I'm painting a room that has hardwood floors and base shoe stained to match the floors. How can I paint the baseboard without painting the shoe? I haven't found any trim painting tutorials that have an unpainted base shoe.

Looks like this:

enter image description here

I'm debating between:

  • taping the base shoe.
  • freehand, and wiping up misses with a wet rag on a putty knife.
  • other ideas?
  • 5
    Shoe molding is an integral part of the base molding; together they represent the base of a column (ie.) of the Ionic Order. Treating the shoe molding as part of the floor and not part of the base molding is a fundamental error similar to wallpapering over or extending the wall paint color over the trim molding that tops the baseboard. Either the shoe molding should be painted or the baseboard paint be stripped. Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 21:29
  • Can you detach the base shoe, or is it the same piece of wood as the baseboard?
    – Sidney
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 21:41
  • 4
    I completely disagree that the shoe should always match the base trim. For one thing, white shoe gets absolutely destroyed by foot traffic and cleaning. For another, it makes for a very heavy appearance that some don't like. For yet another, wood accents are used throughout home design, including such details as countertop edging. It's a matter of taste, not rules. Finally, that's not the question.
    – isherwood
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 14:49
  • @Sidney, shoe is almost always a separate component, installed in an additional step.
    – isherwood
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 14:51
  • 1
    Based on @isherwood's answer to my question, I'd just pop the shoe off and tack it back on when you're done painting. No paint on the shoe, don't have to worry about taping, best of both world.
    – Sidney
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 14:57

2 Answers 2


It would be quick and easy to mask the shoe. Slide a roll of high-quality painter's tape along the baseboard, tight to it, while pressing the dispensed tape against the shoe. Run a finger wrapped in a thin towel along to press it tight.

Pull the tape shortly after painting and scrape off any bleed with a soft (plastic or wood) tool while the paint is still soft. (Pulling tape quickly also results in softer, less-conspicuous paint edges, as the edge can contract minutely as it dries.)


I'd cover it with something as I go along painting the base board. Something like a trowel, wide scraper or any rigid, thin, flat piece of metal or plastic. Holding it against the corner where the baseboard and and top of the base shoe meet then painting over it. Can work with either a brush or roller. Saving you the hassle of taping all around the base board. Just need to be a bit creative when it comes to corners... That is, if your not already going to be masking the wall to paint the base board, then you can just masking tape the base shoe as well as you go along.

  • 1
    In my experience this leads to quite a bit of bleed. It probably wouldn't meet my standards for quality.
    – isherwood
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 14:48

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