I have ten feet or so of new skirting board to put up by my front door where we have just had the walls plastered [1]. Back when I was a kid I did a carpentry course so I know how to cut and mitre the corners together on the board one thing I'm not sure on though is fixing the board to the wall??

Is it just hammer and nail and hope you don't crack the plaster whilst putting it up? Or are other methods used now? Like mastic or some form of adhesive?

Basically I don't want to mess up my nicely new plastered walls by whacking nails in there

[1. I have just had my front door moved forward several feet so it is no longer a recessed porch but flush with the front of the house where we have had to have the exposed brickwork plastered]


Run a strip of masking tape on the wall where the molding will cover it up, but where your nails will hit it.

I hammer nails into old plaster all the time by putting a piece of masking tape on the wall and hammering into it. It holds the plaster together while the nail hits it and can easily be ripped off (gently) after I'm done hitting it. In your application, you can just leave it hidden behind the boards!

Use masking tape because as, for example, duct or painters tape dry they grab onto the wall harder. I have pulled large chunks of plaster out by trying to remove old duct tape. I have successfully pulled fresh duct tape off of plaster walls, but I don't recommend trying.

  • What a handy tip! I got a tradesman do it in the end but thanks :) – spences10 Jul 17 '15 at 7:36

Typically a contractor will use a brad nailer such as this:

enter image description here

Brads (A thin wire nail, glued together like staples) generally are long, and driven at a high speed and won't split the molding.

The advantage of brad nailing is that in the future, the molding can be removed without damage to the molding or the wall behind.

Note that you will still need to caulk the edges and cover the heads.

Aside: If you need to remove the molding later, pry it off with a thin prybar and remove the brads with pliers, pulling through the molding via the bad side. Don't try to pull them out from the good side. It's difficult, and will damage the face of the molding.

  • Thanks for this Chris Cudmore but how much does this sort of tool cost? – spences10 Jul 11 '13 at 13:32
  • I have just checked out some nail gun prices and for the amount I'm doing it hardly seems like I can justify spending £100-£300 on something I'm not going to use that often at all – spences10 Jul 11 '13 at 13:38
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    Yes. And you need an air compressor as well. But once you have the tool, you'll use it all the time. Even if it's just firing nails at noisy drunks. – Chris Cudmore Jul 11 '13 at 14:44

Nails are still used by some, but I believe many people use an adhesive such as No More Nails®.

enter image description here

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    I'm not a fan of adhesives for molding. When (not if) you need to remove the molding, it damages the wall behind. – Chris Cudmore Jul 11 '13 at 12:53
  • Good point here as well Chris Cudmore I really don't want to cause anyone else problems further down the line – spences10 Jul 11 '13 at 13:33
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    I've read that some people use screws and wall plugs - that seems over-engineering to me but may address your concern. You could try using adhesive very sparingly to minimize damage on removal. – RedGrittyBrick Jul 11 '13 at 13:36
  • How often do you need to remove skirting when you're not redecorating anyway? The only time I've removed skirting has been to replace it. If the adhesive does cause some plaster damage, you simply either patch it up before re-sticking the skirting, or just re-stick the skirting over the damaged area. – John Jul 11 '15 at 17:27

Usually these are just nailed, punched and filled. And no you won't mess up the plaster.

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