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How to cut skirting board

Learning how to cut skirting boards yourself is worthwhile for the more DIY minded among us. However, as there are various tools and saws involved, we’d highly recommend considering hiring a professional to safely achieve the desired results.

Learning how to cut skirting boards yourself is worthwhile for the more DIY minded among us. However, as there are various tools and saws involved, we’d highly recommend hiring a professional to safely achieve the desired results.

If you’re still keen to get started, then we’ve put together this guide to help steer you in the right direction. Read on for our top tips.

How to cut skirting board

There are two likely cuts you’ll need to make when it comes to sawing your skirting board:

  • Internal – when you join your skirting boards together to point inwards.
  • External – when you join your skirting boards together to point outwards.

These are required for perfect joints around or inside each corner of your home.

Read our skirting board fitting cost guide for more information on pricing up your project.

Tools you’ll need for the job

How to cut skirting board blog: Tradesperson on floor preparing the skirting boardBefore you get started, equip yourself with the following tools.

  • Protective equipment
  • A hand saw
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Mitre box
  • Hand plane
  • Sandpaper
  • Tape measure
  • Coping saw
  • Precision saw
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A step by step to cut skirting board

Step one: Measure the board

Take your skirting board and line it up along the wall it’s being attached to. Mark the corner of the wall on the skirting board and draw a line with a pencil and ruler.

Top tip: Don’t forget to mark which corner the skirting board is on using an arrow that faces inwards or outwards. Also, consider whether it’s on the left or right.

Step two: Secure your mitre box

We’re often asked how to cut skirting board at 45 degrees, and unless you’re a professional with particular know-how, we recommend using a mitre box to help you.

In order to use one effectively, you need to attach it to a firm and secure surface. If you have a workbench, nail it to that. Otherwise, securely screw it to a piece of timber you’re able to kneel on while you make your cuts.

Make sure your mitre box is secure, otherwise it could slip when you begin cutting. This could cause injury to yourself or create an untidy finish on your skirting board seams.

Step three: Position the skirting board

Slide the board into the mitre box with the front-facing you (check your previous markings). The end you need to cut should be in the middle.

Step four: Saw the right angle

Cut the skirting board angles using the mitre box. With the board positioned correctly, place the saw in the correct gap using the left or right arrow you previously marked as a guide (right for right and left for left).

Be careful here, as the wrong angle means the skirting board might be unusable.

Step five: Make the cut

Use your chosen saw to make your cuts and use long, even strokes and pressure. Once the saw goes through, remove the board from the mitre box.

Typical issues other people make: Cutting the wrong angle or size here is a problem. It’s an issue that you can’t recover from and results in wasted skirting board material. Too many miscuts and you will need to order more skirting board.

Step six: Sand the exposed wood

With your skirting board perfectly cut to the right size and angles, take your sandpaper and give the ends of the wood a quick rub.

Step seven: Use your hand plane if required

Place your skirting boards against the wall and see whether they fit. If they do not fit, you’ll need to use the hand plane to shave the wood along the same angle you made your cut and check whether it fits. If it’s too long, you’ll need to go back and recut the skirting using the mitre box. However, if it’s too short, things get a little trickier. A professional tradesperson may have a clever way to make sure it meets the adjacent skirting board, but this depends on who you hire.

For more complicated jobs, consider hiring a professional to ensure a good finish. And don’t forget to price up your project using our ‘cost of replacing skirting boards and door frames‘ guide. 

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How to cut skirting board without removing it

Learning how to cut a skirting board on a wall without removing it is tricky. We’d recommend hiring a professional to complete this intricate job for you. However, if you want to give it a go yourself, here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. How to cut a skirting board. Image: A man measuring and fitting a skirting board to a plain white wall.Drill a small hole at the bottom of the board so you don’t have to cut all the way down.
  2. Use a piece of wood to guide and steady your tenon saw as you cut the skirting board.
  3. Avoid cutting the wall or wallpaper by protecting it with some corrugated cardboard.
  4. Cut the board at a 45-degree angle.
  5. Alternatively, use a stitch drill and chisel to carefully shave the board into shape.

How to cut skirting board without a mitre saw

The only options for cutting your skirting board without a mitre saw are as follows:

  1. With a hand saw
  2. Using a precision saw
  3. With a multi-cutter
  4. Using a normal hand saw placed in a mitre box

Check out our guide, ‘how to fit skirting boards‘ for expert advice on fitting skirting boards from scratch.

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Should I hire a professional?

To look good, skirting boards require joints that fit perfectly and seamlessly in and around the corners of your home. For this reason, we always recommend hiring a professional to do the job for you. Not only will it ensure a decent finish, but it saves you the hassle of sawing, shaving and filing the boards yourself.

What is the best tool to cut skirting boards?

A coping saw and mitre box are the best tools for cutting skirting boards yourself. You can purchase both items online or at your local DIY retailer.

How do you cut skirting boards without taking them off?

With difficulty! Use our guide in the section ‘How to cut skirting board without removing it‘ to help you. Alternatively, hire one of our expert tradespeople to help you.

How do you cut skirting board with a hand saw?

Carefully and precisely. There’s a lot of measuring involved to get the right angle, and even experienced professionals take their time to get it right.

Like what you see? There’s more where this came from. Why not check out our blog for more tips, how-tos and household inspiration? 

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