Baseboards are those pieces of boards that run the length of the bottom part of the walls and serve to not only beautify a room, but also do cover any imperfections in the gap between the wall and the floor. Also known as skirting boards or base molding, they come in a variety of shapes or profiles that don’t really go by any given set names, but rather by their dimension. While there is a wide selection of these skirting boards available in different local home stores or hardware shops, the following are three of the most popular ones.
This is a simple board that is completely flat on the front facing out from the wall. It is available in varying heights ranging from three to four and a half inches, and varying thickness as well. The back of this molding is grooved, intended to make the installation process a lot easier, as well as to allow for flexing. The flat baseboard can be used as it is for a simpler approach, or as a base layer for another type of decorative molding to achieve a more sophisticated appearance.
Also called Rounded skirting boards, the stepped molding is probably the most common type of skirting board there is. Coming in at around 5/8 to 7/8 of an inch in width, and between three and three and a half inches in height, the top portion of this molding showcases a gently rounded or stepped shape that allows it to be tapered into the wall. Ideally used in modern houses, it works great for that look which requires it to not bring much attention to its detail as this skirting board is simple enough that it can quietly settle back into the background, allowing for other more elaborate moldings (such as a crown one) to take center stage.
Sculpted Taller Baseboard
Taller baseboards have the most visual impact with their taller than average heights from the floor. The top edge of the baseboard is normally sculpted with stepped or scalloped details that help to taper it to the wall and provide a focal point. Arguably the most expensive type of skirting board, the sculpted taller baseboard is ideal for homes that are large in scale, and have high ceilings. As it already is a style statement in itself, be careful when trying to add more types of moldings to create a layered effect.
Moldings or trims can definitely add a little more character to any room. Skirting boards, though placed at the bottom part of the wall, may be as simple and discrete as you want them to be, or equally just as bold. All you need is the right kind of baseboard profile.
Although modern baseboards can be made out of different types of materials ranging from the organic to synthetic, traditional baseboards were originally made out of wood. And while there are different types of wood that can be made into baseboard or skirting board, each of these have their own setbacks and plus factors that can affect the process of selecting the kind of wood to use.
Hardwoods are so named because these are woods that are stronger, and have the advantage of being more long-lasting and durable; which leaves them less likely to be damaged than softwoods. Older homes tend to have skirting boards made out of this kind of wood, most commonly from poplar trees, to help keep out rodents such as rats and mice and preventing them from chewing through the base of the wall to enter the room. Another advantage of hardwood is that it is easier to stain as compared to medium density fiberboards or softwoods. On the other hand, they are often much more expensive than other types of materials used to make baseboards.
These are woods that have considerably less strength and durability than hardwoods, but are usually considerably cheaper as well. Softwoods such as pine don’t normally last as long as their sturdier counterparts and are more likely to be damaged much sooner, but they have gained popularity as being commonly used to replace hardwood baseboards in older homes during renovation as they don’t really show any distinguishable difference to the naked eye when properly varnished or painted.
3. Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF)
MDF or Medium Density Fiber Skirting board is often sold as a cheaper alternative to hardwood, but is itself not really wood at all. MDF is the artificial product of wood that has been subjected to heat and pressure to be made into a board, the leftover fibers of which are glued together to make the fiberboard. When used as skirting boards, they can be pretty indistinguishable from true wood once varnished or painted to look like real wood, and can be just as tough when the quality is top notch. However, poorly constructed MDF skirting board may not last nearly as long.
4. Bamboo Baseboards
Although bamboo isn’t exactly wood, it looks like one and is often used as a substitute for hardwood where necessary due to its sturdiness. Interestingly though, bamboo is one of the priciest materials for skirting boards.
Skirting board costs vary not only by the type of wood that was used to make it, but also by the size. Depending on the type of finish and style that you’re aiming for, there’s bound to be a suitable baseboard material for you.
I’m not talking about doing law yourself, or becoming your own lawyer.
This is more about the law when you decide to take up a hammer and chisel, and get stuck into some DIY.
Particularly relevant is when you are looking at doing some internal alterations such as changing door frames or architraves because there are now regulations on minimum widths, heights and materials used when you are replacing these elements of your interior.
If you are planning on having guests over, you may find that you should have used fire resistant materials in case of fire whilst your guests are present – if you have made changes, you may be legally responsible for those changes and any effects they have had.
The same can go for doors – particularly if you are running a business premises, as these will have to be fire rated doors and certified as such by the manufacturer. if you are unsure, and the manufacturer doesn’t confirm it, you may be required to get legal indemnity from a qualified barrister.
If the building is a new one, then you will be regulated by lots of new requirements of building regulations, planning law and safety requirements etc.
You may be left wondering whether you are better advised to use a solicitor or a barrister.
Firstly, you need to know the difference if you are going to make a choice.
Solicitors are generally regarded as the first port of call, however in recent years barristers have increasingly been taking on direct access work under the public access scheme.
For the vast majority of cases, solicitors will be able to deal with the procedures and paperwork, however barristers will have the in-depth and specific knowledge about the exact law that your case will rely on, it is this expert advice that the solicitor will refer to at the appropriate stage of your case progress.
The question therefore lies, do you want a solicitor AND a barrister, or would you prefer a single port of call?
Barristers can specialise in a vast range of subject matters of law, and you will therefore find a barrister that has specific, expert knowledge and experience in dealing with cases just like yours. More importantly, should your case require a hearing or tribunal, the barrister will have had experience in the advocacy that represents your case, but a solicitor will not have right of audience.*
The barrister will then be known as a direct access barrister and will be able to take your case on a one-to-one basis, without the solicitor being involved at all.
* Some solicitors have now taken advocacy courses to become a solicitor-advocate, for limited rights of audience.