Things to Consider before Buying Skirting Board
If you’re thinking about replacing your skirting board or architrave it’s worth taking a few moments before rushing out to your local DIY retailer. We’ve pulled together a few tips that may help you make a more informed decision before making what could be a significant investment in your house.
Here's what we cover along with some shortcuts to what interests you:
- Convenience or Choice
- Plan Ahead
- Don't Book Builders...Yet
- Un-Primed, Primed or Fully Finished
- MDF or Wood
- DIY or Professional
- Room by Room or Whole House
Convenience or Choice?
One of the most exciting things about renovating your home are the trips around your local DIY store, imagining what would make your home something special. This may be where you first saw some skirting board and considered renewing the tired looking boards already in place.
Here is where one of your first decisions comes into play. The B and Q's skirting board range feature just a few designs that they can easily mass produce, and only come in lengths that are meant to fit in your car! However, this doesn’t mean the designs they offer such as Square Edge, Bullnose and Torus are your only options.
As with most products, there are specialist suppliers, like ourselves, who focus on a particular niche and provide more choice and better quality than the national chains.
This means you aren’t limited to what you can find in a retail park!
If you are limited on time and you need to get your skirting installed ASAP, then you will likely have to sacrifice choice. However, if you give yourself enough time then you will give yourself a better chance of finding your ideal skirting profile.
Our next tip then is to plan ahead.
Doing your research and prep work before buying is always a good approach and that applies in this case too.
There are quite a few specialist suppliers of skirting out there, obviously we believe we provide better prices and quality, but generally you’ll find that everyone has a wide range of styles that improves the available choice over in-store products.
Our products are made to order according to your specifications, so each product is unique to each home. Planning ahead means you can order your skirting or architrave in plenty of time, allowing time for your products to be moulded and painted, also avoiding delays due to current courier disruption.
One of the reasons why every order is unique is because the measurements of your home will be different to another.
This makes it important for you to know how big each room you’re renovating is. Not only that, but the height of your skirting or the width of your architrave is important to your calculations too.
The lengths you order will determine how smooth they look once installed. If you order too short a length you may end up having to use a Butt Joint along your wall.
The height and width of your skirting/architrave will be decided by any fixtures or fittings you have installed such as radiators, light switches and plug sockets. Thinking about this now will help you decide whether you accommodate this by ordering a shorter height/width or whether you move the fixtures and fittings to achieve the look you want, which may incur added time or cost to your renovation.
Think of colour schemes
You may already have a good idea about the general colour scheme you’ll be using in your renovation, but have you thought about where the skirting fits into that?
There are usually two options when it comes to how to paint your skirting board, either paint it the same colour as your walls or with a contrasting colour. We’ve got more advice about how to use colour on your skirting board, but now is the time to think about how it fits in to your colour scheme.
The design of the skirting can often accentuate your colour choice, for instance if you choose to paint the skirting the same colour as your wall then a skirting board with more of a shadow profile will give a bit of texture to it.
Don’t book builders...yet
Now this might seem like a bit of an odd tip but we don’t mean avoid booking forever! In fact, it is an apt post-script to the idea of planning ahead.
More people than you would think get caught out by booking someone to install their skirting before it has arrived. This would have been a risk in normal times, but in the current times this may just be setting yourself up for problems.
Especially given the situation during and after the pandemic, supply networks are fragile and susceptible to disruption. You can avoid incurring charges from your trade professional by waiting till you have received your order to book them.
This may mean a project takes longer to complete, but I'm sure nobody would want the stress involved on either side if it doesn’t arrive on time due to driver shortages.
Un-primed, Primed or Fully Finished?
Another thing to consider is the finish applied to your skirting boards.
Un-primed Skirting is when your product comes in its raw form. It has been cut to length and the design moulded onto it and that’s all.
It can seem deceptively cheaper than other finishes but of course, that’s because it leaves the sanding, priming and painting in your hands to complete.
You may enjoy this aspect of it or perhaps you want to be in control of the whole process of completing the finish. If that’s the case, then this would be the option to choose.
