Skip and Scaffolding Painting Guide

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painting metal scaffold orange

Most of us won’t look twice at a skip, or grumble when we have to step around some scaffolding, but for others it’s their pride and joy. All building equipment needs a fresh coat of paint from time to time, and for scaffolding and skips it’s about more than just looking good.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
Painting skips keeps them from getting rusty and scuffed!
Oil-based container paint is the way to go!
Bold colours can help with branding!

Do Skips need Painting?

If you’ve ever had a big clear-out, or had some work done on your home, you’ll know that skips are a lifesaver. No more hours driving back and forth with limited boot space, you put everything ‘to-go’ in the skip and it gets taken away when you’re finished.

These unsung heroes go through a lot; they’re exposed to the elements and are constantly being scratched and scuffed, especially if they’re used for construction work. This leads to rust and scraped-off paint, leading them to look rough around the edges after a short time. 

Painting your skip helps repel rust if you use a trusted brand. This adds longevity to the skip, meaning you can use them for as long as they’re needed.

The colour of paint you use can help with branding too. A few words on the side can be easily obscured, or fade with time, whereas making your skips a distinctive colour will make your brand stand out.

scaffold image
Painting your skips a bold colour makes them stand out from the crowd!

The Best Paint for Skips

A new coat of high-quality paint will not only improve the look of skips but can also protect them from corrosion and damage.

When you have a metal surface that is exposed to rain and wind 24/7, oil-based container paint is the way to go. Acrylic and water-based won’t last as long. Plus, if you pair your paint with an anti-corrosion primer, the colours will still be bold after years of use. These primers contain zinc phosphate, which keeps away rust and other harmful chemicals that damage metal surfaces.

How to Paint a Skip

Before applying paint, you need to clean the skip as thoroughly as possible. This will remove any stains and help get rid of old flaking paint too. A jetwash is best for this.


If there’s any old paint left, use a wire brush to scrape it off. You need the surface to be as even as possible or you’ll get patches of poor finish, ruining the overall look.

REMEMBER – Test your paint and primer in an inconspicuous area first!

Apply an even layer of primer to the surface and leave it to dry for 12-24 hours away from direct wind.

Finally, it’s time to paint. A single coat of oil-based should be plenty, but an extra layer will help it last even longer. Use a wide brush, roller, or sprayer, overlapping your strokes for even coverage.

How does it look? Your skip will not only be looking great after a coat of our oil-based container paint but will be free from rust and scratches for a long time.

But it’s not just skips that need this kind of treatment.

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Does Scaffolding need Painting?  

Not all scaffolding needs to be painted, but it is very beneficial for both the provider and users to give it a fresh coat from time to time.

Just like with skips, scaffolding can easily rust and corrode. This not only makes them look worse, but can be dangerous for anyone using them, and people nearby. That’s why it’s especially important to protect scaffolding with rust-repellent paint enforced with primer.

Colour-coded scaffolding also helps with safe assembly and use. It distinguishes areas that are safe to stand/walk on, with the unpainted steel clearly visible even in poor weather and can ID each part so it can be assembled efficiently.

KEY INFO
Quality paint protects the surface from rust and wear!
Rusty scaffolding is dangerous!
Oil-based paint can be used to protect, ID, and help with branding!

Finally, clear colours can also help with branding for scaffolding companies. For large jobs your scaffolding will be seen by thousands of people, so it’s the perfect way to help grow your business for minimal investment.

A complicated set of scaffolding, with different pieces painted pink, orange and blue
Colour-coding scaffolding makes it easier to assemble and keeps the users safe

The Best Paint for Scaffolding

As scaffolding is mostly steel, an oil-based paint is crucial to protect the surface. It is available in bold colours, perfect for ID-ing. It’s also part of our Colour System, meaning you can mix any colour of paint for your scaffolding.

Hardwearing paint will protect the surface from rust, and our oil-based pallet and scaffold paint is perfect for all scenarios. It’s also high sheen, enhancing the colour without being too reflective.

As with skips, primer increases how long your paint will last. It also helps the paint stick to the slick surface, bonding the two layers together.

oil based 1
Bold colours will always look better than bare metal, and it preserves the surface too!

How to Paint Scaffolding

If you’re only using your paint to ID your scaffolding, a brush or roller is all you need. But if you paint boards or larger surfaces, a sprayer will help you cover the surface faster.

Scaffolding that has patches of rust will have to be treated with extra care. Having the rust removed and the areas repaired professionally is the safest option.

Before you apply primer or paint, be sure to clean the surface as thoroughly as possible, even if you’re only painting a small area. If it has been painted before, you can remove the previous layer using a jetwash, wire brush, or degreaser for stubborn patches.


Apply an even layer of primer, using a brush for any hard-to-reach areas.

REMEMBER – You only need to paint areas that will be exposed to wind and rain!

Some people roll their scaffolds in paint, but this can lead to thin or uneven layers, doing it the old-fashioned way is less wasteful too.

The same principles apply when painting. One layer should be enough for steel scaffolding.

Once the final layer has dried, your scaffolding will be ready to get back to work. Take a step back and admire your handiwork.  

The UK’s Most Trusted Paint Supplier

Paintmaster provide top-quality trade paint that is proven to protect, preserve, and look fantastic. Whether you need to paint skips or scaffolding, our oil-based paint will get the job done well.

Follow our guides to get the most out of your paint and primer. We also have any accessories you may need too.

If you have any questions about any of our products or want to learn more about interior and exterior painting, either get in touch or check out our blog for more information.

We look forward to hearing from you.