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How To Paint Skirting Boards


To give you plenty of space to work, move all furniture into the centre of the room and cover with a dust sheet.

Sand the skirting to remove any flaking paint and roughen the old paint or stain a little so that the new paint will adhere properly. This can be a fiddly job, especially if your skirting is quite decorative, but worth the effort for a good finish.

Fill any cracks, corners, nail holes etc. with appropriate filler and sand when filler is dry.

Once you’ve sanded all the skirting, vacuum and wipe down with a damp cloth. Now using a sugar soap solution, clean the skirting well to remove any remaining fine dust or grease and allow to dry completely.

Lay newspaper or dust sheets on the floor to protect against spills. Stick a strip of masking tape along the edge of the carpet or floor covering, as close to the skirting as possible. Now take a piece of card or plastic carpet protector and tuck it under the skirting so that there is no danger of fresh paint getting onto the floor surface. If you are not confident in cutting-in at the top edge of the skirting, then also apply masking tape to the wall.

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Start by cutting-in along the top of the skirting nearest the wall. Use a small amount of paint at a time so as not to overload your brush. Brush from right to left following any grain (the opposite if you are left-handed. When you’ve cut-in an area along the top of the skirting, switch to the bottom of the skirting and do the same. Now you can fill in the middle section. Slide your piece of card or plastic protector along as you go.

Check for drips and spills using a damp cloth (water based paint – use water, oil-based paint – use white spirit or turpentine) to wipe off.  Slowly move along the skirting, taking your time and always being mindful of spills and drips.

For a professional finish, you’ll require at least two coats. Allow the paint to dry completely then use a fine grade sandpaper to lightly go over the skirting before you start on the second coat. Look for any drips or bumps, being sure to sand them right down. Remember to wipe over the skirting with a damp cloth after sanding to remove the fine dust which will stop the next coat adhering and spoil the finish.

For further coats repeat the same process. Note that several thin coats provide a better finish and offer better protection than one or two thick ones.

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