Painting Skirting Boards | A How To Guide
For anyone who has ever taken on the task of redecorating the home, they'll know that painting skirting boards can be a time consuming (and sometimes messy!) task.
However, to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible, we've taken the time to write this guide and cover all of the information you'll need to learn how to paint skirting boards.
This Article In Short
Below, you'll find a quick roundup of this article to breeze through. We'll go in depth just after this.
- You'll need to pick a paint colour - white is the most common colour for skirtings (normally gloss) but there has been a rise in painting skirtings darker and even the same colour as the walls.
- Using a suitable brush - generally, a small to medium sized brush is best. However, some properties have much taller skirting board so a larger brush will lead to quicker coverage.
- Prepare the surface ready for application - sand the skirtings to ensure there is a smooth and even surface upon which to paint. If you've ordered undercoated skirting boards from us, you won't need to do this. If you've ordered primed skirting boards from us, you'll need to sand, undercoat and then paint the boards. Read more about our finishes here.
- Make sure the surface is clean - if you're repainting old skirtings, be sure to clean them beforehand (a simple soap and water solution is sufficient).
- Use tape around the edges - for a professional finish, it is best to use tape around the edges so that the paint is only applied where you need it.
- Apply a second coat if needed - it's not always the case, but most of the time you will need to add a second coat of paint for thorough coverage.
- Once the paint is dry, remove the tape - if you've applied tape to carpeted areas, push down on the tape to break the paint seal before removing the tape.
Choosing A Paint Colour
It's safe to say that the majority of skirting boards in the UK are currently painted white. However, this is changing.
It is now becoming the norm to make a feature out of your skirting boards - especially if you have extra tall ones or if they're very decorative.
But don't dismiss white straight away. It's used throughout the country because it works well with almost any interior colour.
If you're looking for a simple and clean look, white maybe the way to go. If you're feeling adventurous, choose a darker and contrasting colour that fit's your space. Don't want to shout about your skirting boards? Blend them into the wall by painting them the exact same colour.
In most homes, you'll find that the colour tone of the skirting boards follows that of the walls.
The Right Brush Makes All The Difference
The type of brush you use will depend on the type of paint you have chosen. So, what type of paint for skirting boards should you use?
If You've Chosen A Water Based Paint
A water based paint will require a synthetic paint brush. Before using the brush, wet it thoroughly and then spin it to remove any excess water.
If You've Chosen An Oil Based Paint
This type of paint can be applied with a synthetic brush. However, professional decorators prefer to use a natural bristle brush.
Natural bristle brushes need to be broken in so if you're not going to be frequently using it, a synthetic brush will be the easier option.
Painting Skirting Boards With Emulsion
Most of the time, you'll be told that eggshell, satin or gloss paint will be the best paint for skirting boards. However, emulsion is another option.
Surprisingly, you can get a hardwearing and attractive finish using emulsion paint even though it's normally the cheaper option.
If you do choose this type of finish, make sure you properly prepare the surface first. It is recommended to abrade the surface so that the emulsion has a good surface to adhere too (if painting over gloss, you will need to take the shine off).
Which Size Brush Should I Use To Paint Skirting Boards
Generally, a 2 inch (5 centimetre) paint brush is best for this application.
Image Courtesy of Farrow & Ball
For the detailed sections of the skirting, an angled brush will work best - especially if the design is intricate. This makes it easier to get between the grooves and curves.
If you have tall skirtings, it might be easier to use a wider brush for the flat face of the board. This will make applying the paint quicker and more efficient.
Preparation Of The Surface
So, you've chosen your skirting board paint and got your brush ready! Before you can start painting, the surface will need to be prepared so that you end up with a smooth and even finish.
Preparing Existing Skirting Boards
If you're planning on repainting skirting boards that you already have in place, you'll need to make sure the surface is clean.
Of course, you could sand them down and strip them back to bare wood but this would take a very long time.
To clean the existing boards, we recommend a simple soap and water solution and a bit of elbow grease! This ensures that the paint can be evenly applied.
Image Courtesy of Little House On The Corner
Preparing New Skirting Boards
If you've bought new skirtings, chances are they'll need a touch of sanding before you can start painting. They might even need a layer of undercoat (especially if you're using MDF instead of softwood).
If you are using MDF, make sure to sand the boards before priming / undercoating so that the final layer of paint can be applied evenly.
If you are using softwood, make sure you treat the knots and other imperfections before painting the boards.
You're in luck if you've purchased undercoated MDF skirting from ourselves. We prime the boards and then undercoat them to ensure full coverage (they're also sanded before and after the priming so that the finish is smooth). The boards will be ready to paint as soon as you've fitted them!
Tape Your Edges Before Picking Up The Brush
To make sure you get a professional finish, we recommend that all the edges of the skirting are taped along.
If you're applying tape to a carpeted area, use a blunt tool to push the tape underneath the skirting. This ensures the paint can't escape and run onto the carpet.
Painters Tape is best used along the wall where the skirting joins. You'll be rewarded with a crisp finish once the paint is dry.
Painting The Skirting Board
When you start painting, you should start from the top. This is typically the toughest part, especially if you have very detailed skirting boards.
Image Courtesy of DIY Doctor
To prevent paint dripping off the brush, only dip the brush half way up the bristles and then wipe one side of the brush against the inside of the tin. This removes excess paint.
If the paint does drop whilst being applied to the boards, brush over it as quickly as possible.
Once you've finished painting the detailed section of board, it is best to start the bottom section.
Take care when applying the paint to the bottom - use less on the brush so there is less chance of it dripping onto the floor.
Next is the arguably the easiest part. Painting the middle of the skirting board.
This task should be the quickest to complete as there will be little to no intricacy to paint over.
Apply Another Coat Of Paint If Necessary
A lot of paint is now marketed as a one coat solution but it can still be best to add another coat for added protection and longevity.
If this is the case, repeat the steps as above to ensure a smooth and even finish.
Remove The Tape And Admire Your Refreshed Skirting Boards
One the paint is dry, it's time to remove the tape you applied before painting.
If you taped over carpeted areas, carefully push down on the tape before removing it. This will break any seal the paint may have made and prevent the paint being pulled away with the tape.
After you've carefully removed all the tape, you'll be able to stand back and take in all the hard work you've just done!
The end result should be beautifully painted skirting boards with crisp and clean edges.