The Ultimate Guide to Skirting Boards

In the spirit of helping you achieve your home's revamping adventures with ease, we've put together our very own guide to skirting boards. With so many things to take care of when planning a building or renovation project, it's not just a matter of pointing your finger at a product -and swiping your card!

You must select the right pieces, models, sizes, designs, and finishes...all within budget while striving to get the best advice and customer service.

With over 900 reviews and a product rating of 4.7, our award-winning service team certainly has the best tips and advice to go around. 

In this guide, you'll find answers to all your questions about skirting boards. Step in for guidance on top products, profiles and finishes, plus DIY-articles to fitting, scribing, cleaning, and painting!

 

What Are Mouldings?

The most common types of mouldings you'll find inside a property are skirting boards, architraves, cornices, and window sills. All these are pieces of strip fit to enhance, decorate, protect, and hide signs of wear within the transitions in your home.

The ones you see between your walls and flooring are your skirting boards. Cornices are the mouldings between your walls and ceiling. Architraves are fitted around doors and windows, and finally, window sills are the pieces underneath. 

Mouldings are there not only to protect but also to enhance your home's interiors, and they come in many different profile styles. From the simplest of designs to ornamented eye-catching statement pieces, mouldings are one of the most essential details of many renovation projects.

 

The History of Skirting Boards

Let's take a quick look at how these staple pieces of moulding withstood era changes, technology advances, and design trends!

Skirting boards made their way into people's homes in the Victorian Era, around the 1800s. As residences had brick walls, an extra effort for keeping the heat inside was necessary. Mouldings also had the functionality of protecting the transitions between floors and ceilings from damage and wear -let us not forget these also hid common construction defects!

However, these quickly became a sign of status and grand design. Homeowners, whenever they could afford it, would fit ornamented tall skirting boards as a sign of status and wealth. Of course, other pieces of moulding were also widely used back then -like dado and picture rails-, but aren't as popular anymore.

Even though today simpler designs have become the norm, skirting boards remain a top feature at homes around the world. It's their functionality and design versatility what makes them essential.

 

How to Choose a Skirting Board Height?

There's a general convention that states your skirting boards should be 1/18 of your ceiling's height. This is not a hard-and-fast rule, but keeping in mind residences are now smaller, it's worth checking your ceiling's height before settling for a specific size.

The standard skirting board height sits at 144/145 mm. You can find some as short as 47 mm and as high as 250 mm.

 

The 7 Best MDF Skirting Boards Profiles

  1. Best for...a balance between design and simplicity: Torus Profile
  2. Best for...a decorated industry standard from Victorian times: Ogee Profile
  3. Best for...those looking for the most affordable option, ideal for bathrooms, laundry rooms and small kitchens: Rounded One Edge Profile
  4. Best for...elegant, sleek lines around the house: Ovolo Profile
  5. Best for...modern, minimalistic rooms: Burford
  6. Best for...achieving a similar art-deco style, but with rounded edges: Lambs Tongue Profile
  7. Best for...proper classic vibes and era renovations: Victorian Profile

 

1. Best for Balancing Design and Simplicity --> Torus Profile

What's great about this profile is how its rounded top, featuring asymmetrical semi-circle, provides texture without being too detailed. Ideal for interiors of all sizes and styles, a Torus Profile would suit homeowners looking for a classic, yet subtle touch.

Torus boards are widely available as they are an industry standard for both new sites and renovations. This popular profile has a rounded symmetrical 'belly' on its top, followed by a carved line running underneath. In most designs, the top edge is slightly thinner than the bottom of the board.

Choose a Torus Skirting Board by Finish

Fully Finished Kota Polymer Coated

At The Skirting Board Shop, you'll find KOTA Polymer Coated Torus boards, perfect for a superior silky look that needs no further work. 

White Fully Finished Foil Wrapped

We also offer a range of white fully finished, foil wrapped boards -available in different heights. 

