How to paint your baseboards and not your carpeting

You want to paint your baseboards; you don’t want to paint your carpeting.  The secret to successfully sprucing up the trim next to your plush, frieze or Saxony? Prepare, prepare, prepare. Far better to spend a little extra time gathering your supplies and perfecting your technique that go through the time and expense of trying to clean up a mess.

When it comes to protecting your carpet, all you need are the right tools and they include more than your brush and paint.

Paint your baseboards and trim


Before you begin

Before you beginpainting-baseboards your project you will want to protect your carpet from spills and flying paint. We recommend you begin by covering the area next to the baseboards with a plastic or fabric drop cloth. Make sure the material extends about a yard out from the baseboards.

Next, invest in some quality painter’s tape. You’ll want it to go just under the baseboard and over the drop cloth, creating a nice seal of protection for your carpet.

You’ll also want to tape off above the baseboard molding to protect the paint. This is especially important if you are working with a different color or sheen of paint.

The Less You Pour, The Less You’ll Spill

When it comes to pouring, take the least amount you can to your work area. Better to stop and refill your tray a couple of times than to risk an accident. It might take you a minute or two to add a little more paint to your tray, but you will avoid any horrific accidents that could ruin your carpet. It’s so much easier to avert a spill than it is to deal with one.


Easy does it

The most common mistake people tend to make when painting baseboards is to overestimate how easy it will be. Oh, it’s not complicated, but it does take a little technique. Again, a little extra time upfront can help you avoid problems later and ensure that you will be completely satisfied with your end result.

Since you’ll probably be working with a semi-gloss or high-gloss, details matter. If you are sloppy or glob your paint, it’s going to show. Also, the faster you paint, the more likely you are to accidentally hurl paint on surfaces you don’t want covered – above your molding and your carpet.

The Half and Half Technique

Okay, you’re ready to begin. The key to working with glossier paints, easy does it. Only dip the lower third of your brush, and be sure to dab off any excess on the side of your tray.

Next, begin in the middle of your baseboard, halfway between the top and bottom of it. Neatly paint foot long strokes, starting at the middle. Then paint a swath right above that and repeat until you’ve covered the top of the baseboard. One or two swaths should handle it.

For extra protection you can also work with a painter’s guard. A painter’s guard is a slightly curved piece of plastic with a straight edge. You hold it in place with your non-painting hand and use it as a shield to ensure your brush doesn’t accidentally hit the paint above the baseboard, outside where you taped.

Once you’ve done the top half of your first foot long swath, paint the lower half. Again, you can use your painter’s guard here to further protect your carpeting and to create neat, straight lines.

Move along to the next foot long section, working the top half first and then the bottom.


Be a Tortoise

To get the best result, approach your painting project like a tortoise – slow and steady will win your race (and protect you valuable carpeting!) Use as little in your tray as you can, load as little paint on your brush as you can. This is no time to be in a painting hurry. Put on some good music or listen to a favorite TV show. Work slowly and steadily.

Once you’ve painted all of the baseboard, slowly and carefully remove the tape. It’s a good idea to leave the drop cloths in place until the paint has dried completely.

And, voila! You’re done. Your baseboards will look great and your carpet will too.

If you have any questions or need any additional advice, please give us a call. We’re here to help.