Posted on: 29.04.2023 Posted by: Редакция Comments: 0

Whether you’re building from scratch or just remodeling, chances are you’ll need to decide whether to install skirting boards and wonder when the best time for it is – before or after the flooring?

Skirting boards are commonly installed before the flooring, although this depends on the type of flooring used. For carpets, it is necessary to have the skirting in place so that the edges can be tucked underneath and out of sight. However, for hardwood or laminate, it is easier to attach the trim afterwards.

In this article, we will explore why skirting boards are necessary and when and in what situations they should be installed. We will also address any issues you may encounter and how to handle a remodeling project. 

What are skirting boards?

Skirting boards are usually made from vinyl, plastic, or wood and are long boards used to cover the gap where the wall meets the floor. They are aesthetically pleasing and are used to protect the wall from damage caused by shoes or vacuum cleaners. 

Simple skirting boards are straight boards attached to the wall at their base. They are flat and often painted in plain white or to match the wall. These have no design and can be made from relatively inexpensive materials. 

However, most skirting boards have some shape or design. Depending on the size of the room, a tall ornate skirting board would be visually appealing. However, it would look out of place in a small room with low ceilings. The skirting board should not only match the room but also complement the rest of the house. 

Why is there a gap on the wall?

During construction, most walls have either a piece of wood or a metal frame at the base. These are secured to the subfloor (the underlayment upon which you lay carpet, hardwood or laminate) with nails. In most cases, the drywall is then attached to the frame from above, leaving a gap of at least 2.5 cm (1 inch) between the bottom of the panel and the floor. 

The gap is intended to prevent damage to the drywall from moisture. Even the slightest spill on drywall walls can seep in and compromise the integrity of the wall. In the case of larger spills or flooding, the gap helps prevent excessive damage. 

This gap is why most households use skirting boards. They cover up the hole and act as a barrier between moisture in the room and the exposed drywall underneath. Building codes not only require an elevated skirting, but you also risk the drywall expanding significantly if it gets wet.  

When should skirting boards be installed?

Skirting boards can be installed before or after the flooring, and this often depends on the contractor and their preference, as well as the type of flooring being laid. In most cases, wooden trims are applied and painted before the flooring is laid, but there are no definitive reasons why this must be the case. 

Regardless of when they are attached, there should always be a gap between the floor and the skirting board. This gap allows for any expansion of the materials over time. It also allows for airflow to reduce the likelihood of moisture entering the drywall. 

The gap should be measured to the depth of the flooring being laid. For example, with a certain type of hardwood, you would need to know the depth to provide enough space to install the flooring under the skirting board. 

In contrast, carpet is more forgiving. Carpet can be tucked under the remaining gap, although the gap should still be measured. For example, a thin carpet would require much less space than a plush high-pile carpet. 

Before carpet

In addition to protecting drywall from moisture damage, the reason for installing skirting boards before carpet is to achieve a neater end result. Once the carpet is laid and cut, the edges are tucked under the skirting for a clean finish. 

Another important reason for installing the trim first is to be able to paint or stain it without having to worry about getting paint on the new carpet. Although it is possible to lay down plastic, there is always the chance that the plastic will tear or allow stains to seep through. This would result in costly repairs or cleaning of the new flooring, which is why most contractors avoid it. 

Instead, you install the skirting boards and add the desired finish first. You want to be finished with painting or staining when the skirting board is in place so that the paint or stain helps to conceal the nails used for attachment. 

In the video below, you can see how to properly install the trim before the carpet:

The average height of raised trim is 6.35 mm (¼ inch), but it may need to be larger if you are using a thicker carpet. 

After hardwood or laminate flooring

As mentioned above, it is a matter of preference whether the skirting boards are installed before or after the installation of hardwood or laminate flooring. The argument for installing skirting boards first primarily lies in how much easier it is to paint and trim the walls without having to worry about the new floor. By installing and finishing the skirting boards first, there is no need to tape plastic sheets to protect new flooring. 

However, installing the trim can make laying the flooring more difficult. If you start at one end of the room, it can be challenging to add the last piece once you reach the other side. 

In the video below, you can see how the last row of flooring can be trimmed and how a pull bar is used to attach it:

With this method, there is a visible gap between the flooring and the skirting board. In this case, a quarter round would need to be installed to smooth the transition. This is easy to install but often requires painting to match the skirting board. The following video shows how to properly install a quarter round:

Instead of using a quarter round, it would be easier to install the flooring first and add the skirting board afterwards. This way, the gap will be much cleaner, and any small gaps can be covered with caulk. 


In the case of a remodel where the skirting board is already in place, it is better to remove the skirting board to properly install the new flooring. In many cases, the skirting board may be dirty, damaged, or worn and should be replaced. 

On the other hand, replacing the skirting board can be costly, and removing it may potentially cause unwanted damage. If the boards are torn, they may not fit back properly into place. 

If it is not practical to remove the skirting board or if you do not want to risk damage, it is possible to undercut the existing skirting, as shown in the following video:

This requires the use of a saw or electric cutting tool to trim the skirting board to allow the new flooring to fit underneath.


When replacing or adding carpet in your home, it is better to install the skirting boards first. This is because they can be laid and finished with paint or stain without having to worry about spills on the new carpet. Once dry and secure, the carpet can be cut, trimmed, and tucked under the skirting to achieve clean edges in the room. 

For hardwood or laminate flooring, installing the skirting boards afterwards is easier and leaves a cleaner finish. It can also prevent the need for less attractive quarter rounds. 

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