Repairing Skirting Boards

In this case study, Darryl Evans (Heritage Carpenter and Joiner) describes how he repairs and replicates skirting boards at the Port Arthur Historic Site.

This case study supports the development of heritage trade skills in Tasmania. It is part of a broader set of support materials that have been developed by the Tasmanian Building and Construction Industry Training Board (TBCITB).

Special thanks to Marty Passingham, Darryl Evans and the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority (PAHSMA).

Want to learn this heritage trade skill?

If you are interested in learning how to repair skirting boards, contact the TBCITB to register your interest in a training course.

Context

Darryl is carrying out scheduled conservation work (including skirting board repairs) on the entry portico of the Commandant's House.

Darryl at the Commandant's House

Darryl at the Commandant's House

Removing damaged skirting

Removing damaged skirting

Challenges

There are two main challenges associated with replicating skirting:

  • It can be difficult to source large replacement boards.
  • It can be difficult to match the moulding on original skirting boards, especially the crown mould section.
Matching moulding at the Commandant's House

Matching moulding at the Commandant's House

Matching the crown mould section

Matching the crown mould section

Solutions

The following 'trick of the trade' is a handy way to match the moulding on a section of original skirting:

  • Use a profile jig (also known as a contour gauge duplicator) to capture the profile of the skirting board, trace the profile onto a piece of paper and take it to a specialist joiner to replicate.
  • The Port Arthur Historic Site's Works Depot has machinery that allows Darryl (a specialist joiner) to replicate skirting on-site.
A replicated piece of skirting

A replicated piece of skirting

Replicating skirting at the Works Depot

Replicating skirting at the Works Depot

Steps Involved

Step 1

Step 1 - Planning and preparing

  • Identify scope of repair.
  • Photograph damaged skirting for future reference.
  • Obtain historical data, including materials used in previous repairs Capture the profile of the existing skirting.
  • Identify the original method of fixing.
  • Select appropriate materials for the repair work.
  • Select appropriate tools and equipment for the repair work.
  • Cover nearby surfaces with appropriate protections (if required).
Image for Step 1 - Planning and preparing

Photographing damaged skirting for future reference

Step 2

Step 2 - Repairing skirting

  • Carefully remove damaged skirting using appropriate tools.
  • Check condition of timber or blockwork behind skirting and determine if additional repairs are necessary.
  • Repair damaged skirting using appropriate methods.
  • Use shellac to seal the end grain of the repaired skirting before reattaching (to reduce the potential advancement of fungal decay).
Image for Step 2 - Repairing skirting

Checking condition of timber behind skirting

Step 3

Step 3 - Fixing and finishing

  • Carefully attach repaired skirting using original method of fixing.
  • Ensure joints are fixed flush and true.
  • Touch up nail holes and sand back in preparation for painting.
  • Photograph repaired skirting for future reference.
  • Record material details for future reference.
  • Carefully remove cover protections from nearby surfaces (if used).
Image for Step 3 - Fixing and finishing

Finishing off at the Commandant’s House

Result

  • All lines should match up.
  • All joints should be fixed flush and true.
  • All fixings should be covered to prevent moisture getting in.
Conservation work at the Commandant's House

Conservation work at the Commandant's House

the Commandant's House

The Commandant's House