What is Skirting?: Purpose, Application and Materials

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What is Skirting? Skirting in interior design refers to the decorative and protective elements placed along the base of interior walls, where they meet the floor. Also known as baseboards or base moulding, skirting serves both aesthetic and functional purposes. It adds a finishing touch to a space, enhancing its visual appeal and providing a seamless transition between walls and flooring. Functionally, understanding what is skirting can help protect walls from damage caused by furniture, foot traffic, and other potential impacts. Available in various materials and styles, skirting plays a significant role in completing the overall look of a room while safeguarding its structural integrity. Let’s delve into the basic concept behind what is skirting while clearing all commonly asked questions.

What is Skirting
Image Credits: skirtingonline.co.uk

Skirting board heights commonly range from 2 inches to 6 inches. The height is often selected based on aesthetic considerations and the proportions of the room. Taller skirting may be used in larger rooms or those with higher ceilings for a more balanced look. The thickness of skirting boards typically ranges from 0.5 inches to 1 inch. Thicker skirting can provide a more substantial and visually appealing presence, especially in rooms with more traditional or ornate designs.

Project By: Tvashta Architects & Interiors

What is the Purpose of Skirting?

1. Aesthetic Enhancement

What is Skirting
Project By: Idealize Design

Skirting serves as a decorative element along the base of interior walls, contributing to the overall visual appeal of a room. It comes in various styles, profiles, and materials, allowing for customisation to match the architectural design and interior decor.

2. Transition and Finishing Touch

It provides a smooth transition between the wall and the floor, creating a unified and polished appearance, thus acting as a finishing touch that completes the look of a room, covering the joint between the wall and the floor.

3. Damage Protection

It also shields the bottom of the wall from potential damage from furniture, vacuum cleaners, and other household activities. It prevents dents, scratches, wear, and tear on the wall surface, extending the lifespan of the interior finish.

4. Concealing Gaps and Imperfections

It is also used to hide gaps or imperfections that may exist at the base of walls, providing a neat and seamless look to the interior. Another function is to conceal electric wiring, cables, or uneven flooring transitions for a cleaner appearance.

5. Easy Maintenance

It eases maintenance by covering the often hard-to-reach joint between the wall and the floor, reducing the accumulation of dust and dirt, thus facilitating easier cleaning as it acts as a protective barrier against debris and spills.

6. Insulation and Sound Absorption

In some cases, skirting can contribute to thermal insulation by sealing gaps between the floor and the wall. This can help in maintaining a more energy-efficient indoor environment. Certain materials used for skirting, such as dense woods or composites, may provide a degree of sound absorption. This can contribute to a quieter and more acoustically comfortable interior.

Different materials used for skirting in Indian climate

In the Indian climate, where temperatures can vary widely and humidity levels can be high, it’s essential to choose skirting materials that can withstand these conditions and complement the overall aesthetic of the space. Here are some materials commonly used for skirting in Indian climates:

1. Wood

Project By: Idealize Design

Wood is a timeless and pleasing choice for skirting in the Indian climate. Hardwoods like teak or oak are particularly popular due to their durability and resistance to termite damage. However, in humid conditions, it’s imperative to treat the wood properly with finishes or sealants to prevent moisture-related issues.

2. Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF)

What is Skirting
Project By: The Arch Studio

MDF offers a cost-effective solution for skirting, with the flexibility to create various profiles. It provides a smooth surface that is ideal for painting and finishing. However, in the Indian climate, where humidity levels can be high, it’s crucial to use moisture-resistant MDF to prevent swelling or damage due to exposure to moisture.

3. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

Project By: SPDA

PVC is a resilient and low-maintenance material for skirting, well-suited to the Indian climate. Resistant to moisture, insects, and termites, PVC skirting requires minimal upkeep. While it may lack the natural warmth of wood, its practical attributes make it a popular choice, especially in areas prone to humidity.

4. Tiles

What is Skirting
Project By: Studio Inscape

Ceramic or porcelain tiles present a unique and durable option for skirting. These tiles are easy to clean and maintain, making them suitable for areas with high temperatures. However, proper installation is crucial, and grout lines must be sealed to prevent water absorption.

5. Marble or Stone

Project By: SML Architects

Marble or stone skirting adds a touch of luxury and sophistication to interiors. These materials are durable and can withstand the heat prevalent in the Indian climate. However, installation may be more complex, and the weight of the material should be taken into account during the design and construction process.

6. Aluminium

Project By: Studio Plexus

Aluminium skirting offers a modern and metallic appearance, and its lightweight nature makes it easy to work with. It’s durable and resistant to rust and corrosion, but care should be taken to avoid scratches. Additionally, being a metal, aluminium may conduct heat, so its use should be careful in relation to temperature variations.

How is Skirting done?

Skirting installation involves a series of steps to achieve a polished and functional finish. Begin by measuring the lengths of the walls where skirting will be installed, accounting for corners and interruptions like doors. Choose an appropriate skirting material and design, and use a miter saw or coping saw to make precise angled cuts for corners. Ensure the walls are clean and free of any imperfections before starting with the installation on the longest and most visible wall. Use adhesive or nails to secure the skirting, ensuring proper alignment with the floor.

Cut and install corners meticulously, applying adhesive to secure them. Continue the installation around the room, addressing obstacles like electrical outlets with carefully measured openings. Once all skirting is in place, allow adhesive to dry or secure loose edges with additional nails and fill any gaps or nail holes. A final inspection ensures secure attachment, tight joints, and consistent alignment with the room’s architecture.

Conclusion

The above article articulates what is skirting by saying that it is a fundamental yet often overlooked element in interior design, bridging the gap between walls and floors with both style and purpose. Beyond its aesthetic contributions, skirting serves as a protective barrier, shielding walls from the wear and tear of daily life. It is evident that this seemingly subtle feature holds the power to elevate a room’s visual appeal while silently safeguarding its longevity and resilience.

Content Writing And Research By: Ar. Ishita Jindal

The post What is Skirting?: Purpose, Application and Materials appeared first on The Architects Diary.



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