Should You Remove Baseboards Before Painting?

Should You Remove Baseboards Before Painting?


Wonder if you should remove baseboards before painting? That is a very good question many ask themselves, painting interiors. Giving you reasons when baseboards really need to be removed before painting. Also reasons if they do not need to be removed.

Typically a home has baseboards throughout entire home. Baseboards are attached to the wall surface, near the floor. Acting as a decorative trim piece, covering bottom edge of wall.


Wondering if you can leave trim in place, or need to remove it, having this valuable information beforehand will save you many hours, much labor, and potential money.

This question comes up, just about half of all interior jobs our painters here in Denver tackles. Every job is a little different to some extreme. Differences with interior paint jobs include just moving in, getting ready to sell, or just updating home, with a fresh new look.

Which ever reason for painting interior, baseboards, door casings, crown, must be considered. Reason for this consideration is trim in a home is the most enjoyed portions, standing out in a home.

Many times a client wishes to paint only the walls, or walls & ceiling. Thinking at first, possibly saving money, not painting trim. However more cases than  not, after rest of home is painted, trim looks gungy, needing that done after the fact. Knowing it is best to know beforehand, so complete interior is painted in proper sequence.

Without further ado, we'll get into the meat of this article, guiding you when, or when not to remove those baseboards before painting. Also telling you what you need to do, if you wind up replacing them.

Reasons To Remove Baseboards Before Painting


  • Remove baseboards if wanting a brand new different type look
  • Baseboards need removal if damaged too much
  • New flooring may require baseboard removals
  • Plan total remodeling makeover, painting afterwards

Remove Baseboards If Wanting Complete Different New Type


Baseboard moldings vary is shapes, widths, also heights. Mostly made out of wood, but some variances are seen with plastics. I personally would remove a plastic baseboard in my home, installing real wood, as it's more professional looking, also more paint friendly.

Other examples of wanting an entirely different baseboard molding is if you have a painted baseboard, wishing for a stained wood type. The old saying, "Once you paint, you can never go back", is ever so prevalent when speaking of baseboards.

If you have a painted baseboard, wanting a more natural stained wood finish, you'd better start looking at which molding you'd like having installed. Because trying to strip paint on baseboards, getting completely removed would be silly, when buying brand new trim the easiest route to take.

Which Style Of Baseboard You Choosing?

If you're OK with your current trim package inside your home, just painting a Sherwin-Williams™ Pure White 7005 maybe just what you needed to brighten everything up.

Baseboards Need Removal If Damaged Too Much


Baseboards showing too much damage really needs to be removed, and replaced with new. Especially if trim is a man-made product. Some are pressed wood, not allowing to sand.

If water damage has occurred in say the utility room, or bathrooms around or near the tub, it'd be a time-saver just pulling up trim, replacing with new of same type.

What Cause Your Damaged Base Trim?

Believe you me, I've seen a smorgasbord of these exact examples, painting over 40 years. But what's neat is once updated, removing trim, it looks like it did brand new, with no hint of damage before.

If too difficult to fix, or repair, just replace with new is my motto.

New Flooring May Require Baseboard Removal


Installing new flooring, height becomes an issue with baseboards if flooring is going underneath trim.

If new flooring thickness is less than before, can always install a quarter-round piece of trim covering the crack.

If new flooring is taller than before, wanting to go underneath base, base will need to be lifted up, removed.

What Kind Of Flooring Are You Installing?

Using a tape measure, adding all thicknesses, adhesives, & underlayment of new flooring seeing where baseboards are related to current trim. You'll need to do this as accurately and before new flooring is laid down. Many times base needs to be removed before new flooring is installed, but every flooring type is different.

Plan Total Remodeling Makeover


If you are planning on doing a total makeover, or a fix-n-flip, tearing out many walls, you might want to consider replacing all areas that covers.

You can try salvaging baseboