How to Paint Baseboards

Painting your home's baseboards is very simple if you have the right equipment.


  1. Image titled Paint Baseboards Step 1
    To get beautiful looking baseboards quickly, you need to use the right supplies. Use painting pads instead of brushes or rollers. They will give you a smoother surface, and they are usually the same width as common baseboards, so you can paint the baseboard from top to bottom with one stroke.
  2. Image titled Paint Baseboards Step 2
    Use standard latex paint for your baseboards. This type of paint will clean easily if you get scuff marks on the boards.
  3. Image titled Paint Baseboards Step 3
    Mask the baseboards. You can use standard masking tape, but be careful because standard masking tape can pull the paint off of the walls. There are many specialty masking tapes that you can buy at any hardware store. Ask a store employee to help.
  4. Image titled Paint Baseboards Step 4
    To mask the baseboards, run a strip of tape along the top where the baseboard meets the wall. The object is to avoid getting paint on the walls while you are paining the baseboards.
  5. Image titled Paint Baseboards Step 5
    Lay some 4mm gauge plastic on the floor, running it around the edge of the baseboard. Tape the plastic down with your masking tape, right where the baseboard meets the floor. You've now masked the baseboard.
  6. Image titled Paint Baseboards Step 6
    Pour 14 gallon (0.9 L) of paint into a paint tray. Push the paint pad into the paint, so that just the sponge part of the pad is covered in paint. Scrape the excess paint off of the pad by running it over the edge of the tray.
  7. Image titled Paint Baseboards Step 7
    Holding the pad vertically, run the pad along the baseboard. You should be able to paint about 4 feet (1.2 m) of baseboard with each dip in the paint.
  8. Image titled Paint Baseboards Step 8
    Keep dipping the pad into the paint. Run the pad along the baseboard until the entire baseboard is painted. Make sure you overlap your strokes, and that each new section is blended together.
  9. Image titled Paint Baseboards Step 9
    Wait at least 4 hours before pulling off the masking tape. That should give your baseboards time to dry.


  • It's better to do 2 or more thin layers than 1 big sloppy layer. Apply the paint thinly, allow it to dry completely, and then apply another thin layer.
  • Don't wait too long (24 hours is Max) to pull the masking tape off of the top of the baseboards.
  • Paint the top edge of the baseboard first, then paint the face. This will make sure that you don't damage the face of the baseboard while trying to paint the thinner edge.
  • Use oil based paint when ever you can when painting any interior trim. It is far more durable, dries harder, and can be cleaned with light detergent without damaging the sheen. There may be a downside however, to using oil based white paint in that, over time, the white may yellow.
  • If you want to minimize any paint wicking under your masking tape first seal the edge with clear acrylic. If it wicks it is clear and does not show. After this is dry you can safely paint. Remove the tape carefully when finished.
  • If you are going to use water-based paint, be sure that the paint on the baseboard is also water-based. If painting over oil, the water-based will not stick and will scratch off with minimal pressure. Now you have a big problem. If you have to use water-based you will need to sand and prime the baseboards. Make sure you wear a mask!
  • Oil based paints are also self-leveling. You can use a fine bristle sash brush to apply. Remember to backstroke to blend in your starting and stopping points on the baseboard.


  • Always paint in a well ventilated room. If you have to, open your windows and doors and use box fans to direct fresh air into the room. This is very important when painting with oil based paints, especially in bathrooms where there is little ventilation. There are products that can mask the smell of the paint, but the fumes are still present and can be harmful.

Article Info

Categories: Painting and Other Finishes