The decorative elements in a room are what drive us to decide how well designed a house's interiors are. From window treatments to skirting, there's much that determines the value of a house because buyers also assess decorative components aside from functionality when weighing the pros and cons of a piece of property.
Often overlooked, skirting combines both aesthetics and function. It serves to protect hardware from moisture, dust and grime that builds up over time. It also serves to enhance the appearance of a room by ensuring a smooth flow of design from wall to flooring.
There are several types of materials used in the construction of flooring, primary among them being MDF or medium-density fiberboard. Its wide abundance, ability to complement décor and relatively affordable cost makes it a favorite among users. A few prefer other options out of personal taste. Let's look at what they all have to offer both in strength and weakness.
Medium-density fiberboard is made using wood fibers bonded by wax or resin under high temperature and pressure. The resulting product is one that's denser than plywood but lighter than natural wood. Cost-wise, MDF is far cheaper than wood despite the numerous advantages it offers.
The material is free of knots and rings which means paint jobs become a breeze. It looks equally good when left unpainted. There's no grain which some prefer and others don't but in any case, most buyers tend to apply a couple of coats of color to match interior décor.
Where moisture's concerned, MDF has a slightly higher tolerance compared to natural wood. Of course, you need to try to avoid wetting it because warping will occur if drenched.
One of the more attractive features of MDF is that it can be installed using many techniques. It can be stapled, screwed and nailed (with pilot holes) and even glued. The last option is what pre-finished skirting board suppliers offer for DIYers looking for easy installation. You only need to measure, cut and stick on the skirting for a streamlined and clean finish.
Natural wood was what our forefathers used for all skirting requirements. It was easy to come by, still cheap and simple to work with. Softwoods like pine are still affordable and available but consistency is not maintained since some parts of the wood are denser than others. So when staining or varnishing is done you may not get a smooth finish. You can opt for a light coat of paint instead.
More expensive woods like oak deliver perfection but the high cost means only a few can afford it. Oak is best stained and varnished, not painted. It can last for a very long time so the returns are great but as mentioned, at a high cost.
What natural wood lacks is easy replacement as unlike MDF, it doesn't adhere with glue. You'll also have some difficulty getting the skirting to conform to the shape of the wall because of rigidity.
Like MDF, vinyl is an affordable skirting solution. It's a lot more flexible too which means it can go around arcs and oddly shaped walls with ease. Custom colors and some molding styles are also available.
The downside to vinyl is low density so kicks and knocks will easily dent it. Skirting is supposed to protect the base of the walls from such forces but you may find misshapen boards within a few months unless you're careful.