How To Paint A Baseboard

painting a white baseboard with a brush

Painting a baseboard can be tricky. Most people want the baseboard to match the trim, and in most cases this a different color than the walls. Not only is that more difficult to deal with, paint brushes can leave unsightly streaks on the baseboard. Here are a few simple tips to help you paint your baseboard in a professional manner.

1. Brush Selection

paintbrush laying next to color swatches

Cheap paint brushes may work on walls, but on baseboards and trim work you will see how cheap the brush is in the finished product. Most professionals will tell you that purchasing a brush that is equal to the cost of the paint you purchased is advisable. A good brush for baseboard work will generally cost around $15 for a three-inch brush.

You also want to make sure the brush you are using isn’t too big. A larger brush than what is necessary will cause you to over paint and have to go back and repaint the wall in spots. Generally speaking a brush for baseboards shouldn’t be more than three inches.

2. Temperature

If you paint a baseboard when it’s too cold the paint won’t adhere correctly. If the baseboard is too warm the paints will smudge and dry too quickly. The best thing to do is to paint the baseboard in a room that is temperature controlled. If the room doesn’t have temperature controls when you are painting then you will want to paint during midday during colder months, and in the morning or evening during the hotter months.

3. Cutting In

applying blue painter's tape to the wall

Cutting in the baseboard to prevent paint from getting on the carpet or wall is one of the most challenging parts of painting baseboards. Place heavy cardboard or paper stock on the floor under the baseboard to prevent paint from dripping on the carpet. You will want to be a little forceful with this as depending on the pile of your carpet it may be hard to get under the baseboard. Leave the cardboard in place until the paint dries completely.

For the top of the baseboards you will want to get a high quality painters tape. Cheap painters tape may not adhere properly and can take the paint off the wall. Cut in the tape slowly and carefully to ensure you have a good barrier to prevent paint from getting on the walls. Many people with experience in painting will opt not to use the tape since it will save time. If you decide not to use tape be careful and make sure you have a steady hand.

4. Keep Your Brushes Clean

Have some paint thinner handy to clean your brush out with. This will prevent build up from forming on the brush and mucking up your paint job.

Latex paint can gum up quickly, and it’s hard to deal with on baseboards. Cleaning a latex brush is easy. Simply run the brush under water until the water runs clear. Don’t use hot water, as this can weaken the adhesive used to keep the bristles intact.

As long as you take your time with baseboards you can achieve a professional look for the paint in your home.