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Plinth Blocks | What Are They? | How And Why Are They Used?

Plinth Blocks | What Are They? | How And Why Are They Used?

Posted by Lee Watkinson on 30th Apr 2020

Plinth Blocks | What They Are And How To Use Them

It's not all about skirting boards and architraves! In this blog, we're looking at plinth blocks. We'll find out exactly what they are and why you would use them.

What Is A Plinth Block?

To put it simply, a plinth block is a small piece of MDF (can be a different material if required). They are often thicker and taller than a skirting board and thicker and wider than an architrave.

They are positioned at the bottom left and bottom right of your doorways with the architrave sitting on top of them (rather than on the floor).

The skirting then finishes on the side of the plinth block as opposed to the side of the architrave.

Plinth blocks help to make a smooth transition between skirting boards and architraves. We also think it gives off a much more grande feel.

A Plinth Block Installed With Skirting And Architrave

When Would You Use Plinth Blocks?

Generally speaking, it comes down to personal preference. If you're going for a grande look and feel and are using particularly large skirting boards and architraves, plinth blocks will only add to the presence.

However, sometimes it might be required to use plinth blocks if traditional fitting methods will result in less than perfect finishes.

So let's take a look into this:

The Use Of Plinth Blocks In Traditional (Or Older) Homes

When fitting new skirting boards and architraves in an older home, you can run into issues due to walls not being as flush or straight as they would be in a new or modern home.

If your walls aren't completely flush, this can cause alignment issues when trying to finish the skirting boards at the architraves or vice versa.

Often, thicker architraves will be used to combat this issue. But if you don't want to use thicker architraves, you'll want to find another way.

A solution to this would be plinth blocks. Due to them being thicker than the skirtings and architraves, you have more 'give' so achieving a flush and clean finish is much easier. This also means you can use the same thickness architraves as the skirting boards whilst using a thicker plinth block to join them together.

The Use Of Plinth Blocks In Modern (Or Newer) Homes

Straight, flush walls are a thing of normality in homes that were built within the last couple of decades. This allows your skirting boards and architrave to sit flush.

Therefore, you most likely won't need plinth blocks to remedy an issue. Also, most modern homes have a fairly simple design also alleviating the need for plinth blocks.

However, if you like the idea of using a plinth block and have quite a detailed skirting there's no reason why you can't use them to improve the overall aesthetic.

MDF Plinth Block P1 On It's Own

Advantages Of Using Plinth Blocks

With the above in mind, here are a few clear advantages that can be had if you choose to use plinth blocks in your home:

  • Creates a more traditional look and feel - this is perfect if you live in a traditional style property and want to keep to the original aesthetics where possible.
  • Eliminates the need for most complex cuts - skirtings and architraves simply butt up to the plinth blocks straight edges (skirting - left or right side of the plinth, architrave - top of plinth).
  • Particularly useful when installing skirting board covers but leaving the original architraves in place - because skirting board covers go over the top of existing skirting, they are thicker which means they would protrude when sitting next to the architraves. Using a plinth block eliminates this problem.

You've Sold Them To Me! Now How Do I Order A Plinth Block?

You can check out our plinth block buying guide right here.

However, for the purpose of this post there are a couple of things to consider when ordering plinth blocks. Let's take a look at them:

What Size Should I Be Looking At?

It might look complicated at first but we can assure you that it's actually really simple!

You can't go wrong with this general rule of thumb - the plinth block should be larger than the skirtings and architraves in every way!

To break this down, we'll look at the height, thickness and width:

Height Of The Plinth Block

Using the rule we mentioned above - if you have 145mm tall skirtings, you'll want to choose the next size up on the plinth block. In our case, it would be the 170mm option.

Thickness Of The Plinth Block

The whole point of using a plinth block is so that you have a thicker piece of material to butt the skirtings and architraves up to.

So again, if you have 18mm thick skirting you'll want to choose the next thickness up for your plinth block. In our case, this would be the 25mm thickness option.

Width Of The Plinth Block

You guessed it! You need to go wider than your current architraves.

So if you have 95mm wide architraves, you'll need to choose the 120mm width for the plinth block.

There Is An Exception!

As a rule, the plinth block has to be thicker than the skirting board and architrave - its sole purpose is fulfilled by this.

However, if you want the top of the plinth block to be level with the top of the skirting and the sides of the plinth block level with the sides of the architrave - go for it. This is a personal preference.

This might be the case if you're just looking to break the design up a little without making the plinth block a feature.

Which Design Should I Go For?

Now this one really is just personal preference.

We have 2 designs at present to choose from:

MDF Plinth Block P1

This is the favourite with us and our customers. It's a simple design so it won't take away from the detail of your skirting and architrave.

It features a small bevelled edge on the top, left and right front edges.

However, we do think this one lends itself to a more modern home.

MDF Plinth Block P2

This one we feel is even simpler than the first as it simply features a chamfer on the front face.

It works well with both traditional and modern designs due to its simplicity.

How To Install Plinth Blocks

When installing plinth blocks, it's best to fit them a few millimetres away from the edge of the door frame (or door lining).

This helps to reduce the chance of the paint finish splitting / cracking due to the door being shut (or slammed!).

Because the architrave is normally set further back from the door frame than this, it works well to create the effect of the architrave sitting in the middle of the plinth block.

However, don't take this for gospel - you can fit them slightly differently, it just comes down to personal preference.

Lee Watkinson Avator

Lee Watkinson

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