Please Mind The Gap

Is it just me, or is it getting colder? After this ridiculously wet summer, it already seems to be autumn. About time we start to sort out some of the remaining insulation and heating issues our house still haves.

We have already insulated under our most of our ground floor (you can read about that here),

Underfloor Insulation

we’ve added extra insulation in the loft, replaced some windows and sealed the gaps around the remaining existing windows.

Expanding Foam Filler Around Window

We have also replaced the living room fireplace.

Edwardian Fireplace After

You can read about our new fireplace here.

One of the main areas still in need of an upgrade, is the gap between the skirting and floor boards. Although this isn’t the most exciting work ever, it actually pays for itself within about a year.

As you already know, we removed most of our carpets even before moving in.

Remove Smell Of Urine

You can read more about how disgusting they were here.  Although this really didn’t do much for our heating bills – if you add up all the gaps between the skirting and floor, the area adds up to about the area of a small window – it was really necessary.

Initially, we tried caulking the gaps between the skirting and floorboards, but it turned out to be rather messy, as the gaps were all different sizes, sometimes they were too large and the caulk would fall through to the cellar beneath. Caulk also doesn’t tolerate much movement, so that over time it would rip and get dirty.

After having our floors sanded and varnished, we didn’t want to risk messing them up again with caulk, so we decided to use some window sealing tape to fill the gaps.

The tape we used is called weatherstrip and seals gaps from 2-8 mm. Make sure the tape is at least as thick as the gap you are looking to fill, as it will automatically expand to the thickness of the joint once it is in place.

Filling Gap Between Skirting and Floorboard

We opted for black tape, so that it wouldn’t be visible once in the gap.

It takes just minutes to complete a room, as all you have to do it push it into place with a stripping knife. The tape then automatically expands to the thickness of the space and, because the tape has expanded, it stays firmly in place.

Filling Gap Between Skirting And Floorboard

We should probably point out, that there are specialist tapes available for this job, but we found that this cheaper option works really well. According to the Energy Saving Trust, filling the gap between skirting and floor boards will save around £20 a year in heating costs.

And here is the filled gap.

Gap Between Skirting And Floor

You can just about make out the tape. It’s pretty much invisible, unless you lie on the floor and stare at the skirting board that is!


  1. Anncockerton says

    This is so useful thanks! I am in the same situation in my house. Quick question did you remove the self seal for the strip when placing it? I wondered whether the strip just gets inserted or remove the self seal. Many thanks

    • says

      Glad we could help, Ann! Yes, we removed the seal – we found that it helped the strip stay in place better where the gaps were slightly larger.

  2. Rick says

    I have filled my gaps between skirt and floor with strip wood, glued in place and painted. Slow but doesn’t leave a visible gap. Also been filling the gaps between floorboards with slithers. All dry time consuming but has a superior finish aesthetically.

  3. Kirsty says

    Very useful advice, thank you. Can you recommend anything for large gaps between floor and skirting board (apprx 1.5 inches)? It is a very old house and the floors and floor boards are no longer particular even.

    All the best


    • says

      You’re welcome, Kirsty! 1.5 inches is a lot! We like using the weatherstrip because our floors aren’t even either and it expands to the different levels. I don’t think it would work on such large gaps though. The previous commenter, Rick, filled the gaps with strip wood. Maybe that would be an option.
      Good luck!

  4. Jared says

    this looks like a good idea! we have gaps under our skirting boards, 0 to 20mm!!! and SLUGS are getting into our house faster than Nazi’s into poland! I’ve not come accross this tape before, after your remove the seal, how did you slide the tape into the tight gaps with out it sticking to the floor before you got it under the skirting?



    • says

      Thanks, Jared! When squashing the tape into the gaps, we removed the seal as we went – basically pushing in the tape and pulling away the seal as we worked our way along the skirting board. The tape also isn’t overly sticky, so if it does stick somewhere that it shouldn’t it’s not a problem to remove. When the tape expands in the joint, it stays there on it’s own – the stickyness is just a little extra help.
      Good luck keeping the slugs out – I can’t imagine anything worse!!

