? Answering these questions will help you narrow your choices and find the right skirting board for your home.

Skirting boards can complement or clash with the overall design of your home. Therefore, it’s crucial to consider the architectural style of your home, including the era it was built, the shape of the room, and the ceiling height.

For example, if your home is traditional, you may choose skirting boards with classic designs, such as Victorian or Georgian styles. On the other hand, if you have a modern home, you may prefer sleek and straightforward skirting board designs, such as square or chamfered profiles.

2. Consider the Color and Finish

The color and finish of your skirting boards can also significantly impact your room’s overall look and feel. Most skirting boards are in standard colors, including white, cream, and natural wood tones. However, if you have a specific color scheme, you can also have your skirting boards custom painted to match.

In addition to the color, you should also consider the finish of your skirting boards. Most skirting boards are available in either a matte or gloss finish. Matte finishes can create a more subtle and understated look, while gloss finishes can add a touch of glamour and sophistication to a room.

3. Common Materials for Skirting Boards

Materials skirting boards

Image credit: ceflafinishing.com

The next thing to consider is material. Skirting boards come in various materials, including wood, plastic, and metal. Each material has its benefits and drawbacks, so it’s essential to consider what’s important to you before deciding. For example, plastic may be the best choice if you want something easy to clean.

Wood may be the better option when choosing the right skirting board that adds a touch of elegance to your home.

4. Determine the Height of the Skirting Board

The height of the skirting board is another critical factor to consider. The standard size of skirting boards is between 70mm to 150mm, but some homes may require taller skirting boards to create a more significant impact. More elevated skirting boards can make a room look more elegant, especially in rooms with high ceilings.

However, it’s essential to ensure that the height of the skirting board is proportional to the size of the room. In smaller rooms, taller skirting boards may overwhelm the space, making it appear cramped. In contrast, shorter skirting boards in larger rooms may look out of place and diminish the overall impact.

5. Choose the Installation Method

Depending on your chosen material, skirting boards can be easy or difficult to install. If you’re uncomfortable doing it yourself, it’s best to leave it to the professionals. However, installing skirting boards can save money if you’re handy with tools and willing to put in some elbow grease. Many guides on YouTube show you how to install skirting boards.

Installing the boards

Image credit: thecarpentersdaughter.co.uk

The two main methods of installation include: adhesive and nailed.

Adhesive installation involves gluing the skirting board to the wall using a unique adhesive. This method is quick, easy, and mess-free, making it a popular choice for DIY enthusiasts. However, it may not be as secure as nailed installation, especially if you have a heavy or solid skirting board.

Nailed installation involves securing the skirting board to the wall using nails or screws. This method is more secure and durable than adhesive installation, making it an excellent choice for high-traffic areas or homes with young children or pets. However, it can be more challenging and time-consuming to install, especially if you are not experienced in DIY.

6. Choose the Profile

The profile of the skirting board refers to its shape or design. Many different profiles include square, rounded, chamfered, ogee, and torus. The profile you choose will depend on your style, the architectural style of your home, and the overall design.

Skirting board profile

Image credit: machells.co.uk

Chamfered profiles are similar to square shapes but have a beveled edge. This design can add depth and texture to a room, making it an excellent choice for modern and minimalist homes.

Finally, torus profiles have a rounded edge and a convex shape that can add a touch of playfulness and charm to a room. They are an excellent choice for homes with a more whimsical or eclectic style.

Frequently Asked Questions on Skirting Boards

a) What is another name for a skirting board?

In some parts of the world, a skirting board may be called a “baseboard” or a “kickboard.” These terms are commonly used in the United States and Canada and refer to the skirting board.

Other alternative names for skirting boards may include “mop boards,” “floor molding,” or “wall base.” These terms are also used interchangeably in different regions and contexts, but they all describe the same interior design element.

b) What type of skirting is best?

Natural is always the best choice; FJ Pine is the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly choice if you want REAL wood. Nevertheless, hardwood is the ideal choice if you’re aiming for a classic vibe with stained or bare wooden skirting.

This is due to the strength and beauty of hardwood. When you want to showcase a natural look and let the timber take center stage, you will use this type of wood.

c) What materials are used for skirting?

Skirting boards are commonly made from various materials, including MDF skirting boards (which are a popular choice because they are affordable, easy to install, and have a smooth, uniform finish), Wood, PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride), Aluminum, Stone, and Ceramic skirting boards that add a decorative touch to a room.

d) What is the standard size of skirting?

The standard size of skirting can vary depending on the country and region. In general, the most common skirting size is between 3-5 inches (7.6-12.7 cm) in height, with a depth of 3/4 inch (1.9 cm) to 1 inch (2.5 cm).

However, smaller and larger sizes are available, such as 2 inches (5.1 cm) and 7 inches (17.8 cm). Ultimately, the skirting size will depend on personal preference, the room’s style, and the ceiling’s height.

e) How thick is a skirting board?

The thickness of a skirting board can vary depending on the material and the specific product. Generally, skirting boards can range from around 12mm to 25mm (approximately 0.5 inches to 1 inch) in thickness.

However, some skirting boards can be thicker or thinner than this range, depending on the manufacturer and the design. It’s best to check the specifications of the specific skirting board you are considering for an accurate measurement.

f) Can you use tiles as skirting?

Yes, tiles can be used as skirting. Using tiles as skirting can be a stylish and durable option. Tiles offer several advantages over traditional skirting materials such as wood or PVC as they are resistant to moisture and water damage, making them ideal for use in areas prone to splashes and spills, such as kitchens and kitchens bathrooms.

Additionally, tiles are very durable and resistant to scratches, dents, and other damage from different skirting materials.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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