Ever wondered how to paint skirting boards like a pro. The good news is that it’s a relatively simple process if you follow the method below.

In just 5 steps I will teach you how to achieve a beautiful finish on skirting boards. Bonus, the tips and tricks you will learn below apply when painting other areas of woodwork.

Not sure if your should paint skirting boards or walls first, I answer the question below.

1) Preparing The Area

Move any furniture that is in your way into the centre of the room. Use painters masking tape to tape off your floor (wood, laminate, vinyl, tiles, carpet) before painting.

Cutting in the bottom of the skirting is easy once the floor is taped.

Tip: I highly recommend Scotchblue Masking Tape, easy to apply, easy to remove, stops paint bleeding through onto the surface (floor) below.

2) Clean the skirting boards

Most skirting boards due to their location, next to the floor are dirty, covered in dust, hair and grime. To clean the boards use either a simple solution of washing detergent and warm water or a degreaser.

Tip: Zinsser Professional Degreaser Stain Remover is excellent at removing grease and grime. A light spray, wait 30 seconds and then wipe clean.

Sanding skirting boards before removing the grime, will only push the dirt into the grain of the wood.

3) How To Sand Skirting Boards

Do I need to sand skirting boards before painting, YES. There are two main reasons for sanding, 1) Skirting boards that are years old have most probably been neglected, rough, covered in grit that has been painted over. This needs to be removed prior to painting.

2) The second reason for sanding is to degloss the surface in preparation for the new paint. Gloss paint in particular cannot be painted over without deglossing, (removing the shine) before painting.

What about new, primed skirting boards, do they need sanded, YES. A light sand with a 120 Grade Sanding Block and you will be amazed at how smooth the skirting boards feels after. 

Sanding woodwork causes micro scratches in the substrate, these very fine scratches help your new paint stick to the surface.

Tip: I find that a 120 Grade Sanding Block is perfect for the job, as it moulds to the contours of the skirting. For excessively rough sections, use 120 Grade or 80 Grade Sandpaper to remove more material.

4) Best Filler For Skirting Boards

After sanding, ensure that you remove the dust from the skirting boards using a damp cloth. The next step is to caulk the edge of the skirting where it meets the wall and caulk any gaps at the mitre joints.

Recommended Reading: How To Fill Gaps With Caulk.

Any protruding nails heads should be driven below the surface using a hammer and Nail Punch. Then fill the hole with Toupret Wood Filler, wait until dry and then sand flush with the surface using 120 grade sandpaper.

Primer paint should be used on bare wood, or any surface that has flaky, patchy paint or fresh filler. Priming ensures better adhesion of paint to the surface.

Tip: Zinsser Bullseye Primer Sealer is an excellent water based primer. I always paint a coat of primer on skirting boards, even if they are already primed.

Primer enhances the finish, stabilizes the surface below and blocks stains. Most common painting problems arise from poor preparation and inadequate adhesion to the surface below.

5) How To Paint Skirting Boards

Once the primer is dry, sand with a 120 Grade Sanding Block, then remove the dust with a damp cloth. Apply an undercoat to your skirting boards and leave to dry. Your now ready to apply the finishing coats of paint.

Tip: Johnstones Trade Aqua Undercoat is an excellent water based undercoat.

What type of paint should I use for skirting boards, the choice is yours, (gloss, satin, eggshell). With the advancements in paint technology, an eggshell finish is now as durable as gloss.

My personal choice is an eggshell finish, modern, hard wearing and stylish.

Before applying your final top coat of paint, sand the skirting boards lightly one last time and wipe clean. When painting any type of woodwork, it is extremely important to use a professional paint brush. A good quality brush will not only hold more paint, but greatly reduces brush marks.

Always paint in one direction, long strokes horizontally across the skirting boards. Finish laying off the paint with light brush strokes.

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Paint Skirting Boards Or Walls First

There are mixed opinions on whether to paint skirting boards or walls first. I’m going to form my answer based on a novice painter who is tasked with painting skirting boards.

One of the most difficult parts of painting is cutting in. Trying to create a straight line around the edge of skirting boards is challenging, especially for a novice. It is much easier to remove the constraints and paint without having to worry about getting paint onto the walls.

I follow this method, and here is why, I can apply more paint to the top edge of the skirting board. This seals, bridges the gap and primes the caulk between the skirting boards and wall.

How do I create a straight line when painting the walls? I wait until the skirting boards are dry, (24 hours), then tape the edge of the boards. I use Scotchblue Painters Masking Tape 36mm, this allows the masking tape to hang over the skirting boards creating a paint shield.

