Painting baseboards and all trim in general can be a tedious, time consuming task. After remodeling four homes, I’ve learned a few tips for all that tedious trim painting. Here are my tried and true methods for how to paint baseboards quickly.
When you decide to renovate a house, you pretty much know that the renovation will include painting just about every single room.
But when you see that house the first couple of times, you are too caught up in the potential to realize just how much painting there is to do – and not just painting of walls, but also of ceilings. And baseboards. And basically all trim. And all doors. Oh and then all cabinets.
And that’s when you want to go in a corner and cry and hide and ask yourself why, why, why did we do this to ourselves???
Oh ok, that’s just me.
No it’s not. Admit it. You’ve been there or at least been in a similar situation.
Every single room, every single door, cabinet, baseboard and piece of trim have to be painted in the 70’s Landing Pad.
Now, I wasn’t too concerned about how much time it would take to paint the walls – rolling doesn’t take too long. The same was true of the doors and cabinets – I would be able to spray a good portion of those with my paint sprayer.
All the trim though – particularly all the miles and miles and miles of baseboards were causing a touch of anxiety.
But get this – in the end, it took me about 30 minutes (minus drying time) to paint all the baseboards in the living room, dining room, and hallway of the 70’s Landing Pad. Let me give you an idea of how much baseboard that is:
That’s a heck of a whole lot of baseboards to paint. What I did in this case may not be ideal for everyone. Don’t worry though – I’m going to give you a few different methods for painting baseboards and you can determine which is best for you and your home.
How to Paint Baseboards With a Paint Sprayer
If you only have one small room to paint baseboards in or if you’re painting trim in a room full of carpet and furniture, then a paint brush is going to be your best option. Go on and skip ahead to method #2. If you have a ton of baseboards to paint though and you’re also ripping up carpet, then this might be for you. This method works best when you also have to paint the walls in the room as well.
- Wood Filler
- Paint (A semi-gloss is best for baseboards and trim. I used white called Bit of Sugar by Behr)
- HomeRight Finish Max Paint Sprayer
Step 1: Prep Work
For us, we are having to replace all the flooring in the 70’s Landing Pad. When we pulled up the old flooring, we realized that when the house was built, the baseboards had been put right on top of the subfloor, instead of putting them about 1/4″ above the subfloor to allow room to slide new flooring under. Since this was the case, we carefully pulled off all the old baseboards, then put it right back on the wall, but 1/4″ higher. We actually used a scrap piece of our new flooring to place under the baseboard for measurement, then tacked it on to the wall.
If you are not replacing your flooring, but still have miles and miles and miles of baseboard to paint, then you could take off your baseboards, mark where each one goes on the back and cover that with a piece of painter’s tape. Then, take the baseboards outside and use a paint sprayer to spray them (I’ll get to the specifics of that in a bit.)
Fill any nail holes with wood putty, let dry and sand smooth (there’s a tutorial here for filling holes). If you have a gap between the top of your baseboard and the wall, fill it with caulk, smooth it and let it dry.
Take all outlet covers off and tape over the outlets.
Vacuum up any dust, dirt or debris that is surrounding the baseboards.
Step 2: Get your paint and paint sprayer ready.
The best paint for baseboards are ones with a semi-gloss or gloss finish. These are the most durable and scrubbable. These areas tend to get beat up quite easily and semi-gloss is easier to clean than flat, satin or eggshell sheens. Get out your paint sprayer and fill up the cup about 1/2 – 3/4 full, then thin your paint down to the correct consistency. There’s a guide here for thinning your paint.
Adjust the spray pattern to be vertical by turning the air cap on the front of the sprayer as shown below.
When the “wings” as I call them are horizontal, the paint will spray in a vertical pattern.
Step 3: Paint the baseboards.
Plug in the sprayer. Hold the Finish Max about 10 inches away from the baseboard.
Pull the trigger and start painting. Stay in constant motion, but moving slowly across the baseboard. Don’t stay in one place for too long.
