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How to cut skirting without removing it?

So you need to cut some skirting down but can’t, or maybe won’t, take it off the wall first. What do you do? Well, there are a couple of different methods but only one good one. The best way to cut skirting without taking it off is by using a multi-tool. A multi-tool allows you to cut straight from the side in. It may not be the quickest cutting tool but it will leave a nice clean, straight cut.

Cutting Skirting Board While it is Still on the Wall

Cutting Skirting Board While it is Still on the Wall

Cutting with a multi-tool is simple enough. To start with you want to mark your line with a pencil, this will give you a nice easy guide to follow when cutting.

You can come in straight from the side and just start cutting away. Gently rock the multi-tool side to side as you cut, this will help clear away some of the wood as you cut.

Cutting with a multi-tool is not quick so this will take a little while. it will however allow you to get a nice clean cut. This is one of the main reasons that this is the method I always use.

Above is the multi-tool I use day to day in my job as a joiner.

Cutting Skirting Board With A Multi Tool

Cutting Skirting Board With A Multi-Tool

Some of you may be shocked by the price of a tool like this. For someone like me who is doing this kind of thing all day it is pretty much essential, it gets me out of so many binds. But I can understand if this is a one-off job then you may well want another option. Luckily there are other options, but none of them is what you would call neat.

Other Methods

So what are these other methods then?

  • Drill hole chaining.
  • Sawing (very carefully!)
  • Chisel

Drill Hole Chaining

This is a really basic method, it will get the job done, but will leave a very ugly cut. Please only ever do this if you are desperate and the cut is always going to be hidden from sight.

What you need is a wood bit in your drill. You then drill a series of holes in a vertical line down the skirting board where you want the cut to be. Get these holes as close to possible.

You are essentially cutting the skirting board using your drill.

Once you can’t drill any more holes use a chisel and hammer on the parts left standing to finally break everything apart.


You can saw your skirting board while it is still on the wall. You obviously run the very real risk of accidentally sawing into your wall though if you are not careful.

This is the only one out of these three methods that have much chance of leaving a clean-cut but come with its own downsides.

Besides the chance of leaving lots of saw marks on your wall, this is also very tough. Sawing at such a weird angle isn’t easy and you will likely get frustrated with the lack of progress.

If you go into this knowing it will be a slow, annoying job then you stand the best chance of coming out with a positive result.


If all you have is a chisel and hammer then you can still make this work.

But, bear in mind that you are essentially just beating the skirting into submission. This will not be a pretty cut, nor will it be easy.

Draw a pencil line down the skirting where you want the cut to be then begin by making smaller chisel impacts along this line.

As you get deeper and deeper into the skirting you will require more and more force.

Closing thoughts

So there are three other options for you if you are in a pinch. But if you read them you will see that none of them is particularly good.

If at all possible I implore you to get a multi-tool, you can get DIY focused ones that aren’t even that expensive. This will make your life so much easier, and they come in very handy for lots of little jobs like this.