Plastering or Skirting Board?


5 Apr 2017
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United Kingdom
Hi there,

A dilemma: here's the situation:

When we bought the house (stone Cornish cottage, c. 1890s) a few years ago it had that engineered bamboo flooring. We took a deep breath, ripped it up and found a really good Victorian floor underneath. Plus ****loads of glue blobs.

Just got round to dealing with the skirting boards - they were bamboo floorboards with a bit of beading glued on top. Anyway, having taken them off I find they were secured with gripfill to the original (I think) lime plaster. A lot of that came off with the bamboo skirting too, so what we've got behind where the boards will go is mostly bare lath on the interior walls and the stone / mortar on the exterior wall. The plaster in the room is mostly okay.

It's not a huge room, so in total I only need to do about 12 running metres of skirting.

What with the floor being raised by the bamboo in the past and damage to the bottom edge of the plaster, the height between floorboard and bottom edge of the plaster is about 7 1/4" (185mm)

Standard skirting board off the shelf is about 6 5/8" (168mm ish) so clearly that would leave a gap between the top of the board and the plaster.

Option 1

Should I get a plasterer in to bring the plaster down a few inches? It would mean bringing the plaster out from lath and from mortar (3/4" or an inch depth) in a strip along the base of the wall. There are complications in terms of a bay window, a radiator its thin copper pipes (rayburn fed pump fed rad system) and a couple of electrical sockets.

A secondary issue is that the plaster is lime - do I really want to be putting gypsum on it? Should I get a lime plasterer to do it?

Option 2
Or, it seems to me I buy the off the shelf skirting, rip off the moulding on the reverse I don't want, glue and screw 1X3 strip to the bottom of it, sand and fill that, plane it to 7 1/2" and fit that.

Option 3
Or I source 7 1/2 inch boards and get them run up on a spindle moulder to the correct shape.

Option 4
Something else I've not thought of.

A.N.Other problem
I have read that in most Victorian houses, the skirting boards were usually fitted before the plaster was finished, so I expected to find the old wooden wedges (those ones people call 'propellor-shaped') driven in to the masonry to take the nails for the skirting. I didn't find anything that could have secured the original boards.

Also, I can't find anything on how skirting boards were secured to stud walls - blocks? Over the lath?

Any thoughts welcome!


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Thanks - I'll look into that.

Any other comments welcome - specifically how to support the skirting board by blocking out from the stud work or masonry.
Last edited:
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Just pack out with off its of mdf or ply to depth of plaster. Foam adhesive will fill any voids and adheres quicker than most adhesives.

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