Painting and Caulking Your Baseboards

Covington Homes recommends that the baseboards in your home be cleaned on a fairly regular basis. We also recommend to caulk and touch up paint the baseboards in your home on an annual basis. Even when you clean the baseboards monthly or every few months, the caulk gets dusty and dirty. Ideally removing the caulk and re-applying the caulk is the maintenance item that should be performed, but let’s face it- that’s a lot more work than reapplying caulk and painting over the existing caulk and paint.

So, here are some helpful steps to caulking and painting over the existing caulk and paint.

  • To get started take a look at your baseboards to see which color they are. And what color of caulk to use. Typically with painted baseboards the caulk is white and the paint is white, but you will need to check your specific baseboards.
  • Next, you will need to go to the local hardware or paint store to get the following materials
    • Caulk
    • Paint
    • Painters tape
    • Masking tape
    • Caulking gun (if you are a perfectionist, but you don’t have to have this)
    • Paint brushes
    • Drop cloths (or you can use old sheets or something of the sort)
    • Light sandpaper (this is if you have bumps or imperfections in the wood that you want to rub out and touch up with paint)
  • Go room by room or area by area (it’s up to you) and prep for the work:
    • Clean the surface of the adjacent wall, caulk AND the baseboard.
    • Lay the drop cloth directly under all areas that will be painted.
    • Take the masking tape and tuck it under the baseboard and lay it flat over the surface you want to protect. Or you can purchase brown packing paper and tuck it under the masking tape to create a larger area of protection. (The drop cloth is for paint spills and the masking tape and paper are for when you paint and don’t want to get it on the surface below the baseboard.)
    • Take the painters tape and tape it directly above the caulk line to complete the masking off of the area. NOTE that some inferior painters tapes allow the caulk and paint to bleed through them. Try testing a small area to see how your tape is working, as textured walls tend to allow for this sort of bleeding.
  • Paint the baseboards.
    • Be careful not to put too much paint on the brush to avoid clumping of paint.
    • Sand and areas that have imperfections on them that you would like to be rid of prior to painting.
    • Watch out for paint bleeding through tape above the baseboards. And make sure that your tape and paper below the baseboards are secured and don’t allow paint to get under them.
    • Apply paint with even brush strokes. Try to avoid painting the caulk.
  • Caulk the baseboards.
    • Once the paint is DRY it is ok to remove the masking and paper Below the baseboards. But LEAVE the masking on above the baseboards.
    • Cut the top of the caulk tube at an angle for clean and neat lines. Or use the caulking gun (which is preferable) to apply the caulk.
    • Carefully apply the caulk directly over the existing caulk. This will be directly at the top of the baseboard where it meets the wall. Use a steady hand to evenly apply the caulk and avoid excess amounts of caulk coming from the tube.
    • Wait until the caulk has dried and remove the masking above the baseboards.

Voila! Beautiful and crisp looking white baseboards!