Monday, September 8, 2014

How to create a flawless baseboard...

Today I decided to do an instructional blog post about baseboards.  You know, that bottom part of your wall that you're always trying to hide because dust collects on it.  Oh, that old thing?  That's the one!  Let's give it a little bit of a makeover, shall we?

Since we were starting from scratch at my house, we ripped out all of the old carpet first.  If you want to keep your existing flooring, I'd strongly suggest covering the area you're working on with cardboard or plastic wrap.  Even an old sheet would work!  (Try to avoid using old fitted sheets.  Speaking from experience here...they're a pain because they keep pulling themselves back up into a ball.  VERY entertaining if someone other than yourself is being forced to work with it as a drop cloth.  I know, I'm a bad girl.  Heheheh!)

 This is what the old baseboards looked like after painting.  Pretty uninspiring.
Look at all those cracks and crevices where dust can get into.  Doesn't that just look like a joy to clean time and time again?  No?  I'm with you on that one!  So let's fix it!

 I went around the room and placed some painters tape just above the part where the quarter round (The rounded piece of wood on the top.  Don't feel bad, I only learned what that was when I started this project.  We're learning and growing together!) meets the wall and on top of the quarter round itself just below where it meets the wall.  
Using a caulking gun fitted with a tube of white caulk and armed with a roll of paper towels and a bowl of soapy water, my husband caulked in between the two pieces of tape.  With his finger dipped in the soapy water to keep the caulk from sticking to it, he forced the caulk into the crack thus filling that dust collecting chasm!  Then he wiped the excess caulk on to a paper towel.  (There will be excess.  There's just no way around it.  I've tried being thrifty with it, but you still end up wasting a little no matter how careful you are.)  He also caulked in the corners and any where else where we saw a noticeable crack.
 Once the caulk was laid into place and given a little bit of time to dry, we went around and removed all the tape.  Look, Ma!  No more cracks!

The next day when the caulk was completely dry, (You really only have to wait a few hours, but we did this to all of the rooms.  So we spent one day just caulking.) we repainted the baseboards. The above picture was taken before we painted.  Doesn't it look so much better already, though?

Here's the final product with the new carpet installed!

Not too hard, right?  It's a great weekend project to refresh those neglected baseboards!

Pro tips:
  • Why did you use painter's tape?  Couldn't you have just caulked it without the tape? 
    • Yes, we could have.  If you have a smaller area to caulk, I would say to lose the tape.  Since we chose to caulk all the baseboards throughout the house, we used the tape because it allowed us to make less passes to get all the excess caulk off of the walls.  The excess could be left on the tape to dry rather than having to make so many wiping passes to get it all off of the wall.  It was one swipe and we were onto the next spot, rather than going over and over it again.
  • My tape keeps coming off of the wall!  How did you get yours to stick so well?
    • First of all, make sure that your wall is well dusted.  Bust out that vacuum and use that hose attachment!  Then wipe down your wall with rubbing alcohol.  The alcohol removes any oils from the wall that could be keeping your tape from sticking.  (It's similar to what they do at a nail salon when they prep your nails for a manicure.  They lotion up your hands and nails in the beginning.  Then before they put the new polish on they use nail polish remover on your nails to remove any lotion residue.  Thus giving the polish a nice clean surface to stick to!)  Lastly, always have a clean putty knife handy!  Place the tape against the wall and stick it down.  Then use the putty knife, keeping the edge flat to the wall, and run it along the line of tape.  This secures it down and removes any air bubbles that could have formed beneath the tape.  This is an excellent tip for paint prepping as well!
  • If you already painted, how did you paint just the baseboards?  Won't there be a line between the two paint jobs?
    • Remember to feather out your paint.  Paint the baseboard and then starting from where the baseboard is connected to the wall, lightly pull your brush up the wall.  Most the paint will be near the baseboard and just a very thin coat will be going up the wall.  This is called feathering.  It helps to blend the two paint jobs together so you don't just have one line starring at you as a reminder that you painted it on two separate occasions.
Let me know if you have any questions!  I'd be more than happy to answer them.  Also if you have a pro tip, go ahead and leave it in the comment section.  I love learning new tips and tricks of the trade!

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