The humble skirting board might not get as much attention as your walls or ceiling, but it’s actually very useful, and deserves to be looked after.
The skirting board not only conceals any mismatched joins between the wall and the floor, it also serves to offer some protection from roaming pets, boisterous children and rogue vacuum cleaners!
Our Recommended Best Paint For Skirting Boards
If you’re giving your room a lick of paint you need to make sure your skirting boards look the part too.
There are many brands on the market, so which is the best paint for skirting boards? Before you get your brushes out let’s take a look at the top five:
#1: Rust-Oleum Universal Paint
- Paint and primer in one
- 250ml tin
- Apply straight to wood, plastic, metal, plastic, and ceramic
- Can also be painted over rust
- Durable formula can be used inside and outside
- Coverage of up to 9m2/litre (depends on method and rate of application)
- Touch dry in approximately 2 hours
- Completely dry in approximately 8 hours and set hard after 7 days.
Things to Consider:
Before you begin, put on protective clothing e.g. coveralls and gloves, and ventilate the room well (toxic fumes can cause dizziness and drowsiness). You should also keep in mind that this product is flammable and can be toxic to fish and aquatic life.
If you need to block stains such as nicotine it’s a good idea to use stain block primer first. If you are painting non-ferrous or galvanised metal you can prime first with a metal primer. For porous materials the manufacturer recommends you dilute the first coat with 10% white spirit. For everything else, you’re good to go straight away!
Give the paint a good stir before you use it, you will then need a suitable brush to carefully apply the first coat to your skirting board – watch out for drips, the paint is relatively thin. A second coat might be needed (if so, wait 16 hours before you apply it).
#2: Dulux Quick Dry Gloss Paint for Wood and Metal
- Low odour
- Water based paint
- 750ml tin
- Apply directly to surface (no undercoat required)
- Dries quickly – touch dry in approximately 2 hours
- Easy to apply
- Wipeable and durable (non-yellowing)
Things to Consider:
This product contains substances that may cause an allergic reaction. As with all painting projects it’s wise to wear protective clothing such as gloves.
This is a water-based paint you don’t get those strong toxic fumes that you often notice with oil paint, however the paint is thinner. This means you will have to be careful when painting in order to avoid drips. You might also need to apply a second coat.
#3: Dulux Once Satinwood Paint for Wood and Metal
- No need for an undercoat – just one coat needed.
- Easy to apply
- Brilliant white in colour
- Long lasting paint
- Beautiful satin finish
Things to consider
This product contains a chemical called 2-butanone oxime (which could cause an allergic reaction), so do take care by wearing protective clothing, such as gloves. You should also keep in mind that the paint is flammable and may give off strong fumes (always ventilate the room).
When you’re all set apply the paint with a good quality brush. You will need to get a fair amount of paint on your brush so you can make sure a thick layer is applied to the skirting board.
If you paint too thinly you may have to deal with drips and you might also find the coverage a little patchy. If you are painting over a darker colour (or just want thicker coverage) you can apply a second coat after 16 hours.
#4: Ronseal Stays White 2 IN 1 Primer and Paint Satin
- Primer and topcoat in one
- 750 ml tin
- Satin finish
- Can be used on bare wood or wood that has been painted before
- Drip resistant paint
- Touch dry in just 30 minutes – dries fully in approximately 4 hours
- Comes with a Ronseal stay-white 10-year guarantee
- Low V.O.C content
- Covers up to 26m² per litre
Things to Consider
This is a water-based product and has a low V.O.C content, so it won’t emit an overly strong odour. However, you should still ventilate the room and wear protective clothing, such as gloves, when painting.
Although this is a one coat paint, you can add a second coat if you feel it’s needed (just allow plenty of time for the first coat to dry before you do).
#5: Johnstone’s Quick Dry Gloss
- Dries in 1 to 2 hours
- Water-based paint with low odour
- Coverage of up to 13m2
Things to Consider
This paint dries very quickly (which is a bonus for many) but that means you have to be slick with the application – linger too long and you risk dragging or smearing any paint that’s semi dry.
