Gap behind skirting

23 Jul 2019
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United Kingdom
Recently moved into property built early 1900.

Skirting had small crack where it meets wall - on further investigation skirting has gaps of various sizes between board and wall.

No plaster below top of skirting and boards are attached loosely to wooden blocks. 5CF91CBD-F69E-4378-B973-9061ABF63F2E.jpeg83559957-6DEF-484D-8329-44653AEFA704.jpegE8B82FAF-592D-49D5-B63A-37B591B90E12.jpeg

Ideally it would be good to remove boards to fully assess the situation however I don’t want to damage them and they have beading nailed to them where they meet the floor.

Is there anyway to fill these large gaps or should I remove the boards to reattach them more neatly to the wall?

Any advice would be great

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that's quite normal. Examine the wall carefully for any signs on damp on the inside or outside suefaces.

The usual method of fixing at that period was to fix small pieces of timber, usually wedged into a joint in the brickwork, sometimes a block on the surface nailed into the brick. If yours are loose they want refixing really.

If you use filler it will crack as the board moves around according to humidity. Even decorators grout.

The easiest bodge would be to drill through the board into the wall, use a long frame fixing and screw, and smudge filler over the screwhole. You probably need to do this at intervals of a metre or less.

A proper job would be to take the skirting off, of course. Pry off the beading first, then use two or three bolsters (or spades) to lever the board away slowly. Once you have one end off it will be easy.

Opinions differ, but my preference for a first-class job is to clean off the plaster at and below the top of the skirting, and fix a batten to the wall, where it will line up with the skirting top, all the way along. If you can manage to have it match the thickness of the plaster so much the better, even if you have to use spacers. And another batten about an inch up from the floor. You will use filler or plaster to repair the plaster down to the top batten.

You can plug and screw these battens firmly to the wall. As they are flat and straight you can later fix the skirting with small countersunk screws that you can easily hide when redecorating. If they need to come off in future you only need to locate and undo the small screws.

A builder might use glue, but I will assume this is your own house and you want a nice job rather than a quick one.

The beading will either be to hide the edge of laminate or similar floor covering, or to prevent draughts and dirt blowing up from under the skirting. Both of these can be addressed better in another thread.
Hi John,

That is an incredibly informative reply and just what I needed.

I will remove boards to fully assess and hopefully get some batons in behind them.

Thank you!
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btw if old original boards split, they are very hard to match, but you can repair them with a modern resin wood glue. Clean well, loosely assemble on a sheet of plastic or clingfilm, apply glue generously onto the broken surfaces, clamp them tightly together (if you have no suitable clamps or vice, use a Spanish Windlass (piece of string). I use the waterproof glue in the blue bottle, just in case.

Wipe off the excess glue that squeezes out, especially on the face side

Leave to dry thoroughly. You can put a weight to hold them flat.

You can also wind sellotape tightly round the pieces to clamp them together. The glue under the tape will be slow to dry so you can clean it off when you remove the tape.

It is easier to do small pieces, like corners, because you can handle them.

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