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  • How to Paint Skirting Boards

    This article explains with the help of images, how to paint skirting board. We explain everything that you might want to know regarding the paint, tools & materials, maintenance and also answer some of the most frequently asked questions.

    Painting skirting board how to

    What are Skirting Boards for?

    Skirting boards were originally designed to hide the junction between wall and flooring. Walls have not always been plastered as smooth and level as we have today, so this created a way to have a neater finish to walls, covering up any uneven and unsightly joints.

    Skirting board also act as a protective barrier around the edges of your wall, which can prevent things such as dents and scuffs from shoes and vacuuming. Not only do they have a practical value, but also offer great aesthetical value to your home.

    What Tools Do I Need for Painting Skirting Boards?

    If you are considering painting your skirting boards, and giving your home a little refresh, then it’s important you are well-equipped with the correct tools to allow you to carry out the job as successfully as possible.

    We advise you to gather the following tools for the job:

    • Sandpaper
    • 2-inch paintbrush
    • Masking tape
    • Brush
    • Dustpan
    • Vacuum
    • Tack cloth
    • Dust sheet
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    What Safety Equipment Do I Need for Painting Skirting Boards?

    For any DIY job, it’s always best to proceed with safety measures, and this includes painting your skirting boards. As you will be sanding down the skirting surface, you should take measures to protect your eyes and mouth during the process. For this, we advise you to wear goggles and a dust mask.

    It’s also advisable to ventilate the room as much as you can when sanding, so try and leave the windows open, where possible.

    You will also be spending most of the time on the floor, so this could pose a risk to your knees. For the best comfort, we would suggest wearing knee pads to take the pressure off your knees and taking regular breaks when you need to.

    What Materials Do I Need for Painting Skirting Boards?

    As well as being correctly prepared with tools, you will also need the following list of materials in order to carry out the task in hand:

    • Gloss paint OR satin paint (the choice is up to you; we will be advising on the best type of paint for your skirting board shortly).
    • Wood primer undercoat (if you are painting directly to wood ONLY).
    • Masking tape.
    • Sugar soap.

    Preparing for Skirting Boards

    Whether you are painting your skirting boards from scratch or giving a new fresh coat of paint to your current home, the preparation before painting is vital within this DIY process.

    It doesn’t matter if you are painting directly on oak skirting boards or just simply repainting skirting boards, you are still required to sand down the skirting boards fully before applying a drop of paint.

    Before sanding, we advise that use clean your skirting boards to remove any dust and grease. You can do this with your sugar soap and a cloth, or you can also purchase sugar soap wipes, pre-made.

    Use sandpaper or a power sander to sand down the surface, getting rid of any old paint, flakes and scuffs. You should then be left with a nice smooth surface. Don’t forget to use your safety goggles and dust mask, as this can get messy.

    sanding skirting boards

    Once you have sanded down the skirting boards, you will need to get rid of the dust created in the sanding process. The best way to do this would be with a vacuum cleaner, ensuring you concentrate on any small gaps between the skirting and the floor, and the top of the skirting.

    You’ll need the surface to be as clean as possible before you paint, so for good practice we also recommend cleaning your surface again with a tack cloth, or you could even use the Sugar Soap and a cloth for this part too.

    If your skirting is manufactured from wood which has a few knots scattered through it, a knotting solution can be applied to prevent the knots from seeping and staining the paint finish. Use a brush or cloth to apply the solution to each knot, wait for it to dry and repeat 2-3 times.

    Paint Skirting Boards - Step by Step Guide

    After gathering all your tools, materials and paint you are ready to paint your own skirting boards. Below we have broken down in a step by step how-to guide how to paint your skirting board once it is prepared..

    Step 1

    Painting skirting board step 1

    You will need to prepare the surface before painting your skirting board. First, clean your skirting boards with sugar soap and a cloth to remove any residue, dirt and grease.

    Step 2

    Painting skirting board step 2

    Then using sandpaper, lightly sand your skirting board, this will remove any previous paint and uneven textures from the surface.

    Step 3

    Painting skirting board step 3

    Following this, take your tack cloth and wipe down any excess dust from the boards. You can also use Sugar Soap wipes. You’ll now need to clear the dust on the floor area of the skirting boards, use a dustpan and brush or a vacuum to clear away. It’s important that this area is clean and free from dust, as that could stick to your skirting board surface when you paint.

    Step 4

    Painting skirting board step 4

    Take your masking tape and follow the top line of your skirting board, apply this to the wall, this will stop any unwanted paint on your wall surface and create a lovely, neat finish to your skirting board.

    Step 5

    Painting skirting board step 5

    You’ll also need to protect your floor; you can do this with your dust sheet. Cover the surface area of your floor. To secure the sheets down, use your masking tape from the base of your skirting board and pat down to secure it to the floor surface. Apply the masking tape around all the edges of the board.

    Step 6

    Painting skirting board step 6

    If you are painting directly on to bare wood skirting, we advise that you use a ‘Quick Dry’ undercoat first. Apply this to your skirting board using a paintbrush, then leave to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions. After this is dry, you will need to lightly sand the skirting surface and clean away any dust. However, if your skirting boards have been previously painted, there is no need to use an undercoat layer before applying your chosen paint.

    Step 7

    Painting skirting board step 7

    It’s now time to learn how to paint your skirting board. To do this, you’ll need your Gloss Paint or Satin Paint, (depending on the finish you require). You’ll need a thin paintbrush, dip this in your paint tin, and use an even amount of paint. Start at the top of your skirting board. We advise when painting that you follow the direction of the grain, using long strokes, move horizontally across your skirting board, not vertically.

