caulking baseboard for painting resized 600Painting is all about the details. Preparing the surface, caulking, and finally painting gives a needed change.  When you are painting a wall one color, and baseboard a different color, caulking is crucial to getting a crisp line the separates the colors.

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The mark of great forethought here is the area where the two different paint colors meet. It is here that people’s eyes are drawn to see the contrast. The line separating the two colors should be definite and straight with no overlap. Caulking is used to accomplish that.

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The less caulking you use the better. At the top of the baseboard, lay down a thin bead of white paintable caulking. Do this before you begin painting either surface. Use a wet finger and lightly smooth out the caulking along where the top of the baseboard meets the wall. Use one continuous motion along the top without lifting your finger, or you will see this when the paint dries. Let the caulking dry.

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I usually paint the baseboard first and let the paint overlap onto the bottom of the wall. You don’t need to be perfect here because the wall paint will cover it up. Once the baseboard paint dries, use blue painter’s tape and make sure the edge of the tape falls on the caulked surface. The tape will stand out horizontally which is why I like to paint the baseboard first.

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You want to remove the tape before the paint on the wall dries, but after the paint sets up. In other words, if you pull the tape too soon, you may get wet paint that fouls your line. If you pull the tape too late, you may pull some of the dried paint off with it. Generally wait 15 minutes and test an area. If the tape comes up cleanly without pulling any paint off with it, keep removing it.

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