2024 Guide to Fixing Skirting Boards: From Quick Fixes to Flawless Finishes

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Skirting boards, those unsung heroes lining the base of your walls, play a crucial role. They bridge the gap between wall and floor, concealing imperfections, protecting walls from bumps and scrapes, and adding a touch of elegance to any room.

But over time, these workhorses can succumb to wear and tear, becoming loose, cracked, or damaged. Fear not, DIY warriors! This comprehensive guide equips you with the knowledge and easy-to-follow tips to tackle a variety of skirting board woes, restoring them to their former glory.

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Diagnosing the Problem

Before diving into repairs, identify the culprit behind the skirting board woes. Here are common issues and telltale signs:

  • Loose Skirting Boards: These wobble or detach slightly from the wall when pressed. This can be caused by shrinking walls due to settling, improper installation, or nail pops (nails backing out of the wall).
  • Cracked Skirting Boards: Hairline cracks or deeper fissures can appear due to ageing, shrinking or expanding materials, or impact damage.
  • Gaps Between Skirting and Floor: These unsightly spaces can arise from uneven floors, improper cutting during installation, or warping of the skirting board material.
  • Damaged Skirting Boards: Dings, dents, or gouges can occur from furniture bumps, pet scratches, or water damage.

Quick Fixes for Loose Skirting Boards

For slightly loose skirting boards, a simple fix might do the trick:

  • Re-secure with Nails or Screws: Carefully hammer loose nails back in or replace them with screws for a sturdier hold. Pre-drill pilot holes to avoid splitting the wood.
  • Apply Filler for Gaps: If small gaps exist between the skirting board and the wall, use a high-quality filler suitable for the skirting board material (wood, MDF, etc.). Apply, smooth, and sand once dry.

Restoring Damaged Skirting Boards

For more substantial damage, a two-pronged approach is recommended: repairing the crack or gouge, and then repainting or refinishing the entire board for a uniform look.

  • Crack Repair: For minor cracks, use a wood filler appropriate for the skirting board material. Apply the filler, press it firmly into the crack, smooth the surface, and sand once dry. For deeper cracks, consider injecting a specialized epoxy resin for a more robust repair.
  • Gouge Repair: For small gouges, a wood filler can suffice. For larger gouges, carefully carve a wedge-shaped cavity to fit a wood insert. Apply wood glue to the insert and wedge it into the cavity. Sand the area flush once dry.

Upgrading Your Look: Restoring Scratched or Scuffed Skirting Boards

  • Sanding: For minor scratches and scuffs, begin with fine-grit sandpaper and gradually progress to a smoother grit for a flawless finish. Wipe away dust with a damp cloth.
  • Repainting: For a more dramatic transformation, repaint the skirting board. Choose a high-quality paint suitable for the material and ensure good ventilation during the process. Apply a primer coat for better paint adhesion, followed by two to three thin coats of paint.

Skirting Board SOS: Solutions for Common Problems

Gaps Between Skirting and Floor:

  • Filler for Small Gaps: For narrow gaps, a high-quality filler can create a seamless look. Apply, smooth, and sand once dry.
  • Scotia for Larger Gaps: For wider gaps, consider using a scotia moulding. This decorative moulding covers the gap and adds a touch of detail. Measure, cut the scotia to size, and adhere it to the skirting board using strong adhesive.

Uneven Floors:

  • Packing for Uneven Gaps: For minor floor irregularities, wedges or packers can be strategically placed behind the skirting board to create a level profile.
  • Scribing for Uneven Surfaces: For significantly uneven floors, a technique called scribing can be employed. This involves shaping a thin piece of wood (like a scrap piece of skirting board) to perfectly match the uneven floor profile. Secure the scribed wood to the back of the skirting board before fixing it to the wall.

Pro Tips for Flawless Skirting Board Repair

  • Safety First: Always wear safety glasses and a dust mask when working with power tools or sanding.
  • Match the Material: Ensure the filler, paint, and any additional materials you use are compatible with the type of skirting board you have (wood
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