Wednesday 21 September 2011

How to Fit Skirting

Well the last two days have been spent on my knees.

I've not found a new religion- I've been fitting skirting board at Summerfield Park.

On an old property like this it can be a nightmare to fit. All the walls are out, nothing is square and the floor is as level as the Peak District! All this makes for some slow going if its to be done right, luckily I'm not on my own and another carpenter, "Rocket" is helping me and we're starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The skirting is fixed to the wall using a grab adhesive (like gripfill) and then screwed and plugged to the wall. All mitres are glued and pinned.

It's funny but its always easy to see when an amateur has fitted skirting (normally you notice this when your sat on someones toilet) and your see that an internal joint has been mitred instead of scribed. The scribe joint means that if the wood shrinks when it drys out the gap wont open whereas an internal mitre would open up leaving an unsightly gap (although I'm sure the spiders would love it).

To cut a scribe (in a modern "on site" sort of way) you first cut a 45 degree mitre on the skirting, sloping so that the end grain you see is where you want your waste to be. You then cut along the line left by the saw (see the picture above) with a jack saw (you can colour this line in with a pencil to make it easier to see). Undercutting this slightly makes it easier to fit the pieces of skirting together.

Next you take your copping saw and undercut round the detail at the top of the skirting (see above picture again).

This should leave you something like this.

Which will slot into another piece of skirting like this - Giving you the perfect scribe joint.

I can't tell you how many of these there are in this house - it seems to be the longest bit of skirting in some rooms it's 2' before you come to another corner! (although I'm probably exaggerating)


  1. Old houses DID have a lot of corners; that's part of their charm. It's also why those styles are too expensive to build anymore!

  2. Also the fact that now houses dont have fire places and beams to go round! I wouldn't mind the corners so much if the walls behind them were level and the corners themselves square! Still the practice makes me faster!


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