Do skirting boards go on before flooring (Laminate, carpet, vinyl, tiles)

The DIY Fix is reader supported. When you buy after clicking a link on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Whether you’re renovating an entire property, or just redecorating individual rooms in your home. The jobs that you do, will need doing in a certain order. For some things, this order isn’t always clear, and there are often various answers to the same question.

One example of this, is when you are adding new skirting boards and new flooring. A common question is which should you do first. The answer to this question can vary.

There are certain types of flooring where skirting boards are fitted first and other types of flooring where skirting is added after the floor is laid. The goal is to achieve the best quality finish for each different type of flooring.

In this article, we will be looking at 4 common types of flooring, and whether you add skirting before or after.

do skirting boards go on before flooring

Do Skirting boards go on before laminate flooring?

If you are starting from scratch and you don’t have skirting already fitted, you should always add your laminate first. When adding the laminate, allow a small expansion gap around the edges. This will allow for any movement in the flooring. Make sure the gap is small enough to be covered by the skirting boards.

By adding your skirting afterwards, you will hide the expansion gap and provide a completely seamless finish. This will be much neater, and you won’t need to fill or cover any gaps.

If you already have skirting fitted and you don’t want to remove it, then you will need to do additional work, to ensure any expansion gaps where the floor meets the skirting are hidden. This can be done by fitting some flooring trim. The flooring trim will sit in the corner at the bottom of the skirting. Here it will overlap the bottom of the skirting and the edge of the floor.

Trim is easy to fit, just apply a small amount of grab adhesive to the back edge of the trim (the edge that will be on the skirting). And secure in place with some small panel pins.

Do skirting boards go on top of tiles?

If you are tiling a floor and you intend to add skirting boards, your tiles should be fitted first, and your skirting boards should go on top. This is by far the neatest way.

The skirting boards can even be scribed to the floor, if your tiles are not 100% flat and level. Following this you can seal any small gaps with a bead of silicone, or some decorators caulk in areas that are low moisture.

If skirtings are already in place, then you can add your tiles after. However, you will have to ensure you maintain a very even and straight edge where your tiles meet the skirting. Obviously, if your skirting is done first, any small discrepancies are hidden by the skirting board. Whereas, when adding tiles afterwards, the discrepancies will be much more obvious. This means your cuts need to be bang on when fitting tiles after skirting.

If you do add tiles after the skirting, you can seal the joint in exactly the same way with some silicone or decorator’s caulk. If the edge is looking a bit rough, you could also opt for a trim (like you would do with laminate).

Does skirting go on before or after carpet

Unlike laminate flooring or tiles, skirting is always added before carpeting.

Once the skirting is in place, a carpet fitter will add grippers around the edge. This is followed by and underlay, then the carpet is laid on top. When the carpet is laid, the edges are pushed over the grippers tight, bringing them up to the skirting boards.

One instance where you may have problems, is when you are converting from laminate to carpet. When you do this, there will be a gap under the existing skirting. If your new carpet and underlay is thin, this could mean the gap is visible.

If this is the case, you will need to find a way of filling the gap. You could achieve this by over boarding the floor with a thin ply (6-9mm). Alternatively, you could add some timber to the gap below the skirting (glue, fill, and paint).

Does skirting go on before vinyl

Ideally this would be another type of flooring where skirting is added after. However, it is still possible to add vinyl when the skirting is already in place. The process would be very similar and a good vinyl floor specialist, should be able to create a seamless finish in both scenarios

Following installation, a small bead of silicone or decorators caulk can be added to provide a nice clean finish. Also, if there are any rough edges, a floor trim at the bottom of the skirting is always an option.

Conclusion

As you can see, the order of skirting board and flooring installation is not a one size fits all solution. Some flooring is better added first, and for things like carpet, you should always add them after skirting.

Also, there are many instances where skirting is already installed. For example, if you are refurbishing a room. In this scenario, it’s unlikely you will want to rip out your existing skirting boards. Therefore, you will have to install the flooring with the skirting boards in place. This will require some additional work, to make sure you achieve the perfect finish.