Unlacquered Real Wood Veneer

Revamping your wooden interiors? Of feeling like adding a top wooden accent to your home? Then, choose from a wide variety of the Skirting Board Shop's veneered boards. These have an MDF core and are manufactured from wood timber veneer. They come unfinished -for you to lacquer and wax to taste. 

For space and lightness -ideal for Scandinavian-style interiors-, choose an American White Oak board.

For character and presence -suited for countryside homes-, get the American Black Walnut

Fully Finished Foil Wrap Wood Grain  

If looking for an affordable wood-type option that comes fully finished, check the Light Oak, and the Golden Oak foil wrapped Torus Boards.

 

2. The Best-Ornamented Industry Standard from Victorian Times --> Ogee Profile

Ogee skirting boards are the master-of-classics. This profile has survived the Victorian years and still stands strong! Praising excess and ornamented decorations, Victorian houses call for fitting skirting boards.

And yet, you don't need a Victorian house to enjoy the looks of an Ogee. This profile is elegant and distinct. It creates a stylized, classic look thanks to the sweeping curve on its top. Some designs also have a rounded top, so it will depend on the level of detail and texture you wish to add to your mouldings.

In general lines, the Ogee Profile is fitted in the main rooms of a house -dining rooms, living rooms, and master bedrooms.

Choose an Ogee Skirting Board by Finish

Fully Finished Kota Polymer Coated

Another profile available on the innovative Kota polymer finishing, ideal for a silky, top quality look -available on different heights. 

White Fully Finished Foil Wrapped and Primed

Ogee Profile white fully finished foil wrapped boards, and primed white skirting boards, that come ready for you to undercoat and finish -best for projects entailing coloured skirting boards.

Unlacquered Real Wood Veneer

Just as with the Torus profiles, you can also find Ogee boards in veneered American white Oak -available both fully finished or unfinished. 

Summon the feeling of the forest with a Black Walnut Ogee profile -unfinished. 

Fully Finished Foil Wrap Wood Grain 

Our Ogee Light Oak and Golden Oak foil wrapped fully finished skirting boards are an affordable and stylish option. DIY-ers looking for more of a hands-off experience, this is for you!

 

3. Best for an Affordable Ultra-Convenient Option - Perfect for Small Rooms --> Rounded One Edge Profile

The Rounded One Edge -widely known as Bullnose Profile- is simple, low maintenance, easy to fit and clean -similar to the Chamfered and Rounded design

Its name says it all -talk about self-explanatory profiles! This skirting board has no more design whatsoever other than a rounded edge on top, which makes it a great and safe choice suitable for most interiors.

As it's so easy to fit -especially to scribe- and clean because it has no sharp or intricate edges, the Round Edge One Profile is a very convenient and pocket-friendly choice.

You could easily fit this profile on smaller rooms like bathrooms, a nursery or a laundry, and then choose a more decorated style for the main areas of the house.

As an alternative, look into The Skirting Board Shop's Round Two Edge boards. This design features rounded edges on both top and bottom of the board. 

Choose Rounded One Edge Profile by Finish

Just as with all the profiles featured in this guide, this type of skirting board is available in a variety of finishes!

Fully Finished Kota Polymer Coated

For this type of finish, you can get a skirting board + architrave bundle. Remember Kota Polymer Coated mouldings come fully finished -easy as!

White Fully Finished Foil Wrapped

Get your choice of Rounded One Edge height with our fully finished white skirting boards at 68 mm, 94 mm, 119 mm, and 144 mm.

Unlacquered Real Wood Veneer

Choose from American White Oak and American Black Walnut if you are a handy DIY-er! All these boards, available in 5 and 4 different heights, come ready for you to lacquer, wax or oil -which guarantees a match with your wooden interiors.

Fully Finished Foil Wrap Wood Grain 

And now, for a hands-off experience, pick any of our fully finished Golden Oak, and Light Oak foil wrapped skirting boards.

 

4. Best for Elegant, Sleek Lines -->Ovolo Profile

The Ovolo skirting board profile is becoming more and more popular thanks to its versatility and elegant look. A great alternative for both modern and classic interiors, the top of an Ovolo board is similar to the Ogee and the Torus models but with a less voluminous look.

