I've recently renovated my kitchen, which amongst a great many other things involved putting in new skirting boards, which needed painting.

So, to protect our new timber floor we decided to slide A4 paper into the very small gap between the skirting and floor and then paint. This seemed to work well, except that now the paint has dried it appears that if I pull the a4 paper out, it may take the paint off the skirtings with it (it's white silk, dulux trade vinyl paint).

Do any of you have any tips to remove this with minimal damage to the new paint? I've thought I could just very carefully go around the edge with a scalpel?

Thanks in anticipation.

3 Answers 3


Your inclination is correct. A straight pull outward could chip the new paint. Your second inclination is also correct. You should carefully cut through the paint at the paper with a sharp utility knife (sometimes called a razor knife). Hold it horizontally, with a very slight downward angle at the join of the molding and paper.

If you have difficulty keeping the blade from rising up the molding, you could use a metal straightedge to protect it.

You may be able to cut it and remove the paper under the molding rather than through it, but if any is left behind, it should not show and will cause no issue.

  • 2
    Sharp 2"-4" "pizza cutter" blade works better than a razor knife. Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 14:46
  • Good suggestion and note that if you do this you don't need much pressure. If your blade is sharp the weight of the knife itself is probably enough to cut through the paint. If you press too hard you could risk marking the floor.
    – Brad
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 19:50

I would use something like one of these utility knives to slit the edge of the paint to allow the paper to pull out. Using a scalpel would not be recommended because there is much less control of the cutting device.

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  • +1 Yours popped up as I was typing. Good pix.
    – bib
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 11:34
  • I think you can get plenty of control with a scalpel. It really just depends on what you are used to - for a fine, light job like trimming paint tape either would do fine. I wouldn't try to take up carpeting with a scalpel, or cut drywall, but at the same time you don't see surgeons opening people up with Stanley knives either, so I think the matter of insufficient control or precision with a scalpel is not really the issue.
    – J...
    Commented Jun 4, 2018 at 11:31

I would use the type of knife specified in the other answer(s) but I'd advise doing a "test cut" in a less conspicuous area first.

My inclination is to hold the knife as vertical as possible and cut the paint and paper at the same time and thus cutting off the exposed paper while leaving the paper that is hidden underneath in place. There's much less chance of damaging the painted surface this way, if I'm understanding the situation correctly.

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