null Skip to main content


The History Of Skirting Boards | Where Did They Originate?

The History Of Skirting Boards | Where Did They Originate?

Posted by Lee Watkinson on 19th Sep 2018

The History Of Skirting Boards

The public knows that while a skirting board has many uses and is handy to have, most do not truly know what it does or even the origin of a skirting board.

Where did it come from? Why was it made and how is it still a relevant piece of the house many years later? In today's blog, we will be talking about the history of the skirting board and why it’s still important today.

Madrid MDF Skirting Boards

The History

The term skirting boards was first mentioned in the Victorian era when rich individuals were trying to keep up the grand designs of their houses.

At that time walls were made from bricks and heat used to be a huge problem. Many people couldn’t afford a radiator to keep warm.

Plaster finishes at the bottom of walls also varied in quality too. Many were poorly painted which meant that a lot of houses needed this covered up.

Back then, the skirting board was seen to do two jobs. The first job was covering up the poor finishes of plaster and keeping the house warm.

The second job, for those who could afford it, was to give the house a grander look. They achieved this by making the skirting boards huge, usually 30cm plus in height.

Luxury houses back then had high ceiling's and the size of the skirting boards only made this more obvious to those who would be inside the home.

The idea that skirting boards could be used to make homes look good was in mind for the Victorians and we can see this continue into the modern era.

It was only during the 20 th century that now, not only were people getting a chance to have skirting boards, houses became smaller too. This meant needing big wooden skirting was no longer needed.

Smaller skirting took its place instead and rather than wood, MDF and simpler designs for the most part replaced wood as the material of choice due to cheaper costs and longer shelf life.

Skirting Boards Today

A lot has changed about how skirting boards are used today. In the Victorian era, not only did skirting boards come to light, other items used included dado rail and picture rail.

Picture rails were used to hang picture frames and make them appear to float in the air, a real luxury at the time.

Dado rails were used to prevent the backs of chairs from causing damage to the walls.

Of all the items to remain relevant, only the skirting board has maintained general success as many people still use them today. But why is this?

For one, skirting boards have changed with the times. Although its main use is still relevant, it's now seen as fashionable to have nice looking skirting boards.

In the UK, there are so many new profile designs - anyone can now make their homes really stand out.

There are also many different heights and thickness options, which would not have been available to the public during Victorian times. This has opened the idea that skirting boards are essential, not just for wall protection and warmth but for style and making the house come to life.

The Future?

Although house designs are changing and homes are once again looking to be more streamlined, skirting boards haven’t diminished in sales or popularity

These once simple items are now changing with the times and due to this, skirting boards have remained relevant throughout the years.

If skirting boards were still made of wood it may have been in trouble. However, thanks to the invention of man made MDF, skirting boards can be made forever and they can last a lifetime too (unlike the wooden counterparts of yesteryear).


Skirting boards are here to stay. It's safe to say that the Victorians were somewhat ahead of their time as the ideas present in those days regarding the uses of skirting boards have carried on and expanded as time has moved on.

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed reading this blog. If you want to see more click here or if you want to see our new videos, please visit our YouTube channel. Otherwise, we will see you next time.


Lee Watkinson Avator

Lee Watkinson

Digital Marketing Director at Skirting World with 10 years of experience in Home Interiors & Manufacturing.