Painting the skirting boards in a house can really lift and transform a room, but what paint should you be using? What is the best paint to use on skirting board?

To Colour or not to Colour?

This is the first question that will help us decide what paint to use on skirting boards. Are you going with the traditional white? Or are you going to be more daring and break with radiation and go for something a little more colourful?

Coloured Skirting

One colour that is quickly growing in popularity when it comes to skirting, bannisters, architrave and even doors is dark grey or even black.

I have seen a few houses done like this now and actually, I really like it. It is quite a modern look so won’t work in every home but done right it can look really nice.

The paint I would recommend using if you are going to paint your skirting with a little colour is Frenchic. This paint goes on anything and is available in a wide range of colours.

My Pick For Coloured Skirting
Frenchic Al Fresco Blackjack
£26.95 (£35.93 / kg)
Pros:
  • Really Tough
  • Washable
  • Huge Range of Colours
Cons:
  • Expensive
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01/20/2022 01:59 am GMT

There is a huge group of Frenchic users on Facebook which you can find here. This group is really useful and is full of users who have painted skirting with Frenchic so you are sure to find some inspiration within.

White Skirting

So with the coloured skirting out of the way let’s have a look at the best paints for a white skirting board. Most people will be using white paint and there is so much choice here it can quickly get overwhelming.

Oil or Water Based

The first decision you need to make when it comes to choosing white paint for your skirting boards is whether to go oil or water-based. it used to be that all skirting would be done with oil-based paints. but as water-based paints have gotten better and better they have become the norm.

The Differences

There are a few key differences between water-based and oil-based paints. i will list them below so you can decide which to use. I personally would choose a water-based paint but that decision is yours.

Pros of water-based paints

  • Easier to clean brushes and equipment when done
  • Easier to clean up any spills or accidents
  • Fumes arent as bad for you
  • Dries really quickly

Cons of water-based paints

  • Thinner so harder to get a smooth finish
  • Not as durable as oil-based paints

Pros of oil-based paints

  • Thicker, making it easier to achieve a smooth finish
  • More druable than water based paints

Cons of oil-based paints

  • Worse for the environment
  • Much harder to clean up
  • Take forever to dry
  • Yellow over time

So there are the major pros and cons of both water-based and oil-based paints. I like water-based because they are just a lot longer. They are so much easier to clean up after and because they dry so quick you can get multiple coats done in a single day.

So after you have decided whether to use water or oil-based paint you now need to decide the sheen level you want. All this means is how shiny you want the paint to be.

Sheen Level

When it comes to white paints for skirting boards there are three main sheen levels to choose from, there are more sub-levels under this but I will get into that soon.

The three main choices you will face are gloss (the shiniest), Satin (mid-sheen) and Eggshell (lowest sheen). The choice is once again up to you. Most people now opt for a Satin or eggshell now over gloss.

It used to be that gloss was the go-to finish for all skirting but the duller paints have definitely overtaken it in recent years. One reason for this is that it is much easier to achieve a good finish with the lower sheen paints.

In order for the gloss to not show any imperfections, it has to be perfect. This requires an expert painter and also a lot of time. The lower sheen paints, because they are not as reflective, tend to hide more of the surface imperfections.

I will just quickly touch on the sub-levels of sheen choice I mentioned earlier before I move on to my recommended paints. There are more even more choices beyond the top three listed above. High gloss for example is even shinier than gloss. Then you have satinwood, which I think was popularised by Dulux but is just really a satin finish, maybe a little closer to eggshell than more traditional satin finishes.

The Best Water-Based Paint For Skirting

So here we have it, drumroll please… my choice for water-based paint for skirting is Dulux Satinwood.

Dulux Quick Dry Satinwood Paint Pure Brilliant White
£21.97 (£8.79 / l)
Pros:
  • Quick Drying
  • No Undercoat Required
  • Non Yellowing
Cons:
  • More Expensive Than Others
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01/20/2022 12:06 am GMT

I’m not normally a massive fan of Dulux paints as I find them unreasonably expensive, this one is different though.

I have used this paint a lot in my house and always had great results with it. it goes on really easy and seems to provide a really tough finish that stands the test of time. I would highly recommend it.

The Best Oil-Based Paint For Skirting

In my mind, there is only one reason to use oil-based paint for skirting and wood trim. and that’s when you want a mirror-like finish. The water-based p[ain’t simply can’t offer this and you will need to go oil-based.

So if we are looking at oil then we are looking at high gloss paints. And if you are going to invest the time and effort into getting a perfect finish then you better spend a little extra on the paint.

Best Gloss!
JOHNSTONES TRADE PROFESSIONAL GLOSS
£21.00 (£8.40 / l)
Pros:
  • Can Get A Mirror Finish
  • Nice & Thick
  • Very Durable
Cons:
  • More Labour Intensive Than Water Based Paints
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01/20/2022 12:07 am GMT

This stuff from Johnstone’s is really good. it’s nice and thick and is what my old man would call a proper gloss. You can brush it on and watch it smooth itself out as it settles.

Author

Wood by name, wood by nature. I am a fully qualified, time-served, award-winning joiner with an NVQ Level 3 in Carpentry and Joinery as well as an HNC in Construction. Beyond my joinery qualifications, I have also earned a degree in building surveying. I believe these qualifications make me perfectly positioned to provide expert advice on many different areas of DIY as well as share all of the tips I have picked up in over a decade working on building sites!

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