The Secrets to Painting Beautiful Baseboards and Trim

Posted by on Mar 09, 2021

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Baseboards aren’t usually the first or even second thing that comes up when discussing interior decor. Most people forget they exist until one gets nicked and needs repainting. But if they’re painted with an interesting color or badly repaired, they can be a wonderful accent or unfortunate eyesore. 

Planning is key for making impressive baseboards (or moulding or skirting boards as they’re sometimes known). Below are tips about the materials and tools you’ll need before painting a baseboard — plus ideas about interesting paint colors to use.

Consider Unexpected Colors

While everyone expects trim and baseboards to be white, painting them unexpected colors can make use of a design element that most people overlook. White can be impressive against a dark color like gray or pine. Painting the skirting board black or another dark color can accent the room in a way that highlights the colors coming through the window. Finally matching the colors of the moulding to the walls makes them almost disappear to highlight other elements in the space.

Fixing Uneven Trim

Sometimes trim is installed into older houses that have uneven walls, leaving a gap between the top of the skirting board and the wall. For those situations, Welcome to the Woods recommends getting paintable white caulk. The caulk can be used to fill those gaps as well as nail holes, and areas where the seams of two baseboards meet.

Fill in the Dents
You may need to use wood putty or another filler to smooth out the dings and scrapes. Big divots may require more extensive reconstruction work or even replacement. If so, you may want to research in-depth baseboard rebuilds. Of course you’ll need to sand down any rough patches to make the surface even. Some professionals also recommend a deglosser on the existing area to ensure that the paint will have a good adhering surface. 

Tape Off the Area
Prepped the area and ready to paint? If you’re extremely careful with a paintbrush, you won’t need to tape off the area around the baseboards. Few people are that good. Frog tape or another similar masking adhesive can be used to ensure that drips don’t mar the floor. A putty knife can help make clean cuts in the tape. 

If you want all the details on how to paint skirting boards, watch the video above. The Funny Carpenter recommends a 2.5 or 3-inch angle brush for painting and a satin gloss latex trim paint. His secret tip? Add Floetrol to help smooth out brush marks and improve the coverage. For the first coat, make sure to cover the baseboard well. After the paint has set, sand out any dried-on dust, pet hairs or lumps. Finish with a nicely painted final coat.

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