The term 'ovolo' comes from 'egg' in Italian -uovo- as the shape of this classic profile resembles the soft convex curve of an egg.

An advantage of the Ovolo boards is how easy these are to clean -without sacrificing the looks and refinement of a decorated profile! Its lack of grooved lines or bulky bumps makes it a low-maintenance, easy to fit option.

Choose an Ovolo Profile by Finish

White Primed

At The Skirting Board Shop, you'll find white primed Ovolo skirting boards in a wide variety of heights. You can also choose between 2 different models! The Ovolo 16 features a wider and softer sweep on the top, whereas the classic Ovolo comes with a more protuberant curve.

 

5. Best for Modern, Minimalistic Rooms --> Burford and Square & Grooved

If you are building or revamping modern and contemporary interiors, you'd want to pick a suitable style of skirting board. In this case, the Burford and the Square & Grooved profiles would be your best choices. Both offer the ultimate streamlined look, showcasing a plain surface with a narrow groove running just over a centimetre under the top edge. 

The Burford profile has a rounded top edge, where the Square & Groove features a squared edge. 

Both are also fine choices for bathrooms, laundry rooms, and areas of the house that may be affected by the outdoors -especially the Square & Groove design that's 22mm thick.

Choose a Burford or a Square & Groove Profile by Finish

White Primed

All boards are white primed, ready for you to add the final touches. The Burford is available in both 68 mm and 119 mm, but you can also make it a set including Burford's architraves. 

The Skirting Board Shop's Square & Groove designs are also primed. You can choose between the 68 mm or the 144 mm height.

 

6. Best for Achieving a Hip Art-Deco Style, but With Rounded Edges --> Lambs Tongue

Think of a Lambs Tongue moulding profile as a blend of classic and contemporary features. It looks a little bit like an Ovolo profile, but can also resemble some Art Deco designs

Essentially, a Lambs Tongue skirting board consists of a divided top section connected by a soft curve, usually on a 45º rounded angle. The main trait of this curve is that it doesn't 'wave' like on an Ogee, and it's not bumpy as on a Torus. In other words, the top and midsection of the crown on the skirting board are simply connected by a rounded 'step'. This is quite similar to what you'd expect from an Art Deco style, but this would have more defined edges.

Lambs Tongue boards can be found on both classic and modern homes as its delicate, rounding profile matches all sorts of designs. 

Choose Lambs Tongue Profile by Finish

White Primed

For a subtle touch, effective especially on low-ceiling rooms, choose either a 57 mm white primed skirting board or a 68 mm one! For larger interiors begging for attention, select from our 2 choices of Art Deco mouldings, at 194 mm and 80 mm height.

 

7. Best for Proper Classic Vibes and Period Renovations --> Victorian

So now, to finish this 'Ultimate Guide to Skirting Boards', let us introduce the mother of all...the Victorian Profile! If rich shapes and grand decorations are what you are after -without sacrificing elegance- then you must pay a closer look to this profile.

Double sweeping curves on top, variations in thickness, and ornamented bottom sections are the main characteristics of this grand profile. 

When revamping a Victorian house, you'll also have to think of other features beyond boards and architraves. Dado rails, picture rails and ceiling crown moulding also play a part in the overall design process.

Beware though! Not all period homes are Victorian. Georgian and Edwardian styles are also relevant, so make sure to find the right mouldings and skirting boards for these too!

Choose a Victorian Profile by Finish

White Primed

The Skirting Board Shop offers 2 different heights of white primed Victorian skirting boards - 80 mm and 194 mm, both with a thickness of 22 mm. For something even richer in detail, take a look at our Edwardian skirting boards.

And finally, along the same lines but with a Greek vibe, you'd find these beautiful Georgian boards.

 

Are There Alternatives to Skirting Boards?

The answer to this is...yes...and...no! Builders and designers haven't come up with many options or alternatives really. There's a technique known as Shadow Gaping that focuses on creating a clean line between walls and floors' transitions. This design innovation is still quite far from everyone's reach and it's quite complex to achieve -hence, it comes with a hefty price tag! 

