The Skirting1 is a board from 6 inches to 18 inches wide running round the base of the wall of a room. It is intended to cover the junction of the floor with the walls, and also for ornament.

The skirting board may be square or plain, ornamented by a bead or moulding stuck upon it (Fig. 160), or by a detached moulding (Fig. 163) it may be sunk to form a double plinth similar to that in Fig. 161. The skirting may be plugged close up to the wall, or fixed to grounds.

These grounds are rough battens nailed to plugs in the wall, and they should be dovetailed at the angles. A narrow horizontal ground, plugged to the wall, runs close behind the top of the skirting; and, if the latter is wide, blocks, placed about 9 inches apart, extend from the floor to this horizontal ground. Such a skirting is seen in Fig. 160, and another in Fig. 162, where it forms the base of a "dado;" a portion of the skirting is stripped off in order to show two of the blocks supporting it.

The lower edge of the skirting is sometimes housed into the floor, as in Fig. 161, or tongued, as shown in Fig. 163 ; or it may rest upon it, as in Fig. 160; in either case a fillet, /, may be added to cover the joint at the back, though this is not absolutely necessary when it is let into the Scale, floor. To save material the fillet may be splayed, i.e. made of triangular section (Fig. 160).

Skirtings 200140

Fig. 160.

1 Sc. Base, if mouldings are run upon it.

,. Baseplats, , „ separate.

When the floor is uneven the lower edge of the skirting must be scribed to fit it - that is, a line is drawn upon it parallel to all the irregularities of the surface of the floor, and the lower side of the skirting is cut to this line.

The skirting boards should be tongued (or dovetailed) at the internal angles of rooms and mitred, as shown in Fig. 142, at external angles, - in either case the top edge of the joint is mitred right through. The skirting boards should also be tongued wherever they are pieced in length.

The hollow behind the skirting harbours vermin, and the plastering should always be continued down to the floor so as to fill it up (Fig. 162).

The boards of skirtings, as in ail joiners' work, should be fixed so as to allow of contraction and expansion without splitting.

This may be done by fixing one side of the board, and tonguing and grooving the joint on the other edge.

Several examples of ordinary skirtings may be seen in the figures illustrating other parts of joiners' work, both in this volume and in Part I., some of which have just been referred to.

A Double Skirting consists of two skirtings, one above the other, as in Fig. 161. The width of both skirtings may be equal as in the illustration given. The lower one is sometimes wider than the other, or it may be narrower, according to taste.

Skirtings are often formed in cement and moulded, but such constructions do not come within the province of the joiner.