You can see how the paint will get on the wall and floor as well. This is why I said if you aren’t replacing the flooring or painting the wall, to pull the baseboards off and spray them outside. When you put them back up, fill the nail holes and touch up those spots with a brush. It will still save you loads of time if you have a lot of baseboard to paint.
Let the paint fully dry before doing another coat. I did two coats total.
If you did get some drips from staying in one place too long, then simply run your paintbrush over those before it dries.
I plan on using this method again in the master bedroom before laying the new carpet and in multiple rooms downstairs as well.
How to Paint Baseboards with a Brush
If you aren’t in the middle of a big home remodel and painting baseboards with a sprayer isn’t ideal for you, then you can still get a great finish on your baseboards with a good ol’ paintbrush.
- Wood Filler
- Paint (Use a paint that has a semi-gloss finish. I use Bit of Sugar by Behr)
- High Quality Paintbrush – this one is my pick.
Step 1: Prep Work
Fill nail holes with wood putty if needed, then let dry and sand smooth.
If you have a gap or any cracks between the top of your baseboard and the wall, fill it with caulk, smooth it and let it dry. Do the same in corners where the baseboards meet.
Wipe down all the baseboards with a wet cloth to remove any dust and dirt.
Tape off the wall just above the baseboard and the carpet below the baseboard. You can also put plastic down on the ground if you’re worried you might get paint on your flooring.
Step 2: Prepare your paint.
Mix the Floetrol with your paint as the instructions say to on the bottle. The Floetrol is excellent for reducing brush strokes in your paint finish after it dries. If this isn’t something you’re worried about, you may skip this step.
Step 3: Paint the baseboards.
Dip your paintbrush only about 2/3s of the way up the brush into the paint. Remove excess paint from the brush by gently wiping the brush along the sides of the paint tray or container.
Brush the paint onto the baseboards in long even strokes. Do not go back and forth. Go in one direction.
Step 4: Repeat.
After the first coat is dry, give the baseboards a second coat if needed. After the final coat of paint, immediately remove the tape from the wall and floor to prevent the new paint from peeling off the baseboards.
Have any tips or tricks you can add for painting baseboards?
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Disclosure: This post was a collaboration with HomeRight. However, all opinions and baseboard painting hacks are 100% mine.
Anna Starner says
I have kitchen cabinets to paint and soooo many doors not to mention all the trim and some furniture. So many projects so little time!
I’d love to paint all my trim with this!
SONJA HANSEN says
We are in the process of getting ready for new floors on our main floor. I have what seems like miles of baseboards and doors and other trim to paint.
Lisa Mannion says
The better question is what wouldn’t I do– kitchen cabinets, multiple rooms throughout the house, baseboards, and even some exterior painting. Love your blog!!!
We just moved into a new home that also has a ton of baseboards … AND chair rail throughout THREE rooms! So besides tackling that with the sprayer, I would want to do furniture projects I’ve been holding off on. Painting is just so time consuming …
Katie Persson says
I’m tackling our hallway now, putting up board and batten and redoing all our door trim. I’m making some serious heart eyes at that paint sprayer.. Lol. I can only imagine one of the cats would get in the way if I tried to use it indoors though. XD
My grandma’s old dining room table, chairs, buffet and china hutch……no small stinkin’ job!!!!!
Meg @ Green With Decor says
Oh gosh, I hear ya. We painted everything in our house, too. You can do it! Take beer breaks. 🙂 I’ve been wanting one of these sprayers forever!
Danyelle H says
This would be perfect not only for touching up trim in all our rooms (when we moved in last year we skipped trim painting and now that we’re catching up on things around the house it’s in desperate need) but also I’ve been wanting to paint our 1980s oak cabinets so I’ve had my eye on one of these
Our kitchen cabinets! I’ve been putting it off because I really don’t want to roll them.
I’ve been wanting that sprayer for a while now to do some furniture projects. I’m hoping to use some of my “back to me tax $$” to purchase one this year, BUT… free would be better!