How To Paint Skirting Boards
Painting a skirting board isn’t rocket science, but there are a few simple rules to follow if you’re keen to do an expert job. If you are painting a new skirting board you will need to treat it with a knotting solution and wood primer before you paint it.
If your skirting board is already painted or varnished you will need to prepare the surface, we’ll talk more about that later.
Do You Paint the Walls or the Skirting Boards First?
If you want to make a good job of decorating a room you should follow a systematic approach. Start with the ceiling, then paint the walls, then move onto the skirting boards, after that give the windows and door frames a lick of paint. Finally, you can move onto painting the door.
Choose the Right Colour:
White always works well for skirting boards – a crisp white will instantly freshen and brighten up the room. However, you could opt for a darker colour if you fancy a more contemporary look.
Use the Right Brush:
A 5cm brush should do the trick, but if you are going to use water-based paint it’s wise to use a brush that has synthetic bristles.
Sand the Surface:
Sanding your surface will rid it of any old flaky paint and will also provide a good base so the new paint can easily bond (your paint will also be less likely to chip in the future).
Can You Paint Skirting Without Sanding?
Sanding always provides a better surface, you don’t have to sand your skirting board but doing so means you won’t have to keep painting it to achieve a smooth, well-covered look.
Clean the Surface:
Rid the skirting board of any dust and loose paint by brushing with a soft brush. You can also clean with soap and water to ensure the surface is fully prepped for painting.
Tape the Edges:
For a really smart finish you should apply masking tape to the edge of the floor. This will stop paint from ruining your carpet and will also ensure your lines are clean and sharp.
Paint the First Coat
Once you’ve got your paint, the tools to do the job and you’ve prepped the skirting boards you can get onto the main event – painting.
What Type of Paint Do You Use for Skirting Boards?
When it comes to choosing paint for your skirting board you can go for gloss or satin paint. Gloss paint is shiny and produces a burnished look, and it’s also very robust and hard wearing.
Gloss paint would suit areas that receive a lot of footfall (such as hallways). Its durability makes it a hit with families too – gloss can withstand the antics of toddlers and young children.
Despite its qualities, gloss does come with a few problems. You will need to prep your skirting boards really well before painting (which will take extra time and effort).
If you try and take a shortcut on this you might not get the results you were aiming for – gloss paint has a habit of showing up even the most minor of imperfections. So, you will have to take your time and make sure you do a good job.
If you’re set on using gloss paint, buy a water-based paint over an oil-based one.
Water-based paints are relatively thin (so you will need to watch out for drips when you’re painting) but the colour lasts well. Oil-based paints tend to discolour, so you could end up with yellowing skirting boards, which means yet another paint job.
Satin paint is a more modern option and compliments a whole range of interior colours. If you choose a satin finish (sometimes known as satinwood), you get a less shiny finish, and a more “solid” cover (satin isn’t as reflective as gloss). Satin is easy to care for and holds its colour well.
How Do You Paint Skirting Boards Without Brush Marks?
If needs be, give your paint a stir and then dip your brush into the tin (the paint should reach roughly halfway up the bristles). Apply the paint to skirting board carefully in sections.
To get a good finish you will need to brush along the grain, do this by always brushing the length of the board as your last brushstroke.
How do I paint the narrow edge?
Edges can be tricky, and skirting boards are no exception – especially if you’re painting boards that are already attached to the wall.
Check If You Need to Paint A Second Coat
Many paints now describe themselves as “one coat” solutions, stating this will be enough to get the job done. However, if you want complete coverage you might need to consider painting on a second coat.
You will have to let the first coat dry completely before applying the second coat. To give you an idea water-based paint should take around 16 hours to dry and solvent-based paint should take approximately 24 hours.
Take Off the Tape and Admire Your Handy Work!
Once your skirting board is totally dry you will be able to remove the tape. When you’re through, take a step back and admire your handy work!
Which Is The Best Paint for Skirting Boards?
We hope you enjoyed this whistle-top tour of skirting board painting! We’ve looked at five of the best paints on the market, they all have attractive features and should provide you with the nice paint job you are looking for.
Simply choose the one that best fits your decorating needs and your budget.