Most of us have skirting boards in our homes, but why? Before we discuss the purpose of using skirting boards today, it is easiest to look back on how and why they came about historically and where they have came to today.
WHAT IS A SKIRTING BOARD?
A skirting board, or baseboard as they are know in the US, are timber or MDF boards, machined into a profile to create some decorative detailing, which are applied to the bottom of a wall to sit flush onto the floor. They come in a range of heights and thickness timber and can be painted or stained.
HISTORY OF THE SKIRTING BOARD
There are a few theories on the history of the skirting board, but the one most accurate is their creation to hide unsightly joints between a wet plastered wall and the floor.
Some other theories are that they were used to stop horsemen’s spurs from denting the walls if they walked up too close, and during Victorian times, the height of your skirting board was seen as a measure of your wealth.
WHY STILL USE THEM?
Although Skirting Boards can somewhat serve their original purpose of hiding a gap or join between the flooring and the wall, this is not as necessary as it once was.
Providing protection to the lower part of walls from vaccumms, mopping, children’s toys being pushed into them and general household traffic is a significant benefit to continuing to use them today.
If your home features timber flooring, skirting boards will conceal the gap between the floor board and wall, which is usually left to allow for expansion and contraction of the boards with temperature and humidity.
While still serving a practical purpose, skirting boards add a decorative, architectural feature to your home. They finish and frame a room and when painted certain colours or when using a large or ornate profile, provides contrast and texture. They also provide an effortless flow between rooms.
Skirting boards are a relatively small expense during a new build or renovation but are a high impact and increase the value of a home for a larger return on investment.