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How To Cut Skirting Boards

Posted by Skirting World on 27th Feb 2019

How To Cut Skirting Boards

So, you've bought some new skirting boards and you're ready to start fitting them. During the process, you'll need to cut them so we're going to show you how to cut skirting boards.

You'll likely need to make various cuts in the skirting board when installing them including straight cuts, internal mitres and external mitres.

Tools Needed To Cut Skirting

First off, we'll talk about the tools needed to cut a skirting board.

Here's a list of everything that may be needed:

  • Skirting Boards (of course!)
  • Hand Saw (or Chop Saw)
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Hand Plane
  • Sandpaper
  • Mitre Box
  • Coping Saw
  • Tape Measure

Because you'll likely be making multiple types of cuts, we've listed all the tools required to perform them.

Best Type Of Saw For Cutting MDF

If you're new skirting boards are MDF (as most are in this day and age), certain saws will do a much better job. This is because of how MDF is manufactured.

Straight Cut Using A Hand Saw

We recommend using a saw with a carbide tipped blade as the high glue content within MDF can dull a regular steel blade rather quickly.

You'll also want to use a blade with as many teeth as possible. This will reduce the risk of the MDF chipping as you saw through it (but it will make more dust so always wear the correct safety equipment!).

If you have access to one, a table saw would be the perfect tool for straight cuts. However, you'll need to make sure that the table saw is hooked up to an adequate dust extraction system.

Straight Cuts

Straight cuts are likely to be made due to skirting boards coming in increasingly longer lengths (we offer 3050mm and 4200mm as standard).

Some walls won't require a full length so you'll need to cut the board to size using a straight cut.

You can use pretty much any kind of tool that is used to cut wood to do straight cuts.

Mitre Cuts

When fitting skirting, this is another type of cut you'll need to make. The most common are internal mitres and external mitres.

A mitre cut is used when skirting boards meet at an angle, normally on a corner.

When cutting a mitre, most people use a mitre box or a mitre saw.

Using A Mitre Box To Cut Skirting Boards

The average DIYer may use a mitre box to keep costs down, especially if they don't mitre skirting boards that often. A mitre saw is the tool of choice for professionals (such as carpenters).

Cutting Skirting Boards With A Mitre Saw

Mitre boxes contain slots that act as guides for the saw blade, normally at 90 and 45 degree angles.

Mitre saws (especially the compound versions) are capable of cutting a wider variety of angles that a mitre box. It's also quicker and more accurate.

How To Cut Skirting Boards Without A Mitre Saw

We've updated this post to include this section. We've seen a lot of customers asking 'how to cut skirting boards without a mitre saw', so here you go!

There's a few options to choose from:

  • Cut the skirting board by hand
  • Use a mitre box along with a normal hand saw (as mentioned above)
  • Use a precision saw
  • Hire a saw

You can simply choose any 1 of the 4 options above to avoid buying an expensive mitre saw. If you only have a small number of cuts to make (e.g. not fitting skirting in an entire house), there's no point in investing in expensive equipment.

Now we'll quickly explain each option so you can make an informed decision:

Cut The Skirting Board By Hand

In short - this simply involves drawing a guide on the skirting and then using a hand saw to follow the guide and make the cut.

Cutting Skirting Board By Hand

Image Credit - Woodworkers Institute

However, the process is not as easy as it may sound. Experienced carpenters have done this for years so are naturally better than a DIYer.

A straight cut is easier than a mitre cut using this method, but should still be done with care. For  straight cut, you'll preferably need a square (tool use to draw perfectly square and 90 degree lines), a pencil and a saw.

For a mitre cut, you'll also need a protractor to measure and draw your angle onto the skirting board (this is used as the guide for the saw).

If you choose this method, prepare yourself for a lot of work. As you can imagine, you'll most likely be making a cut on both ends of the skirting board for several pieces of skirting (that's lots of measuring, drawing and cutting!).

The hardest part of this method is without a doubt being able to cut a precise and straight line with just a hand saw.

Using A Mitre Box

We won't say to much about this method as we have mentioned it earlier in this post.

A mitre box simply takes away the need to draw guides on the skirting. It already has guides for the saw (normally at least the 90 and 45 degree angles) so all you need to do is place the skirting board inside he mitre box and use your hand saw to perform the cut.

Using A Precision Saw

This can be seen as an alternative to a mitre box. A precision saw is a saw that is built onto guides with a swivel base and stand (all in one).

The main advantage of these is that they are more accurate than doing it by hand or using a mitre box. However, they are bulky and can be difficult to store if you are restricted with space.

Hiring A Saw

With this option, you don't have to buy the best piece of equipment - simply hire it!

Generally, you should be able to hire a mitre saw relatively cheaply so this is the option we'd recommend if your budget allows.