I love the way the paint sprayer is coated with old paint. It shows it’s been well loved. I have several pieces of furniture that I have been wanting to paint. Thanksgiving!
Jenna @ Rain on a Tin Roof says
Oh honey, this sprayer has definitely been well loved!! Don’t know where I’d be without it!
We’ll be buying our first house soon, so I’m sure we’ll have plenty of things we could paint!
Emily @ Small Stuff Counts says
I can relate to having soo much trim that needs painting! I’ve tackled quite a bit with a brush, but I would LOVE a paint sprayer to speed up the process. Thanks for the tips and the chance to win!
Trina LJBaH blog (@LetsBuildaHouse) says
WOOHOOO i was just telling my husband I want a paint sprayer! I feel like i would use it ALWAYS! Especially for this basement renovation we are working on!!
Ashley Chambers says
I would totally paint all of our dreaded wood paneling in the dining room as well as three bedrooms with baseboards! and hopefully crown molding! We bought my husbands grandparents 60’s rancher which I LOVE and was always my dream home…but heavens to betsy the painting we have to do now!
I’ve just installed new flooring and new baseboards (the old ones were tile – bleauch) and I’m sorry to say that I thought of priming them before installation (they are MDF) but left final painting until after they were installed. I have no idea why – I guess I thought the finish would get messed up, but man it was a pain to paint it all. Definitely next time I’ll at least do the first coat before installation!
kimberly walsh says
How awesome is that! Also I feel like there is the opportunity for a joke about speed and a hand cramp, but you know, I’m trying to keep it classy. 🙂
Jenna @ Rain on a Tin Roof says
There is TOTALLY a joke there, girl! haha!
I would paint our front porch if I won this bad boy.
Darlene Cruz says
My whole house ????
Wendy R. says
We are moving soon and the whole house. I do mean the ENTIRE inside of the home needs to be repainted. This would definitely be handy!!
Tagra Lighting says
Great tips thanks. This would be great for re-doing a certain area or a complete change of colour.
I would use it to paint my bedroom.
You certainly are making good progress, those baseboards look great! Hope you have a beer supply ready when its quitting time!
Jenna @ Rain on a Tin Roof says
Always have the beer supply, Sally! 😉
Christina in FL says
Absolutely brilliant! Honestly, I never would have thought to use a paint sprayer! Fast, easy(ish) and so efficient! 🙂 I’d love to win the sprayer! :))))
Trisha Burgess says
I would paint our whole house! I’d start in the dining room!
I really love your Blog. I would use the HomeRight Finish max Sprayer to paint my house trim and furniture!
The whole house needs to be freshened up and I want to paint some old dressers too.
Terri Hughes says
I have an old desk that I would like to paint.
I still have 1/2 of a house and all of the baseboard &trim to paint… something I am dreading
Terri Hughes says
I have an old desk that I need to paint.
I would give the sprayer to my husband. He’s always wanted one. Next I would give him a list of all the things I want painted.
I also have many feet of baseboards to paint. Walls in my hallway, kitchen, bedroom and office.
Kim Wilbourn says
I live in a 70’s home as well. I am anxious to tackle the kitchen…the wallpaper is horrendous and the yellow laminate countertops coupled with the original wood cabinetry as well as the original Whirlpool wall oven….SIGH!! I will definitely be painting these walls post paper-removal! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity and good luck on your overhaul!
Melissa S says
I would use the sprayer to paint my bathroom vanity and the trim in my master bath.
I’m in the middle of buying a 1959 fixer-upper; I’d use that baby on everything.
I would paint my living room that has NEVER been painted the who time I have lived in home
Susan M. says
I soooooooo want one of these sprayers! First on the list of to-do’s is using it to paint a vintage secretary. Fingers are crossed!
Christina Sparks says
I have a bench I want to paint.
My ENTIRE house needs to be switched from plaster walls to drywall, so this would be perfect for painting all the walls and baseboards! Sweet!!
Cynthia C says
I would start with the bathroom and move on from there.
