Skirting boards are one of the little details that can make or break a decorating scheme and choosing the right shape and style for your home is just one of the many decisions that can be daunting for the novice decorator and professionals alike.
They do offer a number of functional and aesthetic benefits of course. They were originally installed to conceal uneven plaster finishes and they do make a good job of hiding the 'expansion gap' round the edges of the room if you have a wooden floor. Not to mention provide a good barrier to stop the vacuum cleaner scuffing wallpaper or paint.
But more than that, they reflect the style of your home and so there are a few things to consider.
Left to right: 327 MDF, 330 MDF, Victorian.
If you live in a period home it's always better to preserve as much original detailing as possible. If you absolutely have to replace the skirting boards, it's always better to replicate the style that was already there.
If you live in a contemporary home, a sleeker and cleaner style will suit the interior better.
MDF skirting boards have the following distinct advantages over hard or soft wood.
1. They can be moisture resistant and are less prone to swelling and warping so they are very low maintenance.
2. The are more affordable compaired to many woods.
3. They can be pre-primed or pre-painted.
4. They have a very smooth surface so are easy to re-paint.
5. They are easy to install.
6. They will last much longer than the average softwood equivalent.
7. They can be ordered with pre-routed channels to hide cables making them more accessible than embedding them in the wall.
Left to right: Bullnose, Chamfer, Torus.
HDF skirting boards have the following advantages.
1. It's a highly moisture resistant material which is stronger and harder than MDF.
2. HDF doesn't swell at all making surface decoration much easier.
3. It's perfect in areas where moisture is present (bathrooms etc.) and where flooring that requires frequent mopping is installed.
The only disadvantage over wood is that MDF and HDF skirting boards have to be painted. If you want a stained or varnished finish you will have to choose between hard or soft wood.
Left to right: Grooved, Abbey, Cloud.
This post was written in collaboration with Skirting World who are based in Birmingham in the UK. They deliver skirting boards and architraves all over the country and promise to provide you with the cheapest quotations without compromising on quality. They have a huge range of profile designs and a wide selection of sizes.