How To Paint Baseboards

Baseboards are always a great touch to any home. So if you want your home or room to look good, then you should consider having baseboards.

Although there is some practical use for baseboards, they are mostly for aesthetics purposes. In other words, they can help make your chosen space look extra stylish. This means that you can have different kinds of baseboard designs. Besides deciding what design to have, though, you should also know how to paint baseboards.

Determining What to Do With Your Baseboard

The painting itself is a fairly easy and straightforward job. But because baseboards have a small surface area and are placed at the base of the wall, they can be a bit awkward to paint. Therefore, you want to be fully prepared so as not to make a mess both on the walls and the floors. To avoid this, you will need to know how to paint baseboards before installing them.

Should you paint baseboards before installing them?

The main reason why you would want to paint baseboards before installing them is to obviously avoid any kind of mess on the walls and floors. So if you are an amateur painter or don’t have much experience and are afraid to make a mess, then the safest option is to paint your baseboards separately. This can also save you plenty of time having to add painters tape all over your walls. So this method is both convenient and efficient.

As mentioned, there are many different kinds of baseboard designs and colors. If you have a creative idea to install different baseboards in one space, then you will want to paint them separately as well. The downside to already installed baseboards is that it will be hard for you to change your plans. At least with this method, you can make the changes you like at any time and leave the installation step as an end result or final touch.

Why would you paint baseboards after installation?

If you are moving into a home and there are already baseboards installed, then you may as well paint them as they are. Although there is a safe way to remove baseboards without damaging the walls, leaving them installed can save you time and is the safest option. This is particularly the case with old houses as the walls beneath the baseboards might have degraded without obvious signs.

demaged wall hidden behind the removed baseboard

A damaged wall hidden behind the removed baseboard | Source: Doityourself

Another reason why you might leave baseboards on is if the floor is carpeted. Removing baseboards can be simple and safe, but dealing with a carpeted floor might pose unnecessary issues. So just to be on the safe side, how to paint baseboards with carpet should be dealt with in this manner.

The Steps of Painting Your Baseboards

Close Up Of Man Painting baseboard

When it comes to painting, you should always first consider what you are painting on, i.e., the material. Fortunately, baseboards are nothing extra special and are typically made of wood, so you can use either latex or oil-based paint. For most individuals, high-gloss paint is preferred to make them stand out even more. After all, baseboards are added mostly for extra style and design appeal.

Clean the baseboard

Before anything else, you should always clean the surfaces of what you want to paint on, even if the surface is small, like baseboards. You can use a damp cloth to sweep off any dust and dirt. You can also use a sponge if some dirt is hard to remove with a few wipes.

Patch any holes and scratches

With old baseboards that you want to repaint, make sure to check for any scratches or holes that you can path up with wood filler. That way, your painting, later on, can be smooth and uninterrupted. If you feel it necessary, you can use sandpaper instead to smooth out scratches or holes that you can’t patch with wood filler. Furthermore, if the baseboard has already been painted, then you will need to know how to remove paint from wood before you add your new paint.

Set up your area to avoid any mess

Once you have finished preparing your baseboard, you can now start preparing for the painting process. As many come to know, painting can be a messy job. Therefore, you want to make sure that you have what you need to avoid any kind of paint mess.

Preparing to Paint the baseboard using tape

Whether you tape the walls with painter’s tape and cover the floors with newspapers, use what you can to reduce the amount of cleanup you will need to do at the end. So the more you do now, then the less you’ll do later, which you will definitely appreciate when you’re exhausted from all the work you’ve done.

Prime the baseboard

If the baseboards you have chosen are made out of wood, then you will need to prime them before beginning your painting. Unless the surfaces are in very good condition, you should still prime baseboards even if you plan to repaint them. And make sure that you let the primer dry sufficiently before you start painting.

Paint the baseboard

The final and last step to finalizing your baseboards is to paint them. Take note that you should be extra careful about how to paint baseboards with hardwood floors so that you don’t damage these precious floors with paint. You can use rosin paper instead of newspaper to cover the floor if this is the case. Otherwise, all that is left after you paint your baseboards with your chosen color or colors is to let the paint dry. Remember, varying factors can contribute to how long paint dries, so ensure that you know the answer to the common question of how long does it take for paint to dry.


One of the major reasons why homeowners love painting their house is because of how it looks afterward. It makes whatever you have painted look new again. But like with most things in life, there is a proper way to do them, no matter how little they are. So if you want to make the most of your baseboards and make your space look the best they can, then make sure you equip yourself with the knowledge of how to paint your baseboards.

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MyUnfinishedHome Staff

We are a team of enthusiasts thriving to provide you with helpful advice on buying everything you may ever need to finish your home and make it a lovely place.

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