You can now roll the walls with having to worry about paint getting onto the skirting boards below. Once finished, remove the tape and you have beautiful straight lines around the room.

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This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me (Andrew Firth). For questions about this blog, please contact andrew@clearcutpainting.co.uk

Some posts contain Amazon affiliate links. I may earn a small commission when those links are clicked on and a product is purchased. There is no additional costs to you.

One of my favourite products used on a daily basis, caulk. Maybe you have never used caulk to fill gaps or smooth out uneven surfaces. Trust me when I say, it’s amazing. Today I’ll explain how to fill gaps with caulk to achieve a professional finish.

What Is Caulk

Caulk is a flexible filler/ sealant used to fill gaps and seal joints. Generally used in building work, PVC installation and decorating. All caulks and sealants come in tubes that are used in conjunction with a Caulking Gun, which dispenses the caulk. Popular sizes of caulking tubes are 290ml and 310ml, both sizes are compatible with most caulking guns.

For the purposes of filling gaps with caulk, I am going to refer mostly to using decorators caulk. The principles and techniques I explain will transfer over when using other silicone or sealant based products.

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How To Fill Gaps With Caulk

1) Before you start to use your caulk, cut the tip (nozzle) at a slight angle. When dispensing the caulk you will naturally hold the gun at an angle. By holding the gun at a similar angle to the nozzle assists with flow and even distribution of caulk across the surface.

How To Fill Gaps With Caulk

2) Ensure that the surface your filling is free from dust and dirt. Remove any loose paint or debre with sandpaper prior to caulking the gap.

3) Load the caulking tube into your caulking gun by pulling back the plunger arm. Press the trigger until the caulk starts to come out of the nozzle. Press the trigger release lever to stop the caulk flowing, your gun is now primed ready for use.

4) Place the tip of the nozzle against the surface next to the gap you wish to fill. Press the trigger, as the caulk dispenses move the caulking gun in a smooth, flowing action across the surface. The goal is to distribute an even bead of caulk across the gap.

5) The final step is to smooth the caulk, dampen the tip of your finger and run it across the bead of caulk. This helps to push the caulk into the gap and distribute the caulk evenly across the gap.

Tip: Use a damp cloth to wipe off any surplus caulk left on the surface.

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How To Fill Big Gaps With Caulk

In most cases fine cracks and gaps can be filled in one go with caulk, but what about big gaps.

The process of filling large gaps with caulk is pretty much the same with two exceptions. When filling a large gap, don’t point the nozzle directly into the gap, instead build up several layers.

Place the first bead of caulk onto one surface (edge of skirting board), then place another layer on top of the first bead until the gap is covered.

Use your finger to smooth and leave until dry. Most caulks will shrink when dry, meaning that you will need to fill the gap again to successfully hide the gap.

Another method of filling large gaps is to use Expanding Spray Foam. Once the spray foam is dry, trim off the excess leaving the spray foam slight shy from the surface. Caulk the remaining gap as normal, the expanding foam will stop the caulk from falling into the gap.

Caulk’s gap filling properties have their limitations. Gaps above 10mm will be difficult to fill with caulk alone.

I use caulk on daily basis to fill the gaps between the skirting boards and wall, around door frames, edges of ceilings and any joinery that is to be painted.

Flexible Gap Filler

Most caulks today are flexible which is favourable when filling gaps. Wooden substrates expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity. Flexible gap fillers move and flex with the substrate, thus avoiding cracking.

Flexible caulk is cheap, waterproof and can be painted once dry.

Tip: Prime newly caulked areas to avoid cracking, especially when painting with emulsion paint. I use Zinsser Bullseye 123 Primer as my go to primer.

If your painting with a latex or oil based paint, you don’t need to prime the caulk first.

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Caulking Tips

1) Keep a damp cloth or paper towel handy for keeping the nozzle clean

2) Hold the caulking gun at the same angle when moving the gun

3) Cut a small angle on the nozzle for fine cracks and small gaps. Trim a larger angle at the nozzle for bigger gaps.

4) Large gaps will need to be caulked again once the first fill is dry

5) Purchase a caulking gun with a non drip feature, (Newborn 930 GTD). This will keep the nozzle clean and free from excess caulk when the trigger is released.

6) Use decorators caulk to smooth out uneven surfaces, for example where the ceiling meets the wall.

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This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me (Andrew Firth). For questions about this blog, please contact andrew@clearcutpainting.co.uk

Some posts contain Amazon affiliate links. I may earn a small commission when those links are clicked on and a product is purchased. There is no additional costs to you.