This looks like a really nice device. I thing the skies the limit when it comes to renovating your entire house. I would love to try this for my kitchen.
Yvonne Delgado says
My bedroom. We had to fix a mold issue and after painting with mold resistant primer, we need to pick a color and paint soon
I would paint my whole house – inside and out.
It needs it.
Buying a new house I’d use the sprayer for all my miles of baseboards for sure!
Sara Cunningham says
I would paint my bedroom and guest bedroom.
Karen Drake says
I have a coffee table I would like to paint.
Mary Dailey says
My bathroom is peeling and needs a paint job bad! This would make it so much easier!
Kathleen Richardson says
I would paint both of my kids rooms and our baseboards to start. Then I would paint our master bedroom and the list goes on and on.
Meghan Malicoat says
I would use it for all of my DIY projects.
Debbie Bray says
I would paint our guest room.
Glenda Beckham says
Hi Jenna: First thank you for the giveaway. It couldn’t have come at a better time. We are doing a lot of remodeling around here, replacing baseboards & all trim which has to be painted, ugh. Plus I have some thrift store re-do’s, painting the hallway & hallway bath. Whew I’m tired just thinking about all that painting. This sprayer would be a blessing for sure. Got my fingers & toes crossed, lol. Again thank you for this great giveaway & God bless.
P.S. If I lived closer to you I would for sure come help you paint. We could have a painting party, lol.
Ellen S says
I haven’t painted my apartment since I moved in. That was in 1993. I have to fix the ceilings, lots of old paint that has cracked, so a lot of scraping, applying joint compound and sanding, and a lot of standing on a ladder. I have to do it myself, can’t afford any help. But a paint sprayer would make applying the paint go a lot faster. I’d start with the bathroom because the walls are in better condition and it’s small.
Lee Mckeon says
I would paint the garage and laundry room!
Liza Vladyka says
right now it is winter but in spring dog house needs painting so does flashing on house
Tina Reynolds says
I would paint my living room and family room
Nicole colletti says
Omg this would be perfect to paint the molding and baseboards in my master bedroom..when we moved into this house the cable guy had this great idea because there was a molding midway down the wall all around the room to run the cable wire along it instead of the floor and my little toddler pulls on it and messes with it so I would constantly tape it up well now my walls have the residue and nastiness from the tape along the molding where I had tape it looks terrible! I plan on painting it in the next few weeks and this would be PERFECT! Also when I paint that I’m painting the hallways and other bedrooms so this would help with all the baseboards!
Tricia Boris says
I too need to paint a whole house of orange oak trim!
Sandra Watts says
I am going to be painting my livingroom when good weather sets in. I would use it for that to start with and then my kitchen.
Liz S says
I would use it for our baby boy’s room who will be joining our growing family this summer!
Bobbie Smith says
If I won, I would definitely use it to paint my room, we just added on. This would make the job so much easier! I usually end up wearing more paint on me than what is on the walls.
natasha lamoreux says
My husband paints as a side job, I would love to gift him with this. It would be so handy.
I would paint my kitchen.
Allison Alvarez says
I have a hand-me-down hutch in my dining room that whispers/screams “PAINT ME” every time I look at it. I am thinking black or navy. Just need to pull the trigger (pun intended).
Annmarie W. says
I’d use it to paint the rails of our back deck!
Maggie Smith says
I’d paint my living room!
Amy Z. says
I would use the sprayer to paint our guest room and office.
Virginia Rowell says
I’m with the what wouldn’t I paint! My whole house needs to be redone and I would do my deck.
Margot C says
I would paint a massive mirror frame (red!)
Trinh Q. says
I would paint my dressee.
laurie murley says
I have a dresser that I would love to try and paint
Lesley F says
We have a fence that needs to be repainted
Catherine R says
I have plans to repaint all of my interior walls and trim in my home. I bought it just over a year ago, and am not a fan of the current colors on the walls, but have not had a chance to change it.
I need it to paint Tin Roof
Recipe Fairy says
Me and my husband are weekend warriors, and I’d love to use this sprayer to refinish some old furniture and to paint a used boat we’re picking up this weekend!
