My Mum’s had the cowboys in and they’ve made a complete mess of fitting the skirting boards. On one wall about a third of it isn’t even attached to the wall. I had a hard time finding the stud in the wall but eventually got it using a magnet, marked the spots on the wall where the magnet stuck and followed the line down to the skirting board but when I hammered a nail into the plasterboard just above it and an inch either side it went straight through each time. Seems like there’s nothing to nail it into.

I don’t want to take the whole thing off and risk ruining the plaster and I can’t really spread any adhesive very evenly while it’s against the wall. Do I just squirt and hope? Would expanding foam be good enough to hold it? Here’s a clip to show what I’m dealing with.

  • 1
    you might want to get a stud finder and double check the stud you thought you found. There should be a stud on one side of the outlet
    – depperm
    Mar 9, 2020 at 10:59
  • @depperm I had checked that. The plugs are where they are because that’s either side of where my Mum’s bed will be, not because of the studs. I took the covers off them to check anyway and they are screwed in at the back, not the side. Even stuck a long nail in the gap to feel about and there doesn’t seem to be anything there.
    – turbofish
    Mar 9, 2020 at 21:43
  • Cowboys, they are good at horses and cows. ( and coffee you can chew ) "My Mum’s had the cowboys in" I'll leave that one alone.
    – Alaska Man
    Mar 10, 2020 at 18:19

2 Answers 2


You can try 2 ways. You can "sound out" the wall if it is sheetrock, if it is plaster it will not work. Using a hammer tap the wall lightly and listen for the sound emitted. It will sound less hollow when over a stud. The second way is to ease the skirting away from the wall, say maybe 1/4", and drive a nail in the wall at a slight angle to find the studs. so when yo do, the hole you made will be just under the top of the base and when nailed tight, the hole will be covered or even if it is slightly exposed, caulk will cover.

If there is a chance you have wood lath and plaster and you find the nails holding the wood lath on the studs, there is a possibility that you may have driven the nail in one of the gaps of the lath. Check the length of your nails, they need to go about 1" into the framing. So if you have 3/4" skirt. 3/4" plaster you will need a 2 1/2" ail to hold the base.


There should be a lower plate of the framing that you should be able to nail the skirting board to. See this picture:

enter image description here

  • The lower plate may be a little lower in respect of the drawing if there is 3/4" of finish floor over the subfloor, and maybe even more if renovation added and layer or layers depending on the age of the home. If it is a newer home, a laminate or carpet goes directly over the subfloor. All said, the premise is the same for nailing, the nail may have to start lower to engage the plate.
    – Jack
    Mar 11, 2020 at 14:11
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    @Jack - I agree fully with your comment. Sometimes there is actually less than 3/4" of plate exposure directly behind the skirting board. I had originally drawn a more scaled picture in Visio and submitted it to this answer but there was a glitch in the web or SE interface someplace and that was lost. Unfortunately for a one time usage I did not save the Visio file locally. When I noted that my answer was still short a picture I set out to draw a new one in DraftSite which has expired and gone to a paid use program. So I then found NanoCAD which is still a free AutoCAD look-alike. (continued)
    – Michael Karas
    Mar 11, 2020 at 14:56
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    (continued from above) I then used NanoCAD, as a new user, to draw the above picture which I pretty much eyeballed to communicate the idea but it is not really to scale at all. The key idea that I am trying to communicate is that there is a plate all along the wall that can be nailed into. ..... If there is (1) limited plate exposure (2) grooved back on skirt board (3) drywall held up an inch or so off the floor and (4) wall wavy due to bad drywall seam taping .. it can be difficult to even get this nailing technique to work well without also finding the studs.
    – Michael Karas
    Mar 11, 2020 at 15:03
  • I gotta say, I commend your determination.
    – Jack
    Mar 12, 2020 at 5:01

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