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Skirting Boards

Skirting boards, also known as baseboards, are a feature of nearly every home and often go un-noticed. They play quite an important role though and don't just make a room look a little prettier. If you have spent hours decorating your room, you want to make sure that you choose the right skirting boards before finishing it. There is a range of boards on the market; from plastic skirting boards to wooden, and it can be hard to make a final decision. In this blog well look at why skirting boards are used, and the different types on the market to help inform your decision.

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Why Do You Need Skirting Boards?

Firstly, let's skim over what a skirting board is for anyone out there who hasn't heard of one before. The board runs along the bottom of a wall and is usually made from wood. You probably see them every day of your life, but never really notice them. So now we know what they are, why are they used? Unbeknownst to many these boards offer a variety of benefits.

    • The most common purpose of skirting boards is to hide gaps between the plaster work and floor. These gaps aren't down to shoddy construction work, but are down to the fact that it's extremely difficult to keep wall and floor aligned. To avoid these gaps becoming an eyesore in the room, skirting boards cover them up.

 

    • Another purpose of these coverings is to protect the wall behind them. A room that's used a lot is likely to take a beating from house hold items. Scuff marks from shoes, furniture, and anything else that passes through the room can cause some real damage. Skirting boards protect the lower portion of the wall from this.

 

    • Skirting boards are most commonly thought of as decorative pieces. A blank wall can look a little bland in a room and so adding a skirting piece can make a huge difference. Thanks to the many styles and materials of the boards they can be adapted to suit any type of room.

 

    • In modern homes, wires are taking over. Skirting boards have found a modern use in being able to hide these unsightly wires away with ease.

What Types of Skirting Boards Are There?

As we have mentioned, skirting boards come in a whole variety of materials, perfect for a range of rooms.

MDF and radiata pine are a cheap skirting board. If you use MDF though, you must be prepared to paint it. The next step up in terms of quality, would be pacific maple, or beech. With maple, beech or radiata pine you can tint or varnish the wood for a nice, natural effect.

For a premium product, which you would have to source from a specialist, not just a hardware store, you would be looking at Tasmanian Oak, or western red cedar. These two can be expensive as you will likely need to get them custom made, but they can be beautiful.

In modern homes, PVC has also found it's place as skirting boards. Because of it's flexibility and cheap cost it is quickly becoming more and more popular.

There is a lot of variety in the shape of skirting boards. The basic principle is the same, the skirting comes down vertical to meet the floor, but there is a lot of variety in such a simple idea.

Traditional 'colonial' skirting boards have some fancy detailing on the top, whereas the more modern skirting boards are simplistic, often where the board traditionally narrows at the top, a modern skirting board might just having a rounded, or splayed top. Some people are even using wood that you might not consider skirting board, more like a plain strip of wood, with no narrowing at the top. Then, of course, there are a whole host of skirting boards that are in between the two extremes.

Painting, staining, or a gloss covering will depend on the type of wood that you have and each requires a slightly different technique. Painted skirting boards are the most common, but if you have used a premium wood, chances are you don't want to paint it.

Skirting boards, as a design feature, are usually used to compliment the rest of the decoration. Once you have chosen your paint, wallpaper, and kitchen cabinet colours, take these along with you when choosing the type of wood, paint, or stain for your skirting boards.

Things to Consider When Choosing

When choosing your skirting boards, these are some important things to consider:

Room size and shape

If you have high ceilings, you may want to consider a larger skirting board. In smaller rooms or ones which aren't a simple rectangular shape, smaller skirting boards will keep the room from feeling claustrophobic.

Current house decoration

If you are redecorating just one room, try to get skirting boards that match the rest of the house.

Colonial homes, with period pieces will suit large, intricate skirting boards. Modern homes often suit smaller, simpler skirting boards.

Cost

As explained above, different woods come with different price tags. You will be looking at a lot more money, for instance, with Tasmanian Oak (which will probably be custom made for you), than with pine which comes in generic designs at your local hardware store.

Longevity of material

Cedar has a reputation for being long lasting. However, skirting boards get kicked by kids and vacuum cleaners will bash into them they have to withstand a lot.

Painted skirting boards can be repainted and gaps can be filled, so with a little DIY you can get the skirting boards looking like new again. If you go for an unpainted hardwood skirting board, you will have to like the 'aged', 'weathered', or 'shabby chic' look, as it is difficult to mend dents.

Fitting times

The time it takes for the skirting to be in place will depend on two things how easy it is to get hold of the skirting and the time it takes for the finish on the skirting to be done. If you have to get your skirting custom made then you may be waiting weeks.

For a paint finish, solid timber requires just one coat of sealer or primer, whereas MDF (being slightly more porous) may require a couple more coats. It is often recommended when staining solid timber, that you sand it back twice, but sanding is quite a time consuming process and the same number of coats will need to be brushed on, as with paint, so staining solid timber takes a little longer to finish.

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Posted in Home Improvement Post Date 01/02/2017


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