Fitting skirting board nowadays is a whole lot easier to the difficulties faced many years ago when the design of houses was a little different to that of today.
One of the difficulties usually faced is that the finish on the wall usually stops about 6 or 7 inches from the floorboard. This was done on purpose as it would stop any bridging of the DPC in place thus stopping damp from working its way up the wall. Fitting the skirting board would cover the exposed brickwork showing at the bottom of the wall.
Easier said than done though! Even though you can attach fixings into the top of the skirting board, due of the gap at the bottom of the wall between the plaster end and floorboard, it’s hard to get a fixing point without the bottom of the skirting board ‘moving in’. To solve this problem, many of the older builders from years back would chop out of timber, what is know as twisted plugs. These are essentially timber plugs that would be cut from say three by one inch timber and then hammered into the wall into a mortar joint.
These plugs worked well and in fact, are still used today as a solution to fixing skirting boards in older houses. There is an alternative method though to save cutting the wedges and raking out mortar joints to insert them in. This is a tip that actually not a great deal of people are even aware of so I hope it will be of use to you when fitting skirting boards in older houses.
Drill and plug the wall near to the bottom, maybe every 2.5 feet or so, depending on the area of wall to be covered . Now put screws in deep enough so that you can screw them in or out to meet the bottom of the skirting board and subsequently stop the board from pushing in at the bottom. Adjust the screws or fixings as required.
As well as fixing your skirting boards at the top. You will also be able to get a good fixing near the bottom of the skirting boards without the board pushing in on you. I’ve also know people to have tried packing out the gap at the bottom of the wall with plasterboard etc, this I feel defeats the object as the plasterboard may be getting fitted below DPC level and prone to decay due to damp. In any case, the fixing method in the example above provides a more durable support for the skirting boards.
So next time you’re fitting skirting board to an older property, try this little trick out.