  5. Michael says

    Great article as I have similar draught issue – I just wondered please which shop did you purchase your weatherstrip tape in? – many thanks, Michael

    • says

      Thanks, Michael! I think we picked up the weather strip at B&Q, but you should be able to pick it up at any DIY store – it’s really not hard to get hold of.
      Good luck with your draught proofing!

  6. elaine says

    Hi. Love your website! We are thinking about having an engineered wood floor laying in our lounge BUT hate, hate, hate the beading that is attached for expansion . We have very deep old skirting boards and do not really want to take them off first and then place them back when the floor is fitted. Have you any ideas for a different type of beading to attach to the skirting boards that make it look like part of the original skirting board. I’ve looked at loads of websites but nothing is just right. Am I too fussy? XXXX

    • says

      Thanks, Elaine! I completely agree with you about the beading! I was sooo happy when we ripped up the laminate flooring in our house and could remove the beading that we had! As annoying as it is, I can’t really think of an option other than removing and then reattaching the skirting. When laying an engineered floor, you are always going to have a gap that needs covering somehow. If it’s not possible to remove the skirting, maybe you could choose some beading that’s then painted the same colour as your skirting so that it blends in and looks like it’s just skirting?
      Sorry we couldn’t be more help!

  7. says

    Would this be rodent proof? Just noticed some mice in our rental house as weather cools down. House is an old queenslander…it has many big gaps between floor and skirting. Thinking of doing this method.

  8. says

    Hi Christine,
    I’m in Australia and I just purchased an Edwardian house that I have renovated. I have noticed the gaps in the floor boards. So I have tried your ‘please mind the gaps’ tip and it’s worked a treat.My problem is it’s costly as I can’t seem to purchase the roll of Strip in a bulk lot. Can you suggest anywhere online I can find it?

    • says

      We never tried to find large amount of the tape, as we only used it to fill the gap between the skirting and the floor. If you are filling the gaps between the floorboards (we insulated under ours, so didn’t bother) there are specialist products available like something called StopGap. We’ve not actually used it, but maybe that’s the way forward?

  9. Kriss says

    Plating the facings with thin ply or mdf looks really good if done well, but it’s time consuming. It makes the skirting a look chunkier which is cool too. I’d say this is the only way to deal with big gaps.

  10. Jamie says

    Hi there, I’ve just torn up my laminate flooring and am getting carpet fitted. I have a gap of about half an inch between the flooring and the skirting board and am thinking of using expanding foam then cut and paint it. Is this something you think would work?

    • says

      That’s such a big gap, Jamie! I think filling the gap with foam filler could work, but could also end up quite messy. I also don’t think that you’d be able to paint it. I wonder if it would be possible to install a small strip of wood in the gap?

  11. Matthew says

    Just wanted to thank you for the advice. Moved into a 1960s house last year which had a large gap under the skirting in the kitchen (5-7mm all along the wall). Too big for me to mastic so I’ve been trying to work out what to do about it. Got the Weatherstrip from Screwfix, plugged the gap and what a difference. Virtually invisible and no more cold draughts in the kitchen – the adjoining rooms feel warmer too. I did find it a bit sticky when installing but managed to get it into place with a filling knife as you suggested.

  12. Anthonia says

    Hello Christine and Jan,

    First of all, thanks for your blog post re sanding floorboards; we finally sanded the floorboards this past weekend, after reading your blog post re that topic. We then used hardwax oil instead of varnish (can’t remember why that option now) and we now have a beautiful albeit not quite finished floors downstairs.

    Regarding filling the gap between the skirtings and the floors, can we use a sealant to give it a neat look after using the strip?


    • says

      Congrats on your new floor – sound’s like it’s turned out great!
      I’d definitely recommend not using a sealant. Over time it’ll get dirty and rip because of the inevitable movement in the floor. If you fill the gap with the strip, the strip shouldn’t be visible at all. The gap that’s left will just look like a shadow and will probaly look neater than any sealant you could apply.
      Hope that’s some help!


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