Should You Paint Your Skirting Boards?

It’s a surprisingly fraught question. How many of us have decided to redecorate or renovate our homes and suddenly thought how much better the skirting boards would look, stripped back to the bare wood?

This may well be true, especially if the house is a few decades old and those boards have a few layers of yellowing gloss clogging them up. If you’ve spent several days with a sander and paint stripper, losing the will to live, then you may well ask yourself why on earth anyone would ever paint over a skirting board – ever. However…

Painting isn’t always a bad idea

It has to be said that painting over wood can be problematic, especially if you don’t prepare the surface properly – including using a knotting solution to stop sap leaking out over the years. If it’s done right, though, with just a coat of primer and one or two layers of topcoat, you can avoid that classic (as it were) thick gloss look. You can also choose a colour to go with your overarching scheme, or even contrast with it if you want to be bold.

There are even more options

However, not all skirting boards are the same nowadays, because we have MDF. MDF, or medium density fibreboard, was something of a revolution when it came out. It can be moulded into as many shapes as wood, but it provided a cheaper, lighter-weight alternative.

What’s more, it’s much less prone to warping and cracking than wood, so for a long-term application like skirting, MDF is a great alternative. If you’re looking at skirting boards from, for example, then you’ll notice how many different sizes and profiles are on offer.

Yes, but should you paint it?

If you want to, then you can paint an MDF skirting board with much more impunity than a wooden one. The fact is, as MDF is cheaper than wood, that if you’ve painted it and you grow tired of the colour, all you have to do is swap it out. You can’t sand MDF or use stripper, so once the paint is on, you’ll have to take the board off if you fancy a change. This isn’t a huge ordeal, though, as many modern skirting boards are actually clip-on, so for a few tens of pounds you could refresh your décor (or at least, the décor near the floor…).

Is it hard to paint?

It’s not difficult at all. Some boards will be pre-primed, ready for your brushstrokes; so all you’ll have to do is choose the right colour and lay on a couple of coats. You could even do the painting before the boards are put in place, so there’s no need for masking tape and dustsheets – result!

Some are already finished, but you don’t have to settle for boring white if you don’t want to. However, you will need to use a primer before you get going, as well as two layers of topcoat to achieve professional-looking coverage.



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