Q&A: Skirting Board Paint

Buying paint for skirting boards alone might seem like a bit of a waste.

Why not just paint it with the same paint you bought for your walls, right? Well, that’d be a pretty bad idea. It’s questions like these that has inspired us to write a guide on skirting board paint which is something the average DIYer often overlooks.

We’ve taken some commonly asked questions about skirting board paint as well as some specific questions asked by our readers and answered them below.

Can you paint over skirting boards?

Yes, you can paint over skirting boards. If you have a skirting board that has never been painted before, we recommend using a suitable primer for wood before applying your top coats.

What paint do you use for skirting boards?

As skirting boards are essentially used to protect your walls from getting damaged. On that basis, you’ll need to use a durable paint on them. Anything from satinwood to high gloss will be perfect for skirting boards.

What preparation do you need to do before painting skirting boards?

The prep you do really depends on the condition of the skirting boards. Brand new skirting boards can be primed before applying your topcoats. Already painted skirting boards will need to be cleaned and lightly sanded before applying your paint.

Can I use the same paint I used on my interior wall on my skirting boards too?

We wouldn’t recommend using wall paint on skirting boards. The reason being, wall paint is typically more prone to scratches and scrapes and can’t withstand occasional, thorough cleaning. It’s best to stick to using a satinwood or gloss.

My customer wants her skirting boards the same colour as her walls, but I am using an emulsion paint on the walls. What can I use on top of the coloured emulsion on the woodwork to protect it from damage, please? Normally I’d paint the wood work all in an oil based paint but she doesn’t want this.

You should be able to get woodwork paints tinted to the same colour so I wouldn’t worry about using the emulsion on the skirting boards. If they don’t want oil based then Dulux do water-based although it’s not their best product.

There’s better-water based brands out there and most of (not all) can tint to a Dulux colour. I use Teknos and Tikkurila but if you need this quick it might take a bit of time to set up a Tikki account or locate an independent supplier who might have either. I think Johnstone’s might be a good option as they say they can mix to any colour.

Can you paint skirting boards with carpets down without taping the carpet edge?

Tape the carpet, as I believe you get a better finish but each to their own. There’s no right way or wrong way, just your own way.

I’m planning to use a sprayer (and shield of course) to spray my skirting boards. What’s the most suitable paint for this job?

I’d definitely go with a water-based satinwood for this job. If you can afford to do so, I’d go with Johnstone’s Aqua undercoat followed by Johnstone’s Aqua Guard as the topcoat. The consistency is good enough to be sprayed although you may need to dilute it down slightly.

I’m painting over a skirting board that’s got black emulsion on it which has started to peel off. What’s the best method to remove it?

I’ve seen this problem time and time again when people use emulsion on skirting boards. My preferred technique would be to scrape off as much as you can and then sand it down. After this, use something like Zinsser BIN which will act as a great stain blocker and primer for your top coat.

What are the most popular primer, undercoat, satinwood and gloss that tradesmen use?

We recently completed a survey of 38 tradesmen asking this very question. After tallying up answers, here’s the most popular choices:

Primer: Zinsser BIN

Undercoat: Crown undercoat (oil based)

Satinwood: Benjamin Moore Scuff-X

Gloss: Bedec Aqua Advanced High Gloss

Would you recommend Crown’s quick dry satinwood for skirting boards?

I’ve used it a few times and it’s quite easy to work with. It gives a nice finish although I have heard of other decorators who aren’t keen on its durability.

What dustless sander is good for prepping skirting boards?

I’m actually in the process of deciding on a new one. The RTS 400 is great, but I’m sick of having to change over the power cable every time I swap with the Deros. I’m probably going to get the Deos. Either that or the Festool 150. I love the abranet abrasives, so I’m leaning towards the Deos if I’m honest.

I’ve never attempted spraying skirting boards – do you have any advice?

Whilst I prefer to use a brush on skirting boards, if I was using a paint sprayer I would suggest using a HVLP. It’s slower and easier to control than an airless sprayer and so allows you to be a bit more precise which is the most important thing when spraying skirting boards.

Is Toupret Redlite a good filler to use on skirting boards or will it make it harder to paint?

I’ve used it and I like it for small interior jobs – you know, minor imperfections in walls, pin holes in skirting etc. It dries quickly, it’s easy to sand if you need to and doesn’t flash. I wouldn’t think it’s suitable for larger repairs or exterior work but for skirting boards it’s perfect.