Patching and painting baseboards doesn’t have to be a difficult task! These simple strategies with help the patching and painting process go smoothly from start to finish.
I am not a painting expert. In fact, Donnie recently confessed that he used to watch me paint and laugh because I was so terrible at it.
Even though I’ve gotten in a lot of practice and improved my skills, when it came time for patching and painting baseboards, I just assumed that he would be the one to do it.
Donnie had different ideas, though. He said it was easier for me to “bend that way” (true). He also made the point that I get to spend time with the boys all week while he’s at work (also true). So he agreed to take them to the park on Saturday and I could work away at painting baseboards.
(Someone has a new-found confidence in my painting skills all of a sudden…)
So the job of patching and painting baseboards fell to me, and after doing a little bit of research, I was confident that I could do it well.
I thought I’d share the method that worked best for me. Because surprisingly, patching and painting baseboards didn’t end up being too bad at all!
A Simple and Effective Strategy for Patching and Painting Baseboards
List contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
The easiest way to paint baseboards is with a high quality angled brush and some simple tools to help mask off the flooring and walls.
Here are the supplies I used to patch and paint our baseboards:
- Painter’s Tool
- Behr Premium Plus Ultra Pure White Paint in Semi-Gloss
- Tape & Drape
- Large Paint Shield
- HANDy Paint Pail
- Angled 1 1/2″ Paint Brush
- Light Sandpaper
Step 1: Clean the baseboards before patching and painting.
Unless someone is super meticulous and has very, very clean baseboards, we will want to clean them before we jump into patching and painting. (There is nothing worse than getting dust and grime mixed in on your paint brush– yuck!)
I typically vacuum off the baseboards with the hose attachment and then wipe them down with a damp cloth, adding a gentle cleanser if they are especially dirty.
Step 2: Patch the holes in the baseboards.
My first job was to fill in all of the little tiny holes in the baseboards and shoe molding in the living room, dining room, stairwell landings, upstairs hallway, and our bedroom. That’s a lot of little holes!
My painter’s tool did a great job on the flat baseboards, but the curved shoe molding was another story.
It was taking forever to get the patching putty in there because of the angle. So eventually I ditched the tool and just used my finger, which was much quicker!
It was much easier to maneuver the spackling into the holes on the curved shoe molding using this method.
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Step 3: Smooth and sand the baseboards.
Since the spackling will cause some extra bumps and lumps in the baseboards, we’ll want to smooth those out before we begin painting.
I first took a wet cloth and wiped away the excess putty. Then I followed up with a light sandpaper to get the baseboards nice and smooth. I wiped away the dust from sanding, grabbed my HANDy Paint Pail, and I was ready for the next step…
Step 4: Painting Baseboards with Tape and Drape!
Since I wasn’t confident in my ability to cut in without getting paint on the flooring, Tape & Drape was my best friend. It’s tape and plastic liner in one.
I had the benefit of a solid tape line so I didn’t have to worry about being rigidly exact with my painting. And the plastic sheeting acted as my drop cloth so I didn’t get any drips on the floor either.
Making the Most of the Tape & Drape when Painting Baseboards
I tried to make the most of each piece of the plastic sheeting. So for the majority of my painting, I worked with two three-foot long pieces of Tape & Drape.
I would paint the section of baseboard above piece #1 and while that was drying a little, I painted above piece #2. While piece #2 was drying, I carefully peeled up piece #1 and moved it to my next section of baseboard and so on, alternating pieces #1 and #2 so I didn’t have to throw away as much plastic.
When my tape would start to lose its stickiness (evidenced by more leaks), then I knew it was time to start with new pieces of Tape & Drape.
A Quicker Tape & Drape Method
By the time I got to my bedroom (the last room to paint), my kids were going to be waking up from nap soon, so I was trying to get done in a hurry.
I just taped up the entire room at one time, painted everything, and then peeled up all the plastic and threw it away. This method was definitely quicker, but I did end up using most of a roll of Tape & Drape.
The Tape & Drape did a great job at protecting the flooring, but I also wanted to make sure that I didn’t accidentally get paint on the wall.
I could have used painter’s tape above the baseboard, but I found a quicker method…
Step 5: Use a paint shield to keep paint off the walls while painting baseboards.
The paint shield allowed me to have a barrier between my paint brush and the wall without the tedious task of taping every single baseboard.
Instead of holding up the paint shield the entire time I was painting, I would usually paint the lower part of a 10-ish foot section of molding. Then I’d break out my paint shield and hold it at the top edge of the baseboard so I could quickly paint the top section without getting white paint all over the walls.
As long as I was diligent about cleaning off the edge of the shield every once in a while and pressing it down firmly while I was painting, this method worked like a charm and was much faster than trying to tape off the top of the baseboards.
Painting Baseboards When You Have Carpet
Painting baseboards with carpet brings a whole new set of challenges! We don’t want to ruin our carpeting, so there are a few things we can do to protect it.
When painting baseboards with carpet, Tape & Drape can be used to mask off the carpeting to keep it protected. When I’ve used this method, I just try to get the tape very close to the baseboard (or even under the baseboard if possible!) and make it as snug as I can with the carpet.
For this particular project, I was only painting baseboards in a very small carpeted area (our stair landing). So I just used the paint shield to press down and cover the carpet as I painted, trying not to get paint on the shield as much as possible.
I then went back and used the paint shield at the top of the baseboards to get a nice, clean line, and I was in business.
Baseboards may not be a glamorous project like a furniture makeover or room reveal, but they can definitely make a big impact in a room, so it’s important to do them well.
After waiting almost two years to paint ours (terrible, I know!) I am thrilled to finally be able to check that project off the list!
Patching and Painting Baseboards: Frequently Asked Questions
Have you painted any baseboards lately? What are your best tips and tricks?
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.