skirting boards

by Andymounsey

Fixing skirting boards; before or after skim. I'm about to reskim a room and will be replacing skirts anyway. I was taught at college (20years ago on a Building HNC) that skirting boards were installed after undercoat but before skim. I've only ever worked on houses build pre 1970 and that seems to have been the way. Modern trend seems to be skim then "no nails" skirts. I'm thinking that a skirting board will give me a nice clean edge to work to at the bottom. Or is it just another edge to work upto and is it easier to fix after and just rough skim down to the floor?

It is always easier and general practice to skim down to within an inch of the floor and then fix skirting. However if you are re-skimming an old room and want to keep the existing skirting - then just skim down to them. This does take a bit more effort plastering - but lots less carpentry involved.

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Jan 03, 2018
a few questions ...
by: Carl

Hi Paul

I've done a few skim jobs in my house now. Overall I'm satisfied with the results (not that easy for a perfectionist!). I still find the odd undulation, and one or two blemishes when painting after, but on the whole I feel it's a skill that requires a lot of practise but I've made decent progress. And it costs less than paying :) I do have some questions/observations I'd really appreciate your input on rather than waiting to discover over the next 10 years ...!:

(1) I've avoided plastering any ceilings yet. Other than using stilts or using a step at the optimum height - or wearing a hat! - is it any more difficult?

(2) I use addy to stick beading. I once tried multi-finish but it dried too quickly. Am I missing a trick, or is addy more favourable?

(3) On the last couple of jobs I've started using a 14" trowel to apply plaster - this is slightly wider than the hawk and it feels like I'm dropping less and applying it quicker ... does this sound about right? I still use the smaller 11" trowel for finishing.

(4) I'm happy with the finish I achieve using a float and by polishing the plaster at the very final stage using the float and a spray. I once saw a plasterer using a plastic float (attached to a mini trowel) and was told this achieved a better finish than steel. Is this true, or is it just the low cost of a plastic float that is "better"? I was also told these plastic floats damage more easily which I can believe.

(5) Occasionally I've been beaten by the suction and ended up with a couple of "firm" blemishes, normally around edges, and needing to either (1) smooth it out with a damp brush or (2) mix a small batch of fresh thin plaster to fill. I know this isn't ideal (because it takes time), but is it normal? Should I realistically expect to capture 100% of nooks and crannies before it firms up??

(6) Sealing base plaster (i.e. hardwall or bonding) - will I encounter less problems using SBR than PVA, i.e. is SBR better at sealing? I used SBR for peace of mind but obviously it's more expensive.

(7) Flat plaster - 100% flat is my ideal goal, and the larger 14" trowel seems to help a lot. I try to apply the plaster at a constant angle and using even pressure, and several passes of stage #2 (i.e. flattening the 1st coat) but there are still some minor undulations to the touch. Is there anything I can try to achieve a very flat finish, e.g. larger trowel still, checking against a feather edge, etc?

(8) External render - an aside from internal skimming! I have a low garden wall I need to coat, and I don't believe it justifies having to use beading. Would it it be normal to complete this job without beading and using two thin coats of sand/cement, or even a single coat, rather than going to town on as with a house wall? Also any clue as to the type/courseness of sand needed?

That's it for now - I've likely forgotten
something ... :)

And - obviously - thank you immensely for any feedback you can give.


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