For more information on this topic, read our article on alternatives to skirting boards.

 

Should Skirting Boards and Architraves Match?

Yes! Ideally, you'd choose matching mouldings profiles, but, you'll also need matching thickness. Clearly, you could go for a different style option, but as a rule of thumb, it's recommended to keep the same if you are after a streamlined, cohesive look. 

For more information on this topic, read The Skirting Board Shop’s guide to architraves essentials. 

 

Cleaning Skirting Boards

How easy or hard your skirting boards are to clean will depend on how detailed their profile is. It's key to include the proper maintenance of your mouldings on your house-cleaning routine.

Even though cleaning skirting boards is a very straightforward task, minding which products to use, and how to avoid bumping into it when vacuuming is essential.

For a full roundup on this topic, read our in-depth guide to cleaning skirting boards properly.

 

Removing Skirting Boards

Who wants to be a messy DIY-er ruining your walls' plaster!? No one! Well then, getting the hang of the 'technical stuff' will come handy when the time of removing your skirting boards arrives. 

In The Skirting Board Shop’s step-by-step guide to removing skirting, you'll find all the insights to get the job done without worries. In this article, you'll also find the answers to the most frequently asked questions we get from fellow moulding-enthusiasts!

 

Scribing Skirting Boards

It may seem easy to fit your boards down the length of your walls, but, what happens when you get to the corners? 

Joining-time calls for learning what to do once you need to cut and piece together two separate stripes of moulding. Scribing is the most recommended method to do this instead of mitring.

For a comprehensive DIY-guide on this topic, read The Skirting Board Shop’s top guide to scribing skirting boards.

 

Painting Skirting Boards

Yet another step on your fitting process! The best part is that if you don't feel like painting skirting boards is your thing, you can easily get a KOTA polymer coated or a fully finished white one.

If you want to own all the merits and be a proud DIY-er, following the right steps for painting your skirting boards is a must. Once again, we’ve got your back with this guide to painting skirting boards.

 

Fitting Skirting Boards

After removing your old mouldings, and cutting and scribing your new boards, it's now fitting-time! Fear not! This is an easy and straightforward job, even more than the previous ones.

First of all, make sure you've cut your skirting boards to size. If needed, measure your walls one, two or three times. Accuracy is key.

So assuming you've done all the previous steps, to install your brand new boards, make sure you've got your protective gear sorted first -gloves, dust mask, knee pads. 

Then grab your adhesive, a sealant gun, and nails -if you are planning to fix the boards with these. You have two options here. As our MDF products don't require nails to be fitted, you could simply use the adhesive. 

If you prefer, you could also nail the boards to your walls. Just make sure to choose the right nail for the type of material your wall is made of. This adds a couple extra steps as you also need to make sure you are not messing up electrical wire! Many times, walls are not perfectly flat, so you'll need nails to properly fix the boards.

Before marking your fixing points, use a pipe and cable detector to ensure your nails are not going to touch any of these. 

Once you are ready, apply the adhesive and fix your skirting board to the wall. Then, drill your nails into the boards' fixing point. To finish up, use a filler to tidy up!



The Skirting Board Shop's Final Top Tips

As you may guess from reading this guide to skirting boards, you don't need to use the same profile everywhere. You can prioritize and mix according to the traffic of each room and what it's used for.

As an example, you may want to avoid a Square Edge board on your kids' rooms. Yet, this may come handy in the area behind your back door entrance.

Dining rooms and master bedrooms could use a more refined style -which would include your kitchen if your home has an open layout. However, your kitchen could benefit from a Chamfered and Rounded Edge that helps spell dust, and it's just so easy to keep clean.

You can, obviously, fit the same boards all around, just know, there are options!

If you need help choosing your next best skirting board, get in touch with our experts calling 0800 048 0786, and make the most of our award-winning customer service team. You can also request free samples to decide what will be best for your home. Happy reno!