If your considering painting new plaster walls, STOP, take 5 mins and read my article on how to paint newly plastered walls. One of the biggest mistakes DIY enthusiasts make is not sealing new plaster before applying the top coats of paint. This is disastrous and difficult to rectify once the mistake has been made.

Can you paint directly on new plaster, the answer NO

Save yourself valuable time and avoid costly mistakes. Below I explain why you need to seal new plaster, how to mist coat and what products to use.

How Soon Can I Paint New Plaster?

All newly plastered walls require a base coat called a (mist coat), this serves as a primer coat of paint sealing the plaster. Before we can start to prime our walls, we first must ensure that the plaster is dry. If moisture is present the primer coat will not adhere to the new plaster.

Fresh plaster is dark grey / brown in colour, as it dries it turns a light creamy pink. Your new plaster is dry once the entire area is the same colour, (light creamy pink). If there are still dark grey patches evident, wait until they dry before mist coating.

The drying times of new plaster vary depending on temperature and humidity. As a guide new plaster walls can take an average of 2 – 6 days to dry. If in doubt, wait another day or two, I cannot stress this enough. New plaster must be dry before starting to paint.

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Painting New Plaster Walls

The method of painting fresh plaster is relatively simply, just follow the steps below to avoid any issues in the future. Below I explain how to dilute contract emulsion and what painting tools will help get the job done faster.

1) Ensure the plaster is dry before mist coating the walls or ceiling.

2) Use a basic Contract Emulsion Paint, you don’t need special paint for priming new plaster. Do not use vinyl matt emulsion.

Contract matt emulsion is readily available and cheap, once watered down to the correct ratio is perfect for painting new plaster walls.

To successfully mist coat new plaster, contract emulsion must be watered down. The reason you water down the paint is allow the new plaster to absorb the paint sealing the plaster for your top coats of paint.

3) Dilute the Contract Emulsion following the mist coat new plaster ratios below.

4) Apply a mist coat to your new plaster and allow to dry for 24 hours.

Mist Coat Ratios

70% emulsion 30% water
60% emulsion 40% water
50% emulsion 50% water

Why are there several dilution ratios? All three ratios above will work for mist coating new plaster. If for example your painting a room with no furniture, no flooring, a ratio of 50% emulsion and 50% water would suit the environment.

Painting with diluted paint can be messy, so if you can base coat the new plaster without having to add too much water will reduce paint splatter.

I personally use the middle ratio 60% emulsion and 40% water with great success. The brand of paint can also reflect the mist coat ratio as some paints are thicker than others. As a guide, contract emulsion once diluted should run easily of both your roller sleeve and brush.

For smaller plaster repairs or areas where there is significant amount of furniture present. A mist coat ratio of 70% emulsion and 30% water would be adequate.

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How To Dilute Paint With Water

You will need 1) Contract emulsion paint, 2) Large clean bucket, 3) Mixing paddle 4) Electric drill. Pour the contract emulsion into the bucket leaving enough room for the water, then add the correct percentage of water.

Attach the mixing paddle to your electric drill and gradually mix the paint and water together. Start slowly or the paint will splash, mix thoroughly for a min of 2 – 3 mins or until the paint is the same consistency.

If you don’t have a mixing paddle or electric drill, you can use a Paint Mixing Stick or something similar. The end result will be the same, it will just take longer to mix the paint and water together.

Tools For Painting Bare Plaster

Below is a list of painting tools that will make the job of painting new plaster walls a breeze.

One of the most important items from the list above is dust sheets. As I mentioned earlier emulsion paint once diluted is messy, you will need to cover everything you do not wish to get paint on. I use a combination of Heavy Duty Twill Dust Sheets for flooring and furniture. I also use Prodec Super Cling Dust Sheet for worktops, cupboards, units, large appliances.

When painting, I recommend wearing a pair of Safety Glasses to avoid paint splatter from getting into your eyes.

How Many Mist Coats On New Plaster

The number of mist coats depends on the condition of the new plaster. Even though your new walls have been freshly plastered, they may still need a light sand and a fill in places. If this is the case then a second mist coat would be beneficial.

Another factor is the colour of the plaster, if you can still see the original colour (light creamy pink) showing through. Then another mist coat would be advisable.

In most cases I apply the first mist coat to seal the plaster. I then give the plaster a light sand with 120 Grade Sandpaper, fill any areas that need attention and then a final mist coat.

Before attempting to sand or fill newly mist coated plaster, WAIT for 24 hours, giving the paint a chance to cure and harden.

