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How to paint skirting boards

Do you find painting skirting boards tricky? Find tips on the best way to paint skirting boards.

Wondering how to paint skirting boards?

The first step is to prepare the woodwork for painting.

  • Bare wood: If your skirting is bare wood, start by painting on a few light coats of knotting solution. Follow the instructions on the can for time between coats. Fill any holes, cracks or imperfections in the wood with a specialist wood filler before painting on a coat of wood primer. This creates a surface that subsequent coats of undercoat and topcoat can stick to.
  • Painted wood: Paintwork that’s in poor condition can be stripped away using a heat gun. This returns the surface back to bare wood.  Paintwork with only minor blemishes can simply be sanded with sandpaper. Your aim should be to remove any imperfections and to remove the shiny finish of the existing paint, giving it a ‘key’ that helps the skirting board paint to stick. Use a damp cloth to remove grime or sanding dust and allow to dry.

Note that painting skirting boards with carpet beneath is very difficult. The best way to paint skirting boards is to remove or roll back the carpet before you start.

Undercoat

Undercoat is essential when painting skirting boards. You’ll need one coat for skirting that was already painted or two or three coats if you’re working with bare wood. Work with the grain and apply light coats.

Topcoat

You don’t need a specialist paint for skirting boards. Interior wood paint can be gloss, satin or eggshell, depending on your preferred finish.

Work with the grain and start at the top, working downward, to avoid unsightly drips. When glossing skirting boards, keep the coat light in spite of the temptation to slap it on thickly.

Trader tip

Don’t buy cheap paints – the colours look fine initially but a white paint, for example, will often yellow prematurely.'

Emily English,  English, Barrett & Gray

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