How to Paint Skirting Boards: Your Ultimate Guide

Skirting boards are perhaps one of the more underrated elements of the home, but they can really lift a room and provide extra depth to your colour scheme. In essence, they are the perfect finishing touch.

But over time, our skirting boards can take a bit of a beating, whether that means being knocked with a vacuum cleaner, scuffed by shoes, muddied by dirty paws or simply gathering dust.

Whether you’ve got brand spanking new skirting boards to paint or want to give your previously-painted skirting boards a bit of TLC, we’re giving you our top skirting board painting tips to provide you with plenty of handy information on how to paint skirting boards to perfection.

Before you paint

Before you pick up that paint brush, there’s one important thing to do. Pull al your furniture away from the walls so you’ve got plenty of room to work, and cover all furniture with old bedding or dust sheets to keep it paint-free.

How to prepare your skirting boards

Cleaning and sanding your skirting boards

When it comes to painting skirting boards, preparation is key. Using a sugar soap solution and a sponge, give your skirting boards a wipe to get rid of any dust, dirt or grime. Once your skirting boards are dry, the next step is to sand down the wood surface to make it clean and smooth. Always sand with the grain as opposed to against it, as this will create a smoother finish. Sanding your skirting boards will make sure the paint has a strong surface to adhere to. Once you’ve sanded, grab a damp cloth and wipe away any dust.

How to apply knotting solution

You’ll also need to apply knotting solution to your skirting boards before you paint them. Knots are a different colour and texture from the background wood and absorb wood finishes differently. Painting over knots without preparing them first will mean that the knots are visible through the paint, no matter how many coats you apply. Usually, you’ll need two or three coats to completely cover a knot.

It’s worth bearing in mind that some woods have more knots than others. For example, pine can be especially grainy and has knots-a-plenty, so it’s doubly important not to skip the sanding process. That said, some skirting boards don’t have any knots; for example, MDF skirting boards are knot-free, so if yours are made from MDF, you can skip this step.

How to protect your floors when painting skirting boards

One thing you might be concerned about when painting your skirting boards is how to do it without getting paint all over your carpet or wood floor. We recommend applying a roll of self-adhesive plastic floor protector as close to the skirting board as possible to protect your flooring.

How to protect your walls when painting your skirting boards

Painting is a messy business, so it’s important to make sure you protect your walls as well as your floors when it comes to painting your skirting boards. To do this, you should place a length of painter’s tape just above the top of your skirting boards to stop any paint from getting on your wall or wallpaper.

Do I need to prime my skirting boards?

If you’ve got new or ready-primed skirting boards, or if your skirting boards are already painted, you can skip this step. But if your skirting boards are wood-finished or haven’t been painted previously, you’ll need to apply one to two coats of primer to them before painting. Wait until the primer is completely dry before painting.

Let us take away the hassle of preparing your skirting boards: all of our skirting boards come fully finished and are twice-primed!

Painting your skirting boards

Once you’ve completed the preparation process, it’s time to paint!

Start by painting the top of your skirting board, using a 2” brush: dip your brush about halfway into the paint and brush it against the inside of the tin to remove any excess paint. Ideally, you want your brush to be fairly loaded with paint, but only on one side. This will ensure the paint doesn’t drip. If it does drip, brush over it quickly so that it doesn’t dry that way.

Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle on the top of your skirting board and paint from right to left if you’re right-handed, or left to right if you’re left-handed.

When you’ve painted the top of your skirting board, move on to the bottom, simply repeating the same process as above.

Next, paint the middle of your skirting board using the same process again. If you need to add more coats of paint (most skirting boards require two coats of paint), allow for your skirting boards to dry completely before moving on to the next coat. When you’ve finished, gently peel the painter’s tape from your wall whilst the paint is still wet. However, when it comes to your floor protection, you must wait for the paint to dry before removing the protector.

We recommend waiting for 12 hours or overnight before moving your furniture back into its original position.

Which paint should I use on my skirting boards?

For the decorative coat of paint, you can use any paint designed for wood. These include satin, eggshell and, perhaps most commonly, gloss. These paints will give your skirting boards a professional finish and really add a decorative element to your room.

How to repaint skirting boards

If you’re repainting previously glossed or painted skirting boards, clean the skirting board and prepare surrounding area as you would with new skirting boards. As your skirting boards will already have been painted before, there will be no need to sand or prime the wood. Simply choose your paint and get started!

If you want to take the hassle out of preparing and painting skirting boards, we’ve got the solution for you. Choose from our vast range of finished skirting boards, from white primed to White fully finished to a Real wood Veneer or our superior finish KOTA.