How to Paint Skirting Boards

Skirting boards in need of a fresh lick of paint? It’s often the small details that make a big difference in a home and ensuring your skirting boards are neat and tidy can play a large role in the overall aesthetic of your walls. Luckily, painting skirting boards is easy once you’ve picked up a few tips and tricks. 

From the preparation beforehand to choosing and applying your skirting board paint, here at Arnold Laver, we’ve created a simple guide with all you need to know about how to paint skirting boards and ensure a professional finish.

Painting skirting boards can be broken down into 5 easy steps:

Step 1: Clean and prep your skirting boards

Step 2: Choose your skirting board paint

Step 3: Use masking tape to protect your walls

Step 4: Apply the first layer of paint and wait to dry

Step 5: Apply the second layer and remove the masking tape

We’ve broken down each step of the process to help make the job easier for you.

Preparing your skirting boards

First thing’s first, you’ll need to prepare your skirting boards before you start the painting process. If your skirting boards are brand new bare wood, you’ll need to use a knotting solution and a layer of primer before painting. 

If you’re planning on painting over existing skirting boards, you’ll need to sand the paint from them down first to create a surface the new paint can bond to. Using a medium to fine sanding block, work with the grain of the wood to remove the top layer of gloss (we recommend wearing a sanding mask for this bit.) Once you’ve finished the entirety of the room, brush off any dust and sweep your floor. If your skirting boards are in need of a clean, wipe them down with warm water and washing up liquid or sugar soap. 

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Choosing the best paint for skirting boards

Once you’ve sanded down and cleaned your skirting boards, you’ll need to decide which type of skirting board paint to opt for. The most traditional types of skirt board paints are gloss, satin or eggshell. We’ve explained the difference below to help you decide which will work best in your home.

Gloss Paint 

If you’re looking for a high-sheen finish, gloss paint is the one for you. As it’s also very hardwearing, it’s also ideal for areas of heavy footfall, such as hallways. We recommend using a water-based rather than oil-based gloss paint, as oil-based gloss paints can tend to discolour quickly and require more maintenance. 

Satin/Satinwood Paint 

While satin (also known as satinwood) paint provides a mid-level sheen, it gives less of a shine than gloss paint and is therefore often considered more contemporary. If you’re looking for a skirting board paint that’s easy to clean, will stay looking its best for a long time and provide a moderate shine, satin paint could be the best option for your home.

Eggshell Paint

Eggshell paint is the best type of skirting board paint to opt for if you’re looking for a solid colour rather than a high-gloss aesthetic. It does have more of a sheen than emulsions, however, so won’t give a completely matt finish.

Skirting board paint colours  

When it comes to skirting board paint colours, the choice comes down entirely to personal preference. As a general rule, it’s best to stick to a similar colour as your walls for a cohesive aesthetic, however, you can also opt for a contrasting colour if you’re aiming for a bold and contemporary look. Many people consider classic white the best paint for skirting boards, as it’s a failsafe option that goes well with any wall colour. Opting for lighter skirting board paint can also open the room up and make smaller areas feel more spacious.

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How to paint skirting boards without getting paint on the wall

Before you start painting, the next step is to ensure you’ve protected your walls and floors from paint splatters. When it comes to how to paint skirting boards without getting paint on the walls, a simple line of masking tape does the job perfectly. 

Using low-tack masking tape to prevent the paint being stripped from the wall, simply apply the tape all along the wall where it meets the skirting board. This will ensure that when it comes to painting this section, your paintbrush will only come into contact with the tape and not your walls. When you’re finished, gently pull off the masking tape before the paint has dried. 

To protect your floors, we recommend laying down some sheets of paper to prevent any drips staining them.

How to Paint Skirting Boards

And finally, you’re ready to get painting. For most skirting boards, a 2 inch (5cm) brush will do the job well. To avoid too much paint on your brush, dip it straight down and cover about a third of the bristles, ensuring you tap off any excess to prevent drips. 

Start by carefully painting in long, single strokes along the horizontal top of your skirting boards. Once you’ve done this tricky bit at the top, do the same for the bottom half. When the top and bottom are done, you’ll be free to paint the middle section with less precision, while still taking care to avoid brush marks. If you notice any drip marks along the way, be sure to brush these in right away.

It’s usually best to apply a second coat of paint to ensure longevity and a smooth and even finish. Once your first coat is completely dry, simply follow the same painting steps. When you’ve finished, peel off the masking tape and you should be left with neat, clean skirting board edges.

Now you know how to paint skirting boards like a pro, you’ll be able to confidently update and restore your skirting boards whenever you need to. Don’t have time to paint? At Arnold Laver, we’ve done the hard work for you. Our range of skirting boards includes pre-painted skirting boards in a variety of style options to choose from.

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