    It’s best if you paint in sections to ensure the best possible finish of your boards. Aim to paint the top of your skirting board first, then the bottom. You can then use a slightly wider brush to paint in the remaining area in the middle. Always use long strokes moving in the direction of the wood grain.

    Step 8

    Painting skirting board step 8 Painting skirting board step 8

    After you have finished painting, carefully remove the masking tape, being careful not to damage the freshly painted surface. It’s vital that you remove the masking tape before the paint has time to dry, as this could set the masking tape to your wall and floor surface, making it highly difficult to remove later. Finally, let the paint dry according to the manufacturer's instructions.

    What Is The Best Paint for Skirting Boards?

    To help you make an informed decision, we are going to focus on the three most popular types of paint for your skirting board. These are:

    Satin Paint For Skirting Boards

    So satin paint is the middle ground of your finishing looks, compared to your gloss paint this gives you a slightly shiny finish but not near to the scale of gloss paint. Satin paint is highly popular with those looking for a modern and contemporary finish to their homes.

    Satin paint often compliments bold colours in the home, so consider this factor when purchasing your paint. Satin paint is very easy to clean, and there is minimal upkeep required as this paint keeps true to its colour over time.

    Gloss Paint For Skirting Boards

    Choosing this type of paint, will (as it says on the tin) give you a gloss finish, which will look shiny and reflective. Gloss paint is durable and hardwearing, which is why it is so popular among many households.

    paint on skirting boards

    Be aware that gloss paint highlights any imperfections along your skirting board surface, so be sure to dedicate time to sanding preparation before applying this type of paint. When choosing your gloss paint, it’s important that you choose a water-based gloss rather than oil-based. This is because oil-based gloss discolours very quickly, which means you’ll need to apply fresh gloss before you know it!

    Eggshell Paint For Skirting Boards

    This would be a paint designed for the modern skirting board. Choosing eggshell paint will leave you with a pure matt finish, leaving no sign of sheen or gloss in sight.

    This type of paint has become hugely popular in recent years as it works well with those looking to produce a ‘shabby chic’ feel to their home. This paint is easy to maintain and is highly durable.

    All these paints are easily sourced online and in local paint shops.

    If you are still struggling to decide what the best paint for skirting boards is, then we would recommend you go with a satin finish. This way it gives you a good mixture between gloss and matt finish, and you can be sure it will be able to withstand your usual wear and tear.

    Skirting Board Maintenance

    Like anything in the home, in time it can experience a few bumps and scrapes. Your skirting boards are no exception, whether it’s from foot traffic, children’s toys or the vacuum cleaner, your skirting board will take a few knocks.

    It’s essential that you maintain your skirting boards, start with cleaning them regularly as that will help to keep them looking bright, fresh and clean, we will discuss how to clean your skirting boards shortly.

    Should you get scuffs or marks, try and use soap and water to remove markings. If the paint on your skirting board comes towards a natural end (paint chips and slight discolouration), then it’s advised that you start the process of repainting your skirting again.

    The paint used on your skirting will be durable and long-lasting, you shouldn’t need to repaint for at least 5-10 years.

    How to Clean Skirting Boards

    As we mentioned before, you will need to keep on top of cleaning your skirting boards to maintain them. It’s surprising how many people neglect to frequently clean these areas of their home.

    cleaning your skirting board

    Skirting boards, unfortunately, are magnets for dust, so keeping on top of this as part of your weekly routine will keep the dust at bay.

    We recommend beginning the process using your vacuum with a small nozzle attachment at the end, to try and improve chances of moving the dust and the dirt.

    You are then able to wipe down your skirting board using warm soapy water and a cloth. Be sure to ring out the cloth to avoid over saturating your wall.

    Using Sugar Soap and a cloth on a frequent basis will also help to collect any gathering dust.

    Should you have some tougher scuffs, you should use take a cloth and soak this in warm water with vinegar, (use one-part water to one-part vinegar). The acidity in the vinegar breaks down these areas of dirt, making them easier to remove.


    How Can I Remove Gloss Paint From Skirting Boards?
    To remove gloss paint from your skirting boards would require investing in a heat gun and scraper. Sanding alone might not be enough and would be a lengthy process. You could also consider a chemical paint stripper, but we would advise using heat first.
    What Paint Can I Use On Wood Skirting Boards?
    You can use either Gloss, Statin or Eggshell paint on wood skirting boards. You must ensure you prep your wood surface properly, by sanding and using a wood primer underlay before applying any paint.
    How Can I Paint Skirting Boards Without Getting Paint On The Wall?
    To prevent any paint splashes on the wall, it’s advised that you apply masking tape to the wall where it joins the skirting. You could also invest in a paint shield, which works to a similar way to the masking tape.
    How Many Coats Of Paint Do I Need To Use On My Skirting Board?
    We recommend using two coats of paint to give a fully professional looking finish to your skirting. This should ensure full coverage. For best results, apply your first coat, then leave to dry. Then lightly sand this first coat and clean off any dust. You can then apply your second coat.
    Can I Use Wall Paint On My Skirting Boards?
    Generally speaking, you can, but it’s not advised, as wall paint was not created with any intentions to be used on wood. There is no guarantee about the durability of the paint.
    Last updated by MyJobQuote on 11th May 2020.

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