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What Should I Paint First: Walls or Trim?

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Jake is calling in from Ontario, Canada with a painting question. How can we help you today?

    JAKE: Just calling because I’m doing some home renovations, obviously. And I’m starting to paint a room and I’m wondering what my best option is with regards to which order I should do things. So, I have baseboards on the walls. Just wondering if it’s a good idea to take the baseboards off before painting or should I paint with the baseboards on? And what order? Walls first? Baseboards first? Stuff like that.

    TOM: There’s an amazing invention called “masking tape,” Jake. And it does the trick with protecting those baseboards.

    So, obviously, you need to prep and prep is really the hardest part of painting. So getting the drop cloths down and getting everything masked off so you can separate the colors.

    Now, are the baseboards painted now?

    JAKE: They are, yeah. I just don’t like the color.

    TOM: So what I would do is I would paint the baseboards first. I would paint all the trim first, because you can be a little sloppy about that. You don’t have to mask them off. Because if it gets on the wall, you’re going to paint the wall anyway. So I would go ahead and paint the baseboards first and the trim. And then, after it dries for a couple of days, then I would mask it off very, very carefully so that you can paint the wall colors whatever color you want.

    Then, of course, the first step with wall painting is to do the – what we call the “cut-in,” where you paint along that masking-tape line and establish that edge around that border, around the walls and around the floor where the baseboard is. And then you can fill the rest in with a roller.

    JAKE: So with the masking tape, is it a good idea to remove the masking tape right away? Or should I let the paint dry and then remove it?

    TOM: Yeah, let it dry first.

    JAKE: OK.

    TOM: And if it takes – if it starts to peel a little bit of the paint off – sometimes that happens – just take a razor blade and just slice the sort of the paint that went between the masking tape and the wall.

    And there’s also different types of masking tape that have absorbents built into it that’s designed to specifically stop that from happening. One is FrogTape. A little bit more expensive but it has an absorbent built into it so it sort of gives you a much cleaner edge without that sort of rip-py kind of masking-tape edge that can happen sometimes.

    JAKE: OK. Perfect. Thanks very much.

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