Skirting board preparation?

Hello all, Can you please advise on how to clean up skriting boards that have too many layers of old paint, and worse, ingrained dirty plaster. (An evil mix of the old taken off and the new stuff gone on, dried like concrete & very hard to get off.)
Suppose plasterers should have cleaned as they went, or even taken skirting off(?).
Also how do you fill where the plaster doesn't reach right down to skirting, and where there are gaps behind the skirting due to the wall not being straight?
Cheers Ad
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On 24 Nov 2003 00:02:37 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.co.uk (Ad) wrote:

Worst case you could replace the skirting board. Sometimes, when the old skirting board is too far gone, this is the best approach. You could spend hours trying to bring the old skirting board back from the brink, or 20 minutes replacing the whole section.
PoP
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(Ad) wrote:

Agreed, if you are plastering you would have been better to take them off anyway. As you haven't and it's not that expensive for standard sizes that you are going to paint I would be tempted to refit new. The only danger is that, if the plaster is dodgy elsewhere it will come with it! If that's the case, and you are not up to repair plastering, strip the paint with a hot air paint stripper and chip off the plaster, filling any damage afterwards. Where there are gaps, you can either paint and then fill with white mastic, which doesn't crack as the skirting moves, gets kicked etc., or, if it's solid, pack with fine polyfilla.
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Bob Mannix
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(Ad) wrote:

I would second that approach. Skirting board is not all that expensive - unless you need any very fancy sections. This will be much easier to paint than cleaning up the old stuff, and will also fit snug to the floor - where the old stuff may have shrunk away.
You will probably need to be fairly brutal with removing the existing skirting, and will have to beautify the underlying plaster a bit with pollyfilla before fitting the new - but this is easy enough to do.
If you don't already have a decent mitre saw, it's a good excuse to get one - it will make doing the corners *much* easier. They are quite cheap (the manual sort, that is - not electric ones!) from the likes of Wickes or Screwfix.
If the walls are in reasonable shape, fix the new skirting boards on with Gripfill - rather than screws or nails - but you may need to use the odd screw on stubborn bits. Any slight gaps between the top of the skirting and the walls should be filled with decorator's caulk - applied with a sealant gun - and smoothed with a wet finger.
HTH, Roger
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Surely screwing them to the wall makes 'em easier to remove in future?
Leigh
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Well, sort of! But if you don't want the screws to show, you need to countersink them right in and then fill and paint over them - after which they become quite difficult to find if you ever want to remove them!
When I fitted new skirtings in my hallway after fitting wooden flooring, I painted them before sticking them to the walls, in order to avoid getting any paint on the new floor. I couldn't have done that if there were screwholes to fill.
Roger
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If you are carpeting later, mark the floor where the screws are. That solves finding them. After they have been filled, clearing the heads to unscrew is very difficult. I have ended up wrenching mine off and cursing the damn fool who screwed them up in the first place (me unfortunately).
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