Stair Skirts

Submitted by Ana White on Mon, 09/23/2013 - 10:09

Well, here's a first.

I'm going to show you how a carpenter makes a skirt.

And yes, it's a pretty skirt.

Step 1 Diagram
Step 1

To be worn by the stairs.

Step 2 Diagram
Step 2 Instructions

So why do stairs need a skirt?

Well they don't really - you could run your baseboard down each riser, over each tread, mitering each corner, cursing any bullnoses.

You could.

But it would be a ton of extra work and look really busy.

So our solution is to cut a skirt that will slide between the wall and the stairs, that has a straight edge on top. That way our baseboard can just continue from the upstairs, right down the top of the skirt, around the landing, down the second flight of stairs, and on to the lower level.

Step 3 Diagram
Step 3 Instructions

Since the skirt is part of the trimming, we want to go from finished floor to finished floor heights. So we floored the landing area - the same as the upstairs.

Step 4 Diagram
Step 4 Instructions

Then we took a 1x12 board, a few feet longer than the flight, and rested it on top of the stairs.

Step 5 Diagram
Step 5 Instructions

Notice the board is resting on top of the leading edge of each of the treads, and brought down to touch the landing floor.

Step 6 Diagram
Step 6 Instructions

Then we determined how far we want the skirt to go past the stairs. I choose 4" for our stairs. Enough to give an even reveal of the skirt around the stairs, and still leave enough room for the baseboard to make the end corner.

So from this distance, use a level to mark a straight line vertically near the bottom end of the skirt board. This line gets cut with a circular saw.

Step 7 Diagram
Step 7 Instructions

The top meets the top landing and for us, it worked out flush to the wall. Again, a level is used to mark the top and this mark is cut off with a circular saw.

Step 8 Diagram
Step 8 Instructions

With the top and bottoms cut, this allows the skirt to drop down between the stairs and the wall.

But for us, it doesn't drop down enough, and a tiny corner of wall shows at the inside corner of each stair. What to do?

Step 9 Diagram
Step 9 Instructions

We trim the bottom edge of the skirt, square to the level end cut off, to bring the entire skirt down.

It looks like the skirt needs to be brought down more in this photo, but that's just the angle of this photo.

Step 10 Diagram
Step 10 Instructions

Once we were happy with the height of the skirt, we then need to go back and trim the top edge of the skirt off flush with the finished upstairs floor to allow the baseboard to make the corner from the hallway and down the skirt.

This gets marked with a level, and cut off with a circular saw.

Step 11 Diagram
Step 11

That's one skirt done!

Step 12 Diagram
Step 12

And you can see, our baseboard will now just run from the upstairs, around the corner, down the skirt, then around the landing and continue on. (I'll show you how we do that in a later post).

Step 13 Diagram
Step 13

With the skirts cut just right, we then removed them and sanded and painted them on sawhorses. Much easier.

Step 14 Diagram
Step 14

And then repositioned the skirt between the stairs and the wall and nailed it in place to studs in the wall.

Step 15 Diagram
Step 15

And that's how carpenters make skirts!



Fri, 08/07/2020 - 09:35

I was wondering myself. If you look at the 2nd step at the bottom, the before had paint on the edge and the after picture did not. The stair treads were moved over or replaced to close the gap.