You know the problem for sure: the floor has been laid, you can move in, and after years of “hesitating”, the time has finally come. The skirting boards can be mounted! What a joy. At home, too, it took six years for the last bar to fit. In this article, I would therefore like to go into how you can saw and cut skirting boards and how I proceeded:
Table of Contents
- Why attach skirting boards at all?
- What material are skirting boards made of?
- Which saw to use for skirting boards?
- Which saw can / should not be used to machine baseboards?
- Miter saw skirting boards
Why attach skirting boards at all?
Isn’t it possible without skirting boards? Of course, you can live well without the skirting board, but it offers some advantages and makes sense:
- It is a visually beautiful finish to the bottom at the edges.
- It prevents dust and dirt from collecting in the joint between the brickwork and wooden floor.
- It protects the lower wall area from damage (because furniture cannot be pushed all the way against the wall).
For these reasons, I finally decided to install the skirting boards in our house.
What material are skirting boards made of?
Skirting boards are usually made of MDF (medium-density fibreboard) or solid wood.
MDF strips are made of wood and not pure wood. The density here is around 43 to 50 lb/ft3. The advantages are good machinability, low weight, and lower costs.
If you have a solid wood floor, you may also choose suitable chair rails for it. Above all, solid wood offers great advantages in terms of quality and appearance, as each strip’s grain is very individual. In addition, there is no wood material under the coating, but the entire bar is made of solid wood.
Which type you choose also depends on the flooring and your budget.
Which saw to use for skirting boards?
There are several saws that I think are good for skirting boards:
For me, there is a table saw, a miter saw (chop saw), and the precision saw if you prefer to work by hand.
I have always used the table saw, or the precision saw with a miter drawer to saw my skirting boards. I would like to briefly explain the three possible types of saws and my assessment.
Cut skirting boards with a miter saw
Miter saw is predestined for cutting skirting boards to length. Even in a rectangular room, you already have eight miter cuts to make. In rooms with more corners and protrusions or recesses, of course, even more. This is what the chop saw is made for.
Related: Best homeowner miter saw
If you get one, make sure that it has a good scale and that you can set the sawangle precisely. Don’t forget: if you want to miter a 45 ° angle, you need two 22.5 ° cuts.
The disadvantage is that not everyone has a miter saw at home, and that is, of course, a cost factor to buy one just for cutting the skirting boards. However, if you already have a model at home, I would definitely use it.
Saw skirting boards with a table saw
As already indicated above, I mostly used my table saw when sawing skirting boards. Ensure that you are using the correct saw blade (and with the miter saw) and that it is sharp.
If not, the strip can fray when sawing – it doesn’t look good at all and with MDF strips, the wood-based material under the top layer, which stands out in color, often comes out.
Good scaling is also important for the table saw.
Related: Choose a table saw under $200
Cut skirting board with a precision saw
The third option is to cut skirting boards with a hand saw. In my opinion, only a fine saw in combination with a miter drawer can be considered.
I always did that when I didn’t want to drag the table saw from my nearby building into the house.
It should be noted here that it is more strenuous and can also be inaccurate in some cases. Namely, when the miter drawer is already worn out, and the 45 ° miter is no longer accurate. Here I have often reworked with the cutter knife, which can also be used for MDF skirting boards.
The big disadvantage is that such drawers are usually only designed for 90 ° and 45 ° cuts, and you are faced with an unsolvable task at other angles.
As an alternative to the electric miter saw, there are also miter saws that you can operate by hand and that cost less.
Which saw can / should not be used to machine baseboards?
For example, the jigsaw, the (coarse-toothed) foxtail, or a hand-held circular saw are not suitable for sawing skirting boards or are very poorly suited.
With these saws, there is the problem of guidance or improper tooth geometry. Therefore I do not have and would not saw skirting boards with these models.
Miter saw skirting boards
In my experience, most problems are caused by sawing skirting boards on a miter (i.e., at a certain angle). For a 90 ° corner of a room, this is twice 45 ° or, for a 45 ° corner, for example, twice 22.5 °. The first case is clearly the most common in practice:
A 90 ° angle is the most common. The other angles are rather rare but relatively difficult to the miter saw.
In any case, measure the required length of the skirting board exactly with a folding rule or measuring tape and transfer the measurement to the skirting board. A sharpened pencil is usually sufficient for marking.
You can transfer an angle with a so-called bevel. This is often an advantage in old buildings, where you have to deal with “imprecise” 90 ° angles (for example, 93 ° or 86 ° angles). But the bevel is also well suited for transferring other angular shapes.
Always saw with a saw blade that is very fine (has many teeth) and very sharp. This is how you get the best and most “fringe-free” saw cuts (more on this here: sawing wood without fraying ).
Related: Buy a cordless miter saw
In any case, fix the bar, regardless of whether it is in the miter drawer * or the miter saw. This prevents it from slipping, and you have both hands free to saw.
Tip: We recommend using the same bar in the same corner. Even the smallest color differences (production-related) can be noticeable negatively if you use two different strips.
To avoid mistakes in reasoning – these are a very common occurrence – check again (mentally) before each miter cut whether the 45 ° bevel fits. This means that you do not have the “pleasure” of seeing and adjusting certain corners several times.