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?
You might also want to see…
You know you don’t wanna miss any of this crazy.
Sign up to get my posts delivered to your inbox here.
Stalk Me Here:
Disclosure: This post was a collaboration with HomeRight. However, all opinions and baseboard painting hacks are 100% mine.