Skirting boards, an essential element of interior design, serve both aesthetic and practical purposes. They provide a seamless transition between walls and floors, hide unsightly cables, and protect walls from scuffs and damage. The choice of material for your skirting boards can significantly impact their durability, appearance, and maintenance needs. This article delves into the world of skirting boards, focusing on the popular choice of softwood, and provides a comprehensive guide on how to select the best wood for skirting boards.
Understanding Skirting Boards: Material Matters
Skirting boards can be crafted from a variety of materials, each with its unique characteristics. Here are some of the most common materials used:
- Softwood: Softwood, such as pine, is a popular choice due to its affordability and versatility. It offers a wide range of colors and styles, ensuring that there’s something to suit every taste and interior design theme.
- Hardwood: Hardwood skirting boards, made from woods like oak or walnut, are known for their durability and rich, natural beauty. However, they tend to be more expensive than other options.
- MDF (Medium-Density Fibreboard): MDF is an engineered wood product that’s denser than plywood. It’s resistant to warping and cracking, making it a good choice for skirting boards.
- PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride): PVC skirting boards are a cost-effective and low-maintenance option. They’re resistant to moisture and easy to install, making them a popular choice for bathrooms and kitchens.
- Plaster: Plaster skirting boards offer a classic, high-end look. They can be custom-made to match any design, but they’re more fragile and harder to install than other options.
When choosing the best material for your skirting boards, it’s crucial to consider the quality of the material. High-quality softwood skirting boards can withstand harsh weather conditions and maintain their integrity even in high-moisture environments. The durability of these skirting boards depends on several factors, including the type of wood used, the quality of the glue, and the post-cut treatment.
Medium-Density Fibreboard (MDF) vs. Softwood
An alternative to softwood is Medium-Density Fibreboard (MDF), a type of engineered wood product. MDF is created by breaking down hardwood or softwood residuals into wood fibers and combining them with wax and a resin binder. The resulting product is denser than plywood and can be used for a variety of applications, including skirting boards.
However, there are some disadvantages of MDF skirting. While it’s resistant to warping and cracking, MDF is not as robust as solid wood when it comes to handling impact. It can be prone to damage if knocked hard, and repairing it can be more challenging than fixing solid wood. Additionally, MDF doesn’t handle moisture well, making it less suitable for areas prone to dampness or humidity.
Choosing the Best Wood for Skirting Boards
When it comes to selecting the best wood for skirting boards, softwood options like pine and cedar stand out. Pine is a common choice due to its durability and ease of workability. It doesn’t splinter easily, making it safe to work with using tools like saws or sanders. Pine skirting boards are also versatile, fitting well into both traditional and modern interior design schemes.
Cedar, on the other hand, is renowned for its resistance to rot, decay, and insects. This makes it an excellent choice for areas prone to moisture, such as basements or bathrooms. Cedar skirting boards also emit a pleasant aroma, adding a unique sensory element to your home.
Skirting Board Trends: What’s in Fashion?
Over the past five years, skirting board trends have evolved significantly, reflecting changes in interior design preferences and technological advancements. Here are some of the key trends observed:
- Coloured Skirting Boards: Gloss white skirting boards have been going out of fashion, with coloured skirting boards becoming an increasingly popular interior design trend. This trend allows homeowners to add a pop of color to their rooms or create a seamless look by matching the skirting boards with the wall color.
- Grooved Profiles: Grooved profiles have been very on trend, with the Square Groove design being particularly popular. These designs add a touch of sophistication and visual interest to rooms.
- High Skirting Boards: High skirting boards have been making a comeback, especially in homes with high ceilings. They add a sense of grandeur and can make rooms appear taller.
- Metal Skirting Boards: Metal skirting boards have been used in modern and industrial-style interiors. They offer a sleek, contemporary look and are highly durable.
- Built-up Skirting Boards: Built-up skirting boards, which involve layering different moulding profiles, have been used to create a custom, high-end look.
Looking ahead, the next five years are expected to bring new trends in skirting board design:
- Sustainable Materials: As sustainability becomes increasingly important, we can expect to see a rise in skirting boards made from eco-friendly materials.
- Smart Skirting Boards: With the growth of smart homes, skirting boards may start to incorporate technology, such as integrated lighting or cable management systems.
- Bold Colours: As homeowners become more adventurous with their color choices, we may see skirting boards in bold, vibrant colours.
- Mix and Match Styles: Mixing and matching different styles of skirting boards within the same room or home could become a popular trend.
- Decorative Skirting Boards: Decorative skirting boards with intricate designs are predicted to become popular, adding a touch of elegance to interiors.
These trends are based on current market research and design forecasts. However, the most important thing is to choose a skirting board style that suits your personal taste and the overall design of your home.
Maintaining Your Softwood Skirting Boards
Maintaining your softwood skirting boards is essential to keep them looking their best and ensure their longevity. Regular cleaning to remove dirt and grime can help preserve their appearance. If any damage or staining occurs due to water or other substances, prompt attention is necessary. Damaged pieces of wood should be replaced before they worsen and cause further damage. Loose nails should be secured with wood glue and a nail gun, if possible, to prevent them from causing damage or posing a safety risk.
Choosing the best wood for skirting boards is a decision that requires careful consideration of several factors. The type of wood, its durability, and the maintenance it requires are all important aspects to consider. Softwood options like pine and cedar offer a balance of affordability, durability, and aesthetic appeal. However, it’s essential to consider the specific needs of your home, such as moisture levels and the overall design theme, before making a decision.
In recent years, we’ve seen a shift in trends, with coloured and grooved skirting boards gaining popularity. High skirting boards have made a comeback, and metal and built-up skirting boards have also found their place in modern homes. Looking ahead, we can expect to see a focus on sustainability, smart technology integration, bold colours, mix and match styles, and decorative designs in skirting board trends.
Ultimately, the choice of skirting boards should align with your personal taste and the style of your home. Whether you prefer the natural appeal of softwood, the durability of hardwood, the affordability of MDF, or the low maintenance of PVC, there’s a skirting board material to suit your needs. For more insights on skirting board installation and maintenance, visit this page.