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We painted the walls and now we have to install baseboard. We’ve already painted the baseboard and haven’t installed it yet.

We don’t know how to fix this problem.

At what point do a caulk? Are we supposed to tape between the wall and the baseboard before caulking? after caulking? What are we supposed to fill nail holes with? Please help. Everyone says we should have installed baseboard and caulked first and now we’re afraid of ruining the paint job.

3 Answers 3

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I always paint the walls then install the baseboards when doing renovations.

I pre-paint the baseboards. Then I caulk the nail holes and touch up with the trim paint.

The next step can be altered depending on the color of the walls.

I caulk with white acrylic that matches the trim white very closely. If the walls are white or another light color, I just wipe the caulk with a big damp sponge. Like a grout sponge. This usually wipes most of the caulk from the wall and it's done. If the wall color is darker, I tape above the top edge of the base. (Press the tape to your shirt first to get the heavy glue off.) Then caulk, wipe and remove the tape for a nice sharp line.

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You have a couple options.

You can install the baseboard, caulk, paint the caulking with your trim paint and then try to cut a straight line with your wall paint. This will likely be a challenge.

As a painter, this is what I would do:

Install the baseboard, caulk, paint the caulk line with the wall paint. Try not to get your wall paint all over the base, especially if the colors are drastically different. Let the paint dry/cure for a day. Get yourself some delicate surface Frog Tape and tape the wall, right above the baseboard and then come back with your trim paint and brush the top of your base (this make take more than one coat depending on color differences). Frog Tape has a water activated polymer that swells when latex paint hits it and prevents tape bleed and will give you nice sharp lines.




Frog Tape

PaintBlock® Technology is a super-absorbent polymer that reacts with the water in latex paint to form a micro-barrier. This seals the edges of the tape to prevent paint bleed and deliver super sharp paint lines.

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  • And you remove this tape before the paint dries, right? Oct 16, 2023 at 18:22
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    @JimStewart You can, or you can let it cure and pull it afterwards. I have done both successfully.
    – matt.
    Oct 16, 2023 at 19:09
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    In some cases doesn't the paint bridge the boundary of the tape and form a continuous sheet that tears unevenly exposing the taped surface when the tape is removed after paint dries? Is this because of painting technique, e.g., a coat too thick? Oct 16, 2023 at 20:33
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    @JimStewart Yes, this is typically caused by over-applying paint, too many mils. I would rather apply a couple light coats than try to get it to cover with one, in my experience it tends to take more time as you end up with repairs to be made...especially when you're dealing with level 4/5 smooth wall.
    – matt.
    Oct 17, 2023 at 1:32
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Install your baseboard and fill nail holes with painters putty. Caulk baseboards to walls and whipe clean with a soft damp rag, this will clean access caulk off the wall and give you a good straight line to follow. Apply 1 coat of paint on entire baseboard. Note when caulking cut as small a hole in caulk tube as possible! Less is better in this case!

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