How to paint your skirting boards

How to paint your skirting boards

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When you’re redecorating, it can be so exciting to pick new paint colours and plan out your new room design, and it can also be just as fun to do the painting yourself! One part that may be new to you though is what to do with skirting boards – should you paint them white, or paint them the same colour as your walls? And what’s the correct way to paint them because they’re usually a different material from your walls?

We’ll take you through the best way to paint your skirting boards, as well as answer some commonly asked questions to ensure you have a clear plan of action when you tackle the paint job. We’ve also had a look at some design and style ideas for your skirting boards to give you inspiration.

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Mineral Grey - Primo Tweeds

The best way to paint your skirting boards

If you want to make your skirting boards look great, these are the steps to follow:

  1. Prepare your room for painting – this means putting down dust sheets and taping them down as close to the skirting board as possible. Taping down your dust sheet is also essential for smooth floors like laminate or engineered wood, where the dust sheet could move easily when you step on it. You should also clean your skirting boards before you begin painting so no dirt or dust gets stuck under the paint – use a simple solution of sugar and soap in warm water for this. You can also put a line of painter’s tape above the top of the skirting board to avoid getting any splashes on your newly painted walls.
  2. Sand your skirting boards – it’ll mean you can apply fewer coats, because the paint has a better surface to stick to, and it will also leave you with a much smoother finish.
  3. Use paint primer – apply a layer or two of paint primer to your skirting boards. Try not to overload your brush by brushing it against the rim of the paint tin or tray. This is a good way to practice before you begin painting, to ensure you don’t get any drips or smears.
  4. Paint the top and the very bottom of the skirting board carefully with a 2” brush – this is the part that requires a steady hand! Then fill in the middle and leave it to dry for 2-4 hours.
  5. Follow the same process with your chosen paint, making sure you leave your dust sheet in place until the paint is completely dry.

Tips for painting skirting boards

Here are some of our top tips and tricks to answer some really common questions about painting skirting boards and the best ways to do it:

Do you paint skirting boards before walls?

The walls should be painted first, and the skirting boards should be painted last. Starting at the top and moving downward is one of the golden rules of decorating because you can prevent drip marks on your newly painted skirting boards by painting the walls beforehand. It’s always recommended that you start with the ceiling, then the walls, followed by skirting boards and wood trim at the end.

What paint is best to use on skirting boards?

Traditionally, white gloss paint is used on skirting boards, a look which can be found in a lot of older and more contemporary homes alike because it gives a clean finish to a room. Oil-based paint is also great for skirting boards because it has a lot of qualities that make it great against staining and scuffing. As for finishes, gloss finishes are one of the most durable you can find for your skirting boards, and if you don't want a full gloss finish, satin finishes are a bit subtler but still durable.

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Tamar Seville Orange - Estrella

Can I paint my skirting boards without sanding them?

It’s always recommended you sand your skirting boards before you paint them so you can get the best possible finish when you do get around to painting them. If it helps, grab a cushion or gardening mat to help your knees, and remember to take regular breaks. You can also hire an automatic sander from your local hardware shop to help the sanding process go a little quicker.

What is the quickest way to paint skirting boards?

There’s always a debate between what’s best to use – roller versus paintbrush –  and the answer here is it depends on which you prefer and feel you can use quicker. Paint brushes have more control, which can be useful if you’re working on a small surface area like a thinner skirting board. However, rollers can get the paint on quicker and more evenly but could be a little unruly if you’re working with lighter-coloured flooring like beige carpet.

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Sagano Piatra

Style ideas for painting skirting boards

Another decorating rule of thumb is that the colour of your skirting boards should, in general, match the tone of your walls. If you use a darker wall colour, match this with darker skirting boards, as it will make the room look more modern (and marks and dust will be easily hidden). Lighter skirting boards, on the other hand, will make the room feel both bigger and taller, which is another bonus if you’re working with a smaller room.

However, everything is up to your personal style and tastes, so if you’d like to paint your walls forest green with a hot pink skirting board, you go for it! We actually love the idea of making a statement with your skirting boards, especially when it’s matched with bold décor and furniture – our lookbooks are packed full of fun colour concepts you could try in your space.

If you’d like any help with deciding what style you’d like to go for, or if you want to find some flooring that matches your beautiful new walls and skirting boards, why not pop into your local Tapi store to speak to one of our floorologists? You could also book a free home visit for one of our flooring experts to come out and see what you’re working with to give their advice.

Alternatively, discover more of our DIY guides, including how to paint a wooden front door, and how to dispose of carpet.

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Published: 04-01-2023