Tracy Shafer says
I have a garage and a shed I would paint
JOAN JONES says
My hubby and I are both in our 80’s. So what would we do with a MAX Finish Sprayer? Well, Jenna, let me tell you. We’d start with my studio/office, which we are now organizing six months after moving into our new (to us) home. It had been a family room add-on for the previous owners and, as such has one exterior wall which not only is painted with an exterior paint, but the color doesn’t match the current ext. paint. Then we’d move on to the garage.
I’m so happy I found your blog through this process, Jenna.
Terry Cross says
I would paint my bathroom for starters
Charissa N. says
I would paint the trim in my kitchen. It’s still stuck in the 70’s.
Jennifer H. says
I would paint my bedroom and bathroom.
Just found your blog while looking for ideas/inspiration for a fixer upper we are hoping to call home. Love your ideas but wanted to know how do you pioritize the projects and most importantly budget. Would appreciate any advice here as both my husband and I are Property Virgins but very handy. Thanks in advance.
Btw, a new sprayer would definitely come in handy as it would allow us to direct more time to the endless hours or wallpaper removal.
Jenna @ Rain on a Tin Roof says
Hi! Honestly, with budgeting we just do what we can when we can. With our current house (not the new house) we did things much slower. We didn’t replace the countertops in the kitchen until at least six months in after we had saved up some money. With the new house we are renovating, we had some money in savings, so that is footing much of this renovation. It won’t all be done before we move in though. There will be much to do afterwards!
We are getting ready to paint the entire inside of our house
We closed in our back porch, and need to paint the outside of it. This would make the job so much easier! I also have a project for a family photo gallery, and bought about 30 frames at thrift stores. I want to paint them all to match before using them.
beth shepherd says
I would start with our chicken coop. Thank you!
christina moore says
I would love to own this sprayer, I would paint my deck and fence
Cherie W says
I have the perfect project for the Home Right Finish Max! I’m making a headboard out of shutters from the Resale Store for my daughter’s bedroom.
Betty C says
We are in the process of remodeling our porch so I would paint that first.
Leah Shumack says
I have an old picnic table that I’d like to make look new again!
Brandon Sparks says
I would paint the inside of my whole house.
We are looking to paint our main floor bathroom!
Cheryl Reinhardt says
We need to paint the outside of our house really bad and the decks. We bought our home 2 years ago and it needs some TLC.
Thomas Murphy says
I would paint my kitchen cabinets.
Amy Deeter says
i would use this to paint my front porch !would be great for it
I’d start by painting my exterior doors and shutters with the Finish Max sprayer.
Emilee Bond says
I would love to pain my front room accent wall!! It would make a huge difference at our place.
John H. says
I would paint the basement.
Jeff McCann says
This would be awesome , I don’t like painting but this would make it easier
mary ballerin says
Hi Jenna – I have three rooms, more like half the house – LR, master bedroom & the kitchen/dining/hallway – that need painting but the flooring isn’t changing. When I had a reno done in 2007 the “contractor” didn’t paint the new doors, he painted-matched the trim in my house to primed new closet & interior doors – my trim is ‘new door’ primer color. 🙁 So I was thinking about spraying the trim before painting these rooms (ugh, there are bi-fold closet doors everywhere) but I am wondering if the semi-gloss over-spray from the trim painting will matter at all when painting the walls with satin or whatever sheen paint I choose for the walls? What sheen do you use on your walls? In the past flat just didn’t clean well but paints have improved. My mom always bought satin for LRs & bedrooms. I have ceiling flat white paint already purchased, it’s just easier to change rooms without painting the ceiling every time. TY!!
Jenna @ Rain on a Tin Roof says
I definitley had semi-gloss overspray on the walls from painting the trim and it didn’t affect the new wall paint at all. It just went right over the overspray perfectly!
mary ballerin says
oh that’s great to know! TY. I wanna get wild with my sprayer and have purdy white trim again.