7 Steps to Do the Best Way to Paint Baseboards

No matter if you're painting as it is time to freshen things up at home or cover a previous baseboard chipped off paint debris, you need to know the best way to paint baseboards which require you to bring out the right tools and do lots of prep work. This can be especially true when you’re painting a large room.

It's appealing to grab a brush and dive into the painting job, but knowing what preparation is needed is essential to make old molding look fresh, new, as well as appealing to those who live in your home. To know the best way to paint baseboards – and we meant a detailed one – read on.


What you will need:

  • 1 and ½ inch or 2inch angled paintbrush
  • Latex paint
  • Paint tray
  • Scrape
  • Rag
  • Drop cloth or plastic sheets
  • Alcohol
  • Sandpaper
  • Painter’s tape
  • Spackle and putty knife
  • Broom and dustpan for cleanup

7 Steps To Do The Best Way To Paint Baseboards

1. Clean and scrape your baseboard first.


Since your baseboard is all caught up in webs and dust, you have to dust it off and clean it with a mildly wet rag. You don’t just splatter paint directly to it. That would be a very messy paint job. Use a sharp scraper to get rid of any peeling or flaking paint from the molding.

Wash the frame with a gentle household cleaner as well as a clean rag. Your paint will not comply with dirt, grease or oil that can be on your molding. Cleaning it is just a step from doing the best way to paint baseboards.

TIP: You need to know what paint you’re working with. Latex paint applied over oil-based paint may peel back away. To know which is which, use a rag to rub some alcohol on the paint. Latex paint will come off on the rag, but oil based paint will not.

TIP: If you are painting over oil based paint, then you should use oil-based paint. Prime the surface before painting.

2. Spackle the baseboard for holes.


If you have nail holes, cracks or dents on your baseboard, correctly apply spackle on the imperfections. This way when you paint, it clears the path for your latex. When there are holes in it, your paint can seep in, and it will be an unsightly manner.

TIP: Prepare two putty knives if you can – the wide one and the narrow one. It highly depends on how the holes and imperfections are.

TIP: If you want to spackle over nails, make sure to hammer them down to the board for it to even out with the surface.

Once done, remove any excess spackle and wait for an hour to dry. If it has dried but has sunk, apply once more until it is even with the surface. Nonetheless, spackling a small nail hole on the baseboard is a relatively easy thing to do. See video here.

3. Grit the baseboard with sandpaper to smoothen the surface.


You cannot avoid the bumpiness of a putty spackle on the baseboard. To do away with it, grit it with sandpaper until it has become smooth. For best results, you may use 60 to 80 grit sandpaper.

TIP: Do not skip gritting your baseboard. It’s tempting to splash the paint afterward, so you get done and over it.

4. Apply painter’s tape.


Mask the baseboard where it meets up to the main wall. It serves to protect your wall from those little painting mishaps you’ll be making along the way.

TIP: Try to have a steady hand when placing the tape and make sure it’s straight.

TIP: Taping can be time-consuming as most homeowners have found. But, it is in every aspect a step to your goal of nailing the best way to paint baseboards.

5. Apply drop cloth or plastic sheets.


To avoid having paint splattering on your floor, apply drop cloth or plastic sheets to the floor with the edge attached to the baseboard. Stick it with painter’s tape where the masking meets the baseboard and the floor. See a video on how to apply masking tape or painters tape here.

6. Paint baseboard.


Do you know what paint you’ll be using? If you have a wooden baseboard, you can either have it painted with high gloss, semi-gloss, and satin. Apply it thoroughly until done. If you have a trimmed baseboard, make sure you have dabbed it with color at every nook and turn.

7. Take off the tape while the paint is still wet.


It’s mostly debated when one should pull off the tape – when the baseboard is dry or still wet. However, it is highly suggested to remove it minutes when done. If the tape is removed when the paint is dry, chances are, the paint on the wall will be chipped off. It would also be harder to remove the tape now that the paint is dry and hard.

TIP: If you’re one of the few people who remove the tape once the paint is dry, better use a razor or cutter to cut the paint from the tape.

These steps and tips provide you the best way to paint baseboards. This home project is relatively easy to do, although some people find it quite tedious and too meticulous at times. However, if you put your backs to it with a little creativity, you can finish the job and say you even enjoyed it.

After the work done


Relish the thought that you’ve finished this DIY project. Though it’s not that big of a venture, it still has an enormous impact on the whole room. The work is not that complex. But you do need lots of patience and perseverance in putting an effort to do it.

After the end of the day, the best way to paint baseboards starts from your motivation to do it.

Is there something we have missed? We do DIY projects and are interested in sharing our experiences with you. You could drop us a comment for us to chat about your experiences.

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