Best paint for skirting boards

From a gloss to a matte finish - here is what you need to give your skirting boards some TLC.

Best paint for skirting boards

by Ellen Kinsey |

If your skirting boards could do with a fresh lick of paint, then a touch-up can completely transform any room. The best skirting board paints need to be long-lasting and durable to prevent general wear and tear over the years. Although they may not be a focal point of your home, they are an integral part of your house's interior structure and deserve some TLC.

To help you decide on the best paint, we have picked out the best oil and water-based paints with a satin, gloss, matte and stained finish suitable for all skirting boards. Before we look at the list, it is good to know what kind of finish you’re after and whether you want oil or water-based paint. Check out our guide below for more of an idea.

What is the difference between oil and water-based paint?

Oil-based paint is often seen as being the more durable of the two options. However, it takes longer to dry and has a stronger smell, which can linger for some time after. Although, a bonus is that it keeps its shine well. After you have finished painting, your brushes will need to be cleaned with a spirit-based product, so that’s something else to take into account.

On the other hand, water-based gloss paint used to have a reputation for not yellowing as much as oil-based, but that is less of a problem nowadays. Water-based paint dries quite quickly and typically smell less poignant. When you are finished, brushes can be cleaned with warm, soapy water.

What sorts of paint finishes are there?

Gloss is the more traditional finish and is often associated with oil-based paints, but you can get water-based gloss paint as well.

Satin or satinwood paint is a subtle, non-shiny and very popular option. A satin finish looks like something between a gloss and matte look. Sometimes this paint is called semi-gloss or satinwood. It comes in both oil-based and water-based formulas.

Eggshell or matte finishes are becoming increasingly popular, and you don’t have to just use white. There are many different colours available - so you can match them with your walls.

Lastly, the wood stain paint will keep your skirting boards looking like natural wood.

Best paint for skirting boards UK

Satin or satinwood paint

This quick-drying oil-based paint is durable and provides long-lasting protection from damage. It also works as a primer, is easy to apply, and produces a smooth finish. Oil-based paint usually takes a long time to dry, but this one is exceptional and dries in two hours. This paint is often used on boats to prevent rust, so you know that it will be very durable. It is the only oil-based paint on this list -if you would rather have water-based paint, look below.

Key specs:

Size: 250ml or 750ml

Quick drying: Yes

Multiple colours available: No

Review: "Brilliant! Really good coverage. I only used one coat, and the colour is so nice. Very fast drying time also. Highly recommend."

This satinwood paint offers a durable, long-lasting finish with just one coat. It’s non-yellowing, wipeable and does not have a lingering strong scent. We love that this paint has good coverage and a satin finish; however, one thing to note is that it can take up to 16 hours to dry.

Key specs:

Size: 750ml and 2.5l

Quick drying: No

Colours available: 33

Review: "I have tried three or four water-based gloss paints and this is the best. Some never seem to fully dry and permanently feel somewhat tacky in damp conditions. This paint is excellent in that regard."

Johnstone’s Quick Dry Satin provides a mid-sheen finish for skirting boards but can also be used on doors, radiators and staircases. The water-based, low odour formulation is self-undercoating, non-yellowing, quick drying taking one to two hours. It also has a 12m² coverage per litre.

Key specs:

Size: 750ml, 1.25 or 2.5l

Quick drying: Yes

Available in ten colours

Review: "Lovely paint to use, spreads easy, gives good coverage, my home looks spick and span, very pleased. "

This paint is almost entirely solvent-free (99 per cent) and is ideal for enclosed spaces and those with a sensitivity to strong scents and paint. It comes in 24 colours, is easy to apply and dries in one hour, but should leave six hours before applying a second coat.

Key specs:

Size: 750ml and 2.5l

Quick drying: No (two coats)

Colours available: 24

Review: "I’m glad I discovered crown breath-easy paints. The quality of the paint is excellent and it was comfortable to work with. As an asthma sufferer I always struggled with diy paints previously."

Gloss paint

This quick-drying, low-odour paint with a gloss finish dries in two hours and can be re-coated in around four to six hours. It has a high sheen, is non-yellowing, and provides good resistance to knocks. It’s also wipeable - making it particularly useful if you have young children or pets.

