All solid wood, engineered wood and laminate flooring requires an expansion gap around the perimeter of the room. This gap accommodates for the fluctuations of the floor during the summer when it expands due to the increase in heat and winter months when it shrinks because of lower temperatures.
Scotia is a decorative moulding that is used to cover the gap without removing the skirting. It is typically concave in design although convex designs made from soft woods are also available – these are often called ‘beading’.
Scotia is fixed to the skirting board over the top of the floor around the walls perimeter. This decorative feature is available on the current market in many different colours and wood grains to accommodate for the wide range of flooring choices that require this feature.
Scotia also comes in laminated or lacquered finishes and there are also unfinished versions for rustic looking flooring types.
Different types of scotia
There are typically three different types of scotia available on the market today: solid, MDF and veneered.
Solid scotia is made from a wide range of woods although oak is generally the most common due to its durability. Solid scotia is available in both unfinished and lacquered finishes.
This type of scotia, as the name suggests, is made from MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard). MDF scotia typically has a foil or paper adhered to the face of it which is available in many different colours to match the colour of the flooring. Many scotia manufacturers produce white paper or foil so that it blends in effortlessly with traditional white skirting boards.
Veneered scotia is made from softwoods and has a very fine layer of veneer applied on the top of the surface. The veneers are usually made from unusual species like bamboo or walnut.
How to measure for scotia
For the most successful purchase and installation of scotia, use the following guidance:
- Measure the perimeter of the room in question
- Allow for 10% extra for cuts and mitres
- Add the perimeter measurements together then divide the required total length by 2.4 (most scotia types come in 2.4 metre lengths) and that should give you the required amount of lengths.
How to install scotia
Scotia can be easily installed to your flooring by using panel pins, an electric staple tool or by applying an adhesive.
To cut the scotia, a mitre saw is often the best option as it provides a clean cut at the correct angle.
Pin or stapling
To reduce the risk of splitting or damaging the scotia, pin or staple through the middle of it. Always make sure that the pins are flush into the scotia and used mastic for a clean finish.
Always apply the adhesive evenly and along the lower section of the skirting so that any excess adhesive is hidden underneath the scotia and not exposed along the top side. Only a small amount of adhesive needs to be applied to the scotia as it is merely for decorative purposes- it is not load bearing.
Stephen MacVicar is the Director for Essex based flooring suppliers and installers- Mojo Flooring.