How To Paint Skirting Boards

person painting a skirting board

How to Prepare and Paint Skirting

There are only a few steps necessary to prepare your skirting boards for painting, but first, it is good practise to get your tools and supplies ready to begin.

Tools & Supplies for Painting Skirting

Tools Needed

  • Sandpaper Grades – (80-grit & 120-grit)
  • Sugar soap and a soft cloth for cleaning the skirting prior to applying fresh paint
  • Good quality paint brush 2”
  • Paint guard
  • Painters tape

Materials Needed

  • Paint – most commonly used on skirting boards are gloss, satin and eggshell.
  • Using an undercoat can help reduce the amount of gloss or satinwood required. If the skirting is stained, it’s advisable to apply a primer coat prior to painting.

Now that you have all your tools and supplies needed, follow these simple steps:

1. Clean the Skirting

Use a clean cloth and some Sugar Soap to clean any dirt and grime from the painted woodwork. Sugar soap has a degreasing agent which makes it perfect for cleaning painted areas. If you don’t have any Sugar Soap, warm water with a little dish detergent is a good substitute.

2. Time to Sand

Do you need to sand skirting boards before painting? Yes.

If you have new trim or the existing trim is very smooth, lightly sand the surface using a 120-grit sandpaper, until the shine disappears. If your trim has a rough or worn surface, begin with a coarse grade of paper, 80-grit, and then finish with a less-coarse sandpaper such as 100- or 120-grit.

Clean away any dust with a vacuum and then a damp sponge.

man sanding skirting board with electric sander in red hoody, jeans and face mask

3. Repair Damaged Surfaces

Fill in holes, dents and cracks with Wood Filler (Spackling) using a putty knife. Once the filler has dried completely, lightly sand over the filler with a 120-grit, until it is level with the surrounding area. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on how long to leave to dry.

4. Final Cleaning

Clean the trim and the adjacent walls or ceiling of any dust, to ensure painter’s tape adheres securely.

person applying painters tape to skirting board

5. Mask off the Adjacent Surfaces

How do you paint skirting boards without getting paint on walls?

Apply painter’s tape to the adjacent surfaces of your skirting (the wall & floor). Press the tape firmly to the surfaces, and using a putty knife press the edges to guarantee good adhesion. This helps to stop paint bleeding through the edges.  

Time to Paint

1. Apply a coat of primer to the trim. This is especially necessary if you have used filler/spackling to repair any cracks or dents. The primer will provide a good surface for the paint to adhere to.

2. Allow sufficient time for the primer to thoroughly dry, and then lightly sand the surface of the primer with 120-grit sandpaper to eliminate any paint drips or brush strokes. Remove any sanding dust with a damp sponge, or Tack Cloth.

3. Use short horizontal brush strokes to apply the paint, and then smooth over the short brush strokes with one longer continuous brush stroke. This technique will create the appearance of long and smooth brush strokes. Be patient, painting in short sections as you progress around the room.

4. Carefully remove the painters tape before the paint is completely dry. It is better to remove the tape whilst the paint is still moist under the surface.

Additional Tips When Painting Skirting:

A. Brush outwards from the corners.

B. Cut in the top of the skirting first, then cut in the bottom, and finally cover in between.

C. It’s easier to paint new skirting before fixing it to the wall.

illustration to show painting skirting boards

D. If you’re painting skirting that’s already fixed to the wall it is helpful if you can peel back the carpet, if that’s not possible then you should take care to cover the carpet in areas close to the skirting with a good quality masking tape.

E. Give yourself plenty of room by clearing away any obstructing furniture

If you found this useful, why not share with a friend?


We’re here to help, try some more of our How To guides:

Make Wallpapering Quick and Easy, Use WallpaperBuddy™

What Order Do You Paint A Room? 

Expert Tips On How To Paint A Door 

Expert Tips On How To Paint A Window Frame