Key specs:

Size: 750ml and 2.5l

Quick drying: Yes

Colours available: 33

Review: "Best paint ever. I will use nothing else. This paint goes on thin and easy in no time at all - no drips no runs. Superfast drying time ensures a second coat can be applied very soon. I usually leave it a day or two, but I managed two coats within hours. Beautiful finish on doors and skirtings."

If you are on the hunt for no-nonsense gloss paint, then this non-drip and easy-to-clean paint from Ronseal is an excellent choice. The brand states that it is guaranteed to stay white for up to ten years and has an almost matte finish. Plus, at £21 per 2.5 litres, it is an affordable option. It also does not have a strong odour and is quick-drying.

Key specs:

Size: 2.5l

Quick drying: Yes

Multiple colours available: No

Review: "It's a water-based paint, so it doesn't cover like oil-based gloss paint, but it does not yellow at all. It will require two coats and isn't as glossy as an oil-based gloss, but I wouldn't use anything else. I tried many different water based paints for skirting and doors, and this is definitely the best."

Are you looking for a high sheen finish? The Crown Stays White Gloss will be a good match. It is quick-drying - it will be dry to the touch in one hour. Plus, it is non-yellowing and has long-lasting whiteness.

Key specs:

Size: 750 ml

Quick drying: Yes

Multiple colours available: No

Review: " I found it really easy to use; I like that it is quick-drying. I had no problems with it at all. I think the finish is good. I did two coats on top of a primer."

Wood stain

An alternative to painting the skirting boards with standard paint is to treat them with a natural stained finish. The Everbuild Wood Stain is touch dry in 30 minutes, providing long-lasting results for up to five years. There are different colours available too: from wood natural oak to antique pine. The second coat can be applied after four hours and provides up to 20m² coverage per litre.

Key specs:

Size: 250ml, 750ml or 2.5-litres

Quick drying: Yes

Colours available: Yes wood natural oak, antique pine, mahogany, walnut, rosewood, dark oak, teak and clear finish.

Review: "The best I have used so far, it does not have a horrible smell like one other that I first used which I had to bin because of the unbearable toxic fumes that lingered forever, but this product is quite nice smelling, it stains the wood very well but it would have been that much better if it had been made that much thicker therefore not needing you to apply two or three coats and the more coats you apply the darker the colour gets."

Matte Paint

If you are looking for a designer, high-end and eco-friendly skirting paint, then Farrow & Ball paints will transform your home in a few strokes. With over 150 shades, there is a colour to fit every décor. It does not have a completely matte finish as there’s a slight 40 per cent sheen. It is quick-drying and only takes two hours, with recoating possible in around four hours. It’s also washable and wipeable with little odour.

Key specs:

Size: 750ml to 5l

Quick drying: Yes

Colours available: 171

Review: "The F&B website makes it easy to order samples so you get a chance to see the colour working at home."

Paint for skirting boards
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FAQs

How do you prepare your skirting boards before painting?

Before starting the painting process, you mustn’t skimp out on time spent rubbing down and filling in small holes in the skirting boards. If you’re painting above any carpets that cannot be picked up, ensure you protect them with masking tape to prevent stains. And, of course, open windows to protect yourself from paint fumes. It is good to note that you need two coats of paint if you’re repainting existing skirting boards.

How to achieve the perfect finish with skirting board paint?

As far as these kinds of jobs go - the better the prep, the better the finish. Skirting boards do a lot of hard work that goes unacknowledged. To keep them scratch-free, you need the right combination of preparation and paint, especially with natural wood skirting boards. If you have MDF skirting boards, these generally come with a primer or an undercoat and is ready to paint.

Nowadays, many paints suitable for skirting boards are self-priming, so you only need a couple of coats of paint, and the job is done. However, if you're painting natural wood, you might need a knot blocker to stop any sap from coming through.

If you're painting over a dark colour with a lighter colour, it requires an undercoat to mask the darker colour, but make sure you don't need too many topcoats.

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