How to Paint Skirting Boards

a photo of a professional decorator applying painter’s tape to walls around Skirting Boards

How to Paint Skirting Boards

By Paul McGovern, Master Craftsman at

Painting the skirting boards is often the most tedious and time-consuming part of repainting a room. Old, cracked skirting boards with layers of chipped paint can be especially frustrating to prep and paint.

In this article, I’ll share my proven step-by-step method for prepping and painting skirting boards like a professional painter. Read on to learn tips for removing old paint, achieving a smooth finish, cutting in sharp lines, and speeding up the painting process.

Materials Needed

Here are the painting supplies you’ll need:

  • Sandpaper – 80-150 grit for sanding, 220-400 grit for final smoothing
  • Sanding block
  • Paintbrush – Angled sash brush for cutting in edges
  • Paint roller & tray – Small 4-inch roller for flat sections
  • Primer – Matching skirting board primer
  • Topcoat paint – Satin, semi-gloss, or gloss finish
  • Drop cloths – To protect floors and furnishings
  • Painters tape – For taping off carpets and floors
  • Filler/wood putty – For fixing imperfections

Prep Steps for Painting Skirting Boards

Proper prep is crucial for achieving an immaculate painted finish on skirting boards. Follow these key steps:

  1. Remove any furniture and belongings from the room if possible. Completely cover and mask off remaining items.
  2. Protect floors with drop cloths and secure with painters tape around carpet edges.
  3. Fill any holes, gouges, or damaged areas with wood filler and let dry completely.
  4. Sand skirting boards with 80-150 grit paper to remove loose paint and roughen the surface.
  5. Wipe and clean away all sanding dust thoroughly before priming.
  6. Apply 1-2 coats of quality oil-based or shellac-based primer.
  7. Fill any remaining cracks or imperfections and sand again with 220-400 grit sandpaper for an ultra smooth finish.
  8. Wipe off final dust with a tack cloth. The surface is now ready for painting.

Pro Tip: For severely damaged or deteriorated skirting boards, it may be best to remove and install new ones before painting for a lasting finish.

a photo of a professional decorator painting Skirting Boards

How to Paint Skirting Boards Step-By-Step

Once prepped, follow these steps for a professional paint job:

  1. Use painters tape to mask off carpet, floors, and walls above the skirting boards. This prevents drips and splatters.
  2. Use a high-quality nylon/polyester angled sash brush to cut in the edges where the skirting boards meet the walls and floors. Carefully paint the top and bottom edges by hand brushing first.
  3. Next, use a small foam roller to paint the main flat portions of the skirting boards. Roll top-to-bottom in smooth strokes while avoiding excess pressure.
  4. Maintain a wet edge and work in small sections to prevent lap marks as you go. Touch up edges with the brush as needed.
  5. Work methodically from one side of the room to the other. Apply two thin, even coats, allowing proper drying time between coats.
  6. Inspect the final coats closely in good lighting from all angles. Touch up any missed spots for completely smooth coverage.
  7. Allow paint to fully cure for at least 48 hours before removing painters tape or replacing furniture.

Pro Painting Tips

Here are some extra pro tips for achieving a flawless painted finish:

  • Lightly sand between coats with 400 grit sandpaper to smooth raised grain.
  • Wipe away dust before applying each new coat using a microfiber cloth.
  • Use an artist’s brush for precision touch-ups in corners, crevices, and detailed edges.
  • Maintain the same paint batch if doing multiple coats for perfect color consistency.
  • Caulk gaps between skirting boards and walls/baseboards for an ultra seamless finish.
  • Work top to bottom on walls before painting skirting boards to prevent drips landing on freshly painted boards.

Common Painting Mistakes to Avoid

It’s easy for an amateur painter to make minor mistakes that ruin the final finish. Here are some key errors to avoid:

  • Inadequate prep leading to peeling, cracking, or uneven paint adhesion.
  • Drips, splatters, brush marks, and other application flaws. Work slowly and cautiously.
  • Improper taping leading to paint seeping underneath onto floors and carpets.
  • Touching or walking on painted skirting boards before fully cured.
  • Failing to properly clean and smooth between coats.

By following my pro tips and avoiding these mistakes, you can achieve truly professional-looking results when painting your skirting boards.

Hiring a Professional Painter

While painting skirting boards yourself can save money, hiring professional painters will ensure the highest quality results. Benefits include:

  • Efficiency from years of experience painting skirting boards
  • Ability to properly fix damaged skirting prior to painting
  • Commercial-grade tools and scaffolding for hard-to-reach areas
  • Precision cutting in edges against carpets and ceilings
  • Availability for touch-ups down the road as needed

Consider hiring pros if you have little painting experience or a very time-consuming project.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common skirting board painting questions:

What sheen is best for skirting boards?

Satin and semi-gloss offer a classic finished wood look. High-gloss provides the most durable finish.

Should woodwork and skirting match wall color?

Not necessarily – contrasting skirting in white or black is popular. But matching can provide a cohesive flow.

How do I fix cracked skirting boards before painting?

Fill cracks and holes with wood filler. Sand smooth and prime before painting for seamless results.

Can trim paint be used on skirting boards?

Yes, quality trim paints work excellently for protecting and beautifying skirting boards.

Should I caulk between skirting and walls?

Caulking before painting results in a tighter seal and a more seamless painted finish.


Painting skirting boards like a pro requires careful prep, prime, and paint application. Following proper steps minimizes mistakes and ensures a long-lasting, quality finish. While challenging, with some practice and patience, you can achieve amazing results.

I hope these skirting board painting tips help you tackle your next interior painting project with confidence. Let me know if you have any other painting questions!

a photo of a professional decorator applying painter’s tape to walls around Skirting Boards

How to Paint Skirting Boards

By Paul McGovern, Master Craftsman at Painting the skirting boards is often the most tedious and time-consuming part of repainting a room. Old, cracked

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