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I'll be painting the skirting boards in my room as they are in bad condition. The paint is cracked and the surface uneven and blotchy. What I would like to know is how should I treat the skirting boards before painting them. From some googling I've got a rough idea of what I should be doing:

  1. Strip the previous layers of paint using a paint stripper or heat gun, then apply a primer and then paint over this

  2. Sand down the skirting board, apply a primer and then paint over this

The first seems quite a laborious task and i'm wondering if the returns are worth it.

Which of the above methods is better? Are there any other methods that are better?

The second seems more manageable however I'm wondering what kind of sand paper I should use? I'm aware that there are different grades, which grade of sanding paper is appropriate for sanding down paint on skirting boards so as to get the surface ready for a primer? Also is it even necessary to apply a primer to a wooden surface that has already been painted?

The paint I will be applying to the surface is of an eggshell finish.

What else can I do to ensure I end up with a good result?

Thank you.

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If you want the boards to look brand spanking new again, you will want to go with method one. I'd use a heat gun to do it, and not the harsh chemical strippers. Either method takes about as long as the other and the heat gun method is less toxic, and, you either already have a heat gun and don't need to spend money, or you'll buy one and have it for a long time - they come in handy. You'll want a good organic vapor respirator for either method still, and a variety of scraping tools.

Method two sounds more appropriate if perfection is not important. Going this route, you'll want to start with various putty knives and scrapers and knock off any obviously loose and flaky paint, and then use 120 grit sand paper not to remove all the paint, but only to rough up the surface of any remaining paint that is sound and knock down any really high spots. This will leave you with patches of bare wood, and patches of sound, old paint. I don't recommend trying to sand off all of the old paint. If this is your goal, then go with method one. Also - buy expensive sand paper. Cheap sandpaper is a false economy as you'll burn through it so much faster than the good stuff.

Either way, you should use primer whenever painting bare wood, or a combination of bare wood and sound paint. You don't need primer when only painting over sound old paint.

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