Billowy – you talking about my skirt?!

Dreaming of a little trip down Bond Street to find a new billowy skirt, that would be perfect for this week’s champagne-sipping party… 

But reality bites, sadly shopping isn’t on the agenda today (though have included my favourite flowery skirt for you)… I can’t skirt the issue any more, have to remove skirting boards.

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Skirting boards can be pretty stubborn… they are very well attached to the base of walls (well mine are, anyway) with some being across two different rooms (seriously, whoever installed them clearly had a memory lapse, or perhaps were ultra cowboy).

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Why remove skirting boards?

If you are doing DIY on walls and putting e.g. plaster/plaster board then you have to remove skirting boards so you can get a flush finish.  Also if skirting boards are rotten then they might need removing and replacing.

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Challenges with skirting boards

Behind their shiny, smooth exterior, their reverse-side attachments to the wall can be very chunky, solid and secure – often perpendicular to the skirting board in-between bricks or attached very securely with nails…

Combined with their being sunk into the floor a good inch or so, to ensure that vertical stance.

So they are a challenge to remove especially as the aim is to not damage the wall like the structural bricks, joists etc.  To prevent wall damage you may need to use a separate piece of wood to leverage against whilst prising the skirting board away.

Once removed skirting boards might leave a hole in the floor to the foundations below – not great as unless you have finished DIY, as you don’t want to drop further debris down the hole. Solution is that I removed the skirting boards then rested them against the edge of the wall until DIY finished and debris removed.

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What do you need?

  1. You – Usual suspects…. Eye goggles, face mask, gloves, old clothes, thick-soled shoes
  2. Chisel – I used Screwfix Roughneck Cold Chisel and Guard 1×12″ £9.99
  3. Mallet
  4. Rubble sacks

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What are the steps?

  1. Electrics – Turn off at the mains
  2. Clear the area – As I discovered, this can get messy with alot of debris
  3. Remove debris between wall and skirting board – After prior removal of plaster, lath, coving etc it is likely between your skirting board and wall there is a LOT of debris.  Remove it and put into rubble sacks, so the gap is as clean as possible
  4. Inspection – Look for joins in the skirting board whereby it might be easier to initiate prying the first piece from the wall.  Identify the skirting board reverse-side attachments to the wall as you need to put force closest to these
  5. Leverage item – So as not to damage the wall, by the first attachment that you are decide to remove, put a piece of solid board flush against the wall
  6. Prise with force – Using the chisel (and mallet if necessary) forcing against the leverage item wood, gently prise the skirting board away from the wall
  7. Multiple leverage points – As one attachment starts to prise away, move along to the next attachment and the next, so that for one skirting board all attachments are all prised off at equal measure.
  8. Lift – When all attachments loose, gently lift the skirting board out of position.  If it is very sunken in the floor, you might need to use the chisel and mallet to lift its base slightly until the entire board lifts
  9. Remove debris – Remove surrounding debris and try not to spill any into holes in the floor.
  10. Rest skirting boards on floor – To minimise further debris dropping to the foundations, until you have finished DIY I suggest you leave the skirting boards face down on the floor at the base of the wall

Leveraging the force of prising the skirting board from against the wall:

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Laying removed boards reverse-side up to prevent further debris dropping into foundations:

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