Plaster skim has a bell bottom along bottom edge (problem fixing skirting)

30 Mar 2012
Reaction score
United Kingdom
I had a plasterer in a while back and now that the skirting needs to go on I find that the bottom edge is flared out, like the bell along the bottom of external render but not as pronounced. The new skirting will have quite a gap along the top if I fix it upright and will look quite odd if I just fix it flush to the wall as it is.

Is there any tool that I can use to manually shave the dry plaster back along the bottom of the wall? I'm not keen on putting an electric sander on it because it'll just clog (and fill the house with dust)? In fact, sanding will take forever so it's not an option.

Thank y'all.
Sponsored Links
if you're fitting skirting you don't need the plaster to go right down to the floor.

Skirting can be fitted before plastering, when there will be no plaster behind it (or you can fix an 18mm batten to the wall to give the plasterer an edge to finish against).

You could chip off the bottom few inches of plaster with a broad bolster and a club hammer. If it is still fresh and damp this will not make much dust. It doesn't need to be sanded smooth because the cut will be out of sight behind the skirting.

if you don't want to do that, an alternative is:

Stand the skirting on the floor against the wall and pencil a level line on the wall at skirting-top height

Firmly fix a batten to the wall, with batten top height along the line, and another batten lower down as convenient, but above the bell.

Screw your skirting to the batten. You only need small screws.

The whole skirting will stand out by the wall by the extra thickness of your top batten. Hopefully this will not annoy you too much.
Either knock the 'bell' out with a bolster up to the height of the skirting, then use expanding foam to fix the skirt, or if you know how, use a circular saw with the depth limiter set to arch out the skirting board where the bell is, so it will sit flush
I would get an electric sander and sand the plaster down so it is level with existing plaster then silicon the back of the skirting and press it home flush..
Sponsored Links
The whole skirting will stand out by the wall by the extra thickness of your top batten. Hopefully this will not annoy you too much.

Might be a problem where the skirting meets the door architraves though.
I got small surform to take off the proud areas along the bottom of the wall, it didn't take long ( luckily it came with a free replacement blade). I drilled out and put in some 6mm dowel plugs with a shot of pva in each hole 1st, to screw into. A bit old school but I like the skirting to go flush to the wall, and to stay there.

You know the way that door jambs shrink back below the surface of the plaster over the years as they dry out, so if you replace the architrave the new doesn't go on flush and the mitres look rough?

You can get 10x2x600 modelling pine "planks" on Amazon as cheap as chips, it doesn't take long to set them back 6mm right around the edges of the jambs with a wipe of pva and a few small panel pins, then the new architrave goes on a treat with mitres looking good.

DIYnot Local

Staff member

If you need to find a tradesperson to get your job done, please try our local search below, or if you are doing it yourself you can find suppliers local to you.

Select the supplier or trade you require, enter your location to begin your search.

Are you a trade or supplier? You can create your listing free at DIYnot Local