When applying your top coats of paint, wait a further 24 hours to allow your second mist coat to cure. By following the method above will ensure that you do not have any recurring problems with paint peeling in future years.

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This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me (Andrew Firth). For questions about this blog, please contact andrew@clearcutpainting.co.uk

Some posts contain Amazon affiliate links. I may earn a small commission when those links are clicked on and a product is purchased. There is no additional costs to you.

Are you searching for a masonry filler that is 1) Effortless to mix 2) Easy to shape 3) Doesn’t shrink or flash 4) Easy to sand, well your search is over. The best exterior filler for masonry is, Toupret Touprelith F Exterior Masonry Repair Filler.

Available in 1.5kg box, 5kg bag, 15kg bag

Below I discuss why I recommend toupret and how to use it for best results.

Toupret Touprelith Exterior Filler

When looking for a good exterior filler, there are a few properties that make toupret exterior filler stand out from others.

1) Mixability, toupret exterior filler mixes effortlessly, no lumps or specialist equipment required.
2) Shrinkage, Toupret Masonry Filler does not shrink or slump even when filling large, deep holes.
3) Flashing, the term used when the newly painted area appears as a patch or discolouration. Toupret touprelith doesn’t flash and doesn’t require priming before painting.

NOTE: It is not unusual that newly painted patches of filler will take longer to dry. Once dry there should be an even distribution of colour over the area.

4) Sandable, most exterior fillers can be notoriously difficult to sand. The good news is that Toupret Filler is a pleasure to sand, although the filler once dry is hard, you can still sand and shape the filler as required.

Related: Which Decorators Filler Is Best

Mixing Instructions For Toupret Exterior Filler

Below are tips to ensure that your toupret exterior filler is mixed to the correct consistency before application. Take a Mini Paint Scuttle, and add just enough water to cover the bottom of your scuttle. Next add a little powdered exterior filler and using a 3 Inch Flex Jointing Knife mix the filler with the water.

Mixing the filler is fast and easy, use a circular or figure eight motion for 30 – 45 secs and you should have a smooth consistency.

Keep the mixture dry at first, add water gradually, a little water goes along way. It’s very easy to add too much water which ends up with the filler being to runny to work with. By adding the powdered filler in small increments ensures that you don’t waste filler.

The ideal consistency is a medium firmness, if you turn your flex knife upside down, the filler should stick. Once mixed Toupret Touprelith Exterior Filler has a working time of 30 mins. Depending on the temperature and humidity in the air will influence how fast your mixture drys out.

Related: How To Repair Cracks In Ceilings

What Can Masonry Crack Filler Be Used For

As a painter and decorator I use Toupret products on a daily basis. Their powdered exterior filler can be used on a variety of substrates to include: (brick, concrete, cement, breeze block, stone). Please note that you cannot use toupret touprelith exterior filler on sandstone due to the moisture content within the stone. 

If you do need to repair porous substrates like sandstone, then opt for Toupret Murex.

In the past I have used Toupret Touprelith to repair concrete floors, window sills, rendered walls and cracks in masonry. You might be interested in a previous video where I demonstrate how to mix toupret filler and skim brickwork. 

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How To Use Toupret Exterior Filler

1) Ensure that you have the correct consistency before starting. If the filler is to wet, it will slide off your filling knife, to dry and it can be hard to shape.

2) When applying the filler, I find it helps to work of a larger 6 Inch Flex Filling Knife  or a Plastering Trowel. Then use another 3 inch or 6 inch flex knife to apply the mixed filler to the substrate.

3) If your planning on painting the area being repaired, ensure that the filler is completely dry. When wet toupret is dark grey in colour. As the filler dries it turns light grey, large cracks and holes that have been filled will take longer to dry.

4) When repairing uneven masonry surfaces the use of a wet brush helps to push the filler into the contours of the surface.

5) Sanding the filler once dry, use 80 Grade Sandpaper to remove the excess and then drop down to 120 Grade Sandpaper to finish.

6) If your applying toupret exterior filler in direct sunlight, wet the surface area on which the repair is being made. This stops the substrate sucking the moisture out of the filler to quickly.

7) After 30 mins depending on the drying conditions, your mixture may become to dry. To remedy this, add a little water and remix, then recommence the repair.

8) Wash all tools with water after you have finished.

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This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me (Andrew Firth). For questions about this blog, please contact andrew@clearcutpainting.co.uk.

Some posts contain Amazon affiliate links. I may earn a small commission when those links are clicked on and a product is purchased. There is no additional costs to you.