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How to Paint Baseboards around Carpet | Tips + Video Tutorial

Learn how to paint baseboards around carpet (no need to remove them!) with my supply list, helpful tips, and a step-by-step video tutorial.

Painted white baseboards in a nursery with overlaid text, "How to Paint Baseboards around Carpet."

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Can You Paint Baseboards around Carpet without Removing Them?

Yes. Though the process is a bit fiddly, it’s absolutely possible to paint baseboards surrounding carpet without removing them. The technique is relatively easy and gives a nice finish overall.

How to do it? You will use short pieces of painter’s tape wedged in between the baseboard and the carpet. After priming/painting the baseboards you will carefully break the seal between the tape and paint and then peel away the tape.

This may not be the very best way to paint baseboards neatly, but if you can’t remove them and you’re stuck with a baseboard + carpet situation, then this is the tutorial you need!

What Paint Do I Use for Baseboards?

I love using two coats of a simple primer (ask at your paint store or use Zinsser Bull’s Eye) and following that up with Benjamin Moore Advance (two coats) which is a cabinet-grade paint. I’ve heard that it’s possible to get great results with a good all-around latex paint, but I have always used Advance and really like it. I use the satin finish.

As for the two coats of primer, most people will probably tell you to just do one. In my experience though, I have just found that the final result looked just a bit uneven if I skipped that second primer coat.

Supplies You Need to Paint Baseboards

Should I Sand Baseboards Before Painting?

Let’s talk about sanding. I would advise sanding your baseboards before getting started with taping them off and painting them.

This step isn’t shown in the video since I skipped it on the most recent baseboards I painted because they were already so dull with age. I just went for it and they are holding up great.

However, even a light sanding with a simple sanding block will give you a nice finish and help the paint adhere well. This is especially important if your baseboards are new or still very glossy.

ALWAYS use caution when sanding because of the possible presence of lead. Please learn more about lead from the EPA (linked here) before sanding in your home.

You also may need to fill nail holes before starting. That I did do, though again it’s not filmed in the video.

How to Paint Baseboards around Carpet Step by Step

Watch the videos or check out the more detailed instructions below!

How to Paint Baseboards around Carpet

Learn how to paint baseboards around carpet (no need to remove them!) with my supply list, helpful tips, and a step-by-step video tutorial.
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  • Tear off several small (about 8-12”) pieces of 1.5” (or wider) painter’s tape.
  • Align the tape along the baseboard with about 1/4”-1/2” of tape folded up along the edge of the baseboard. This amount will vary a bit depending on your carpet/baseboard situation.
  • With a plastic spackle knife, gently push that excess edge down slightly underneath the baseboard.
  • Tape edge will be between the board and carpet. Continue until the entire length is pushed down between the baseboards and carpet.
  • Tape the entire section of your baseboards this way.
  • Load up your brush with primer and push it along the top edge of the baseboard, working in small sections. No need to tape off that top edge if you are careful!
  • Continue painting with primer all the way down to the taped edge. There will technically be a tiny edge of baseboard that will remain unpainted when you later pull the tape away, but the carpet will completely cover that.
  • Apply another coat of primer (optional) and two coats of Benjamin Moore Advance. The Advance paint requires a 16 hour wait between coats, so plan accordingly.
  • Before your last coat has completely dried (must be dry to the touch to prevent smudging!), push the tape away from the baseboards and down towards the carpet to break the seal formed by the paint.
  • Tip: If your layers of paint are too thick, use a utility knife (or a metal spackle knife) to gently score the paint and break the seal.
  • Pull away the piece of tape. This can be super easy or a bit of a challenge depending on the day!
  • If you have any little ridges left where the tape was, I like to grab a piece of fine sandpaper (like around 220 grit) and buff away any imperfections. And you're all done! Enjoy your freshly painted baseboards!
Painted white baseboards in a nursery with overlaid text, "Paint Baseboards (How to Paint Around Carpet)"

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