How to paint skirting boards

Here's how to paint your skirting boards in five easy steps

Home makeover: 'We gave this old-fashioned house a minimalist makeover'

Although skirting boards aren’t the first thing you notice when you enter a room, they have a huge effect on the appearance of your room as a whole.

Unlike walls, which, with proper care, can stay looking fresh for years, skirting boards can quickly show signs of everyday wear and tear. Dust can gather and marks will look prominent, so if you’re keen to achieve a flawless finish in your home, giving your skirting boards a new lick paint is a great way to freshen up a room.

What colour should I paint skirting boards?

When it comes to choosing the colour of your skirting boards, professional decorators often advise that you should match the tone of the skirting paint to the tone of the paint on your walls, but in reality, you can be as creative and bold as you wish. If dark décor is your thing, dark paint on skirting boards will add drama and depth to a room. If you’re keen to make your home feel lighter and brighter, white paint will make your rooms feel open and airy. The choice is yours!

Preparing skirting boards for paint

If you want to achieve a professional finish when you paint your skirting boards, it’s important to remember that preparation is key. You should spend just as much time prepping the boards for paint as you do painting them, as it’ll ensure the paint goes on smoothly and evenly.

Do you paint skirting boards or walls first?

If you’re giving your whole room a makeover, remember to paint your skirting boards last… work from ceiling, to walls, to skirting, to help prevent drips and splashes from ruining the overall effect.

Happy painting!

You will need:

To prepare the skirting boards for painting:

  • Sandpaper
  • A clean, dry brush
  • Mild soap solution and sponge
  • Frog Tape for masking

To paint the skirting boards:

  • A 2” brush (Opt for one with synthetic bristles if your paint is water based)
  • Gloss or satin paint (Gloss paint is more hard wearing)
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Step 1

First, sand your skirting boards by hand before using a clean, dry brush to remove dust and dried paint. Next, clean the skirting boards with a solution of mild soap and water. Washing up liquid works well, as it helps to remove any grease or dirt that has built up over time.

Step 2

Apply masking tape to the walls and floors around the skirting boards, making sure to get the tape as close to the skirting as possible. If you have carpet, press the masking tape into the carpet using a blunt edged tool to make sure the paint doesn’t bleed.

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to put dust sheets over the rest of your flooring to protect it from spills and splashes.

FrogTape MS_DS_skirting_wood floor
Apply Frog Tape before applying primer or paint

Step 3

If your paint requires a primer, now is the time to apply it. Follow the instructions on the tin, making sure you wash your brush immediately after use. Make sure to let primer dry fully before adding paint.

Step 4

Using a 2” paintbrush, start applying your paint to the skirting board in long, sweeping motions.

Starting at the top of the skirting, work the paint along the length of one section, repeating the process until you reach the bottom. Do this all the way along the skirting, working in small sections, making sure not to overload your brush with paint. If you’re using gloss paint be extra careful, as it’ll leave visible drip marks if you apply too thick of a layer. You can always add additional coats to achieve the desired effect, but if you apply too much, you’ll have to sand and start again.

Step 5

Remove the masking tape when the paint is still tacky, et voila!

FrogTape MS_DS skirting_wood floor_removal
Remove Frog tape slowly to reveal a clean edge
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If you need to add a second coat, make sure you leave adequate time before you start painting. How long the first coat takes to dry will depend on the brand of paint you use, so make sure you follow the instructions on the tin.