How To Paint Skirting Boards (And Not The Carpet)

Painting is stressful enough without running the risk of damaging expensive carpet. We’ll show how to paint skirting boards without painting the carpet.

Protect your carpet by placing 2” (60mm) masking paint hard up against the skirting board, pressing down as you go. Use small pieces around moldings and door frames. Use Stanley Carpet Shields when painting skirting boards. Apply one coat of primer and two coats of acrylic gloss topcoat. Generally, choose the same color as the walls. Darker colors are more contemporary whereas a lighter color will make the room appear larger. Skirting boards are the last things to be painted when painting a whole room because they’re at the bottom of the wall subject to drips and pooling from above.

What Tools Will I Need To Paint Skirting Boards?

100 grit sandpaper Knee pads Handheld paint pot
2” (60 mm) synthetic paintbrush   Pack of Stanley Carpet Shields Vacuum cleaner
1” paint stirrer Coveralls and old shoes Masking tape
newspapers Paint proof drop cloths Glasses or goggles
Breathing mask

How To Prepare Skirting Board For Painting

Step 1.

Move all the furniture into the middle of the room or out of the room altogether. Make sure that all four walls are clear because moving furniture generates dust which will settle on the fresh paintwork. Don’t move the furniture again until all the skirting board in the room has been painted and allowed to dry.

Step 2.

Sand the skirting with fine-grit sandpaper to remove scuffs and dings. Skirting, like floors, takes a lot of hard wear. Sanding also helps the paint to adhere to the boards.

Wash with warm soapy water (dishwashing liquid or sugar soap) to remove dust and flake. Vacuum the area thoroughly. Being at ground-level, dirt and dust on your new paintwork will be your main concern.

Step 3.

Mask the wall above the skirting board with 2” (60 mm) masking tape.

Mask with 2” (60 mm) painters masking tape. Place the tape hard up against the skirting then press it down with a blunt edge tool to make sure that paint doesn’t seep under the tape.

(Thank you The Building Sheriff)

Step 4.

Place newspaper under the room-ward side of the masking tape to protect against drips. 1/3 on the newspaper and 2/3 protecting the carpet.

Mask the whole length of the wall including the moldings around doorways.

Step 5.

Buy a pack of Stanley Carpet Shields. This British product is not easy to find locally but you can get it on Amazon. They are purpose made to protect carpet during painting and work very well.

(Thank you, Daniel Nugent)

Alternatively, you can use a paint trim guard.

Thank you

How To Paint Skirting Board

There are two things to avoid when painting skirting board:

  1. The paint pooling at the bottom and seeping onto the carpet.
  2. Dust and dirt from the floor (carpet) contaminating the paint.

Step 1.

Apply primer paint: Stir the paint thoroughly for about ten minutes with a 1” paint stirrer. Decant the paint into a paint pot that you can hold in your hand. Use a large piece of board to put the paint pot on and protect the drop cloths.

Step 2.

Use a 2” (5 cm) synthetic brush. Dip the brush so that you load about a third of the brush then tap the brush once on the side of the pot to prevent drips. Do not wipe the brush on the side of the pot or paint can because this will drive the paint towards the handle and cause mess and uneven paint application.

Alternatively, use a sash brush which has a sloped edge. A sash brush is great for fiddly work like cutting in and getting around molding and skirting board.

Step 3.

Start at the corner then work your way along the top of the skirting board in sections of about a meter. Complete the stroke along the length of the board. Now do the lower section of the skirting in the same way.

Step 4.

Allow the primer coat to dry in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 5.

Apply the first of two topcoats. Choose a semi-gloss or satin paint because it’s easier to keep clean. Dirt doesn’t adhere so readily to gloss paint and scuffs wash off more easily.

Step 6.

Apply a second coat of top paint.

Cleaning Up

Make sure the paint is thoroughly dry in accordance with the paint manufacturer’s instructions then remove the masking tape.

Related Questions

Can I avoid prevent paint drips and spray? No: that paint goes to ground is a universal law. All you can do is prepare properly for the inevitable paint drips.

Should I thin paint for skirting board? No. Thin paint drips more and we don’t want drips.

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