Pre-primed Skirting means your product arrives having already been sanded and painted with at least one coat of primer. We apply two coats to ensure maximum coverage. There will still be some roughness to the boards from the sanding, but that actually helps the final coats of paint adhere better.
Pre-priming adds some time to the delivery process due to the time needed for the primer to dry properly before shipping, but again, this is where planning ahead comes into the process again, so that you allow enough time before installation.
Fully finished skirting is popular with large DIY retailers more than the specialists as they try to make impulse buying as easy as possible by doing the work for you. They also offer them in every colour you might want, as long as it’s white!
In fact, a fully finished skirting board can cause more headaches than not because unless you take them home yourself you can almost guarantee some of them will get chipped or scuffed by a courier, that’s if you’re able to avoid doing so yourself before they get fitted.
This often means you will end up having to repaint them again, making their purchase unnecessary.
MDF or Wood
The choice of material your skirting boards are made from is also a crucial factor to think about.
Whilst it’s normal to assume it would be made of wood, a natural wood like Pine or Oak might not be the best option. There are a couple of things to consider before choosing the best material for your skirting.
Where your skirting is placed is important. Most wood is moisture absorbent, because that’s what it was designed to do when it was tree! This means it can swell as it gains moisture and then shrink when it evaporates. This natural behaviour can cause warping or even split it, especially if there is a knot.
If your skirting is in a hallway or any other high traffic area of your home, any softwood like Pine, will mark easily. A wood with a higher density of fibres, otherwise known as hardwood, should be fine here though.
We use High Density, Moisture Resistant MDF because it combats these common issues making your skirting much more durable and better value in the long term.
Painted or Natural Finish
The biggest consideration on your buying decision will actually be whether you want a painted or natural finish. If the look of natural wood is what you want for your interior design then there is only one choice.
MDF displays its artificial nature with its ugly raw state. However, if you want a painted finish then there is nothing better.
Natural wood isn’t the best when it comes to painting as its absorbency can leave patches in the paint that won’t give you the even, smooth finish you want. And, to be honest, why pay extra for natural wood if you’re going to paint over it!
The artificial nature of High Density MDF actually benefits painting here as it provides a much more consistent finish.
DIY or Professional
Another choice to be made is whether you are able to fit the skirting board yourself.
Having decided to renovate you may already know your time and budget constraints, but if not, consider this a gentle reminder to take a moment and consider how you are going to get the tasks done.
Perhaps a joined-up approach would be best, dependent on the tools you already have and those which would need to be purchased or hired you can do a certain amount yourself and get someone in to do the rest.
For instance, if you don’t already own a mitre saw, is the best option to buy one, hire one for a few days or pay someone to do the whole thing for you?
Looking at what resources you have and what you need will aid you in mapping what can be done when and by who.
Perhaps there’s even a Makerspace near you, if they have the necessary tools and you can get your materials there?
Of course, a professional will give you a wonderful finish to your home and won’t baulk at a bay window or curves in the hallway, ensuring all joins are perfectly cut and everything is levelled off.
Room by Room or Whole House
There are many reasons as to why you might choose to buy your skirting room by room or the whole house at once.
The main one is probably budget, but also you may already be living in the house and don’t want the whole place turned into a building site which makes ordering room by room the most common sense choice.
If you’re renovating before moving in, that might give you the flexibility to get the whole infrastructure sorted out before taking up residence, in which case ordering all everything you need at once is beneficial.
If budget is a concern, then our 24/7 discount may be able to help there. The more you order, the more you save.
Renovating room by room does give you the flexibility to change things up as you go though. The skirting you buy for your lounge might not be what you would like for your hallway or bedroom, and you may only have the time and money to focus on one room at a time.
If you’ve decided on one look throughout your home, then buying the skirting all at once will give you the biggest savings and means fewer deliveries over time.
Buying skirting is a big investment
You may not have thought it beforehand, but many people don’t realise how big an investment buying skirting board and architrave is for their home.
It can often be an afterthought and then not followed through because of the time and expense involved.
However, a good skirting specialist will help you through the process of what’s best for your home, finding you ways to maximise your budget and guiding you to an informed decision about what to buy.