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Strategies to paint baseboard and trim

8 December, 2022

What is your strategy for painting baseboards and trim? 

Jackson Hunt 
The Pink Guy Painting 
Sherman Oaks, California


  • Previously painted surfaces need to be scuff sanded to ensure proper adhesion, especially when applying latex paints to a surface previously painted with oil. Our tool of choice is the Surf Prep Sander 3x4, as this creates a dustless experience while contouring the moldings’ shape and depth. In some cases, you can use liquid TSP, but nothing substitutes the quality finish that sanding provides. 
  • Caulk all gaps. We use Top Gun 200. 
  • Fill all dents and imperfections with a putty or wood filler. We love 3M Bondo glazing putty for woodwork, or if we are in a pinch, we use Ready Patch as a good universal patching agent. 
  • We prefer, when possible, to spray all our trim and molding to create a perfect finish. We use a Titan 440 with a 310 or 210 tip depending on trim size. We mask the floor and the walls (if walls are previously painted) using masking paper and FrogTape. 
  • For production-grade projects, we love styrene acrylic products such as Advantage 900 by PPG, as it dries incredibly fast. 
  • For residential, we use Sherwin- Williams Emerald urethane, but are soon going to experiment with the Centurion 1K series as well. 

Jeremy Bramlett 
Premier Painting and Services 
Muncie, Indiana

So a few tips and tricks when painting trim and baseboards would be to apply FrogTape because of its paint bleed technology, then use a damp cloth to activate the powder in the tape. That helps lock in that tape and stops bleed through. For a crispy straight line, follow up by using a paintable acrylic caulk (clear for dark colors and white for whites or lighter colors). Run a very thin bead of caulk over the tape and wipe off the excess caulk. Then while the caulk is still wet, gently brush your trim or baseboards with your topcoat, overlapping onto the tape. 

While the paint is still wet, peel the tape at a 45-degree angle — allowing the paint to dry can cause it to bridge and pull the paint off the wall! Also, when painting baseboards and trim, always lay off your paint with a quality brush (we prefer an angle sash brush) for a smooth finish. Last but not least, always use a quality paint; we personally like Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel and Pro Classic Alkyd Enamel. 


Robert Carberry (not verified)

Of course it depends on the condition of the trim but if it’s a repaint and it’s in fairly OK condition we would hand sand what we have to do and then clean it with Krud Kutter. That stuff works great to paint over. We caulk just about everything and we fill the holes in with an easy sand filler. Not a big fan of wood filler or Bondo or Redi patch. We don’t use clear silicone but we will use slightly thinned latex polyurethane to seal the tape. Not always but when we feel it’s necessary. We basically use the brush bucket and mini roller method to paint all trim. Our go to is Benjamin Moore Aura semi gloss and we brush what we have to and we use a finer mini roller on as much as we can. That stuff levels great and it as close to a spray job as you can get without spraying it. No one ever complains about our method so I think it’s pretty good. Time is money so brushing everything is too slow plus the mini roller evens it all out and is also great for a second coat work. Then we mask it off and do the walls.

Fri, 12/23/2022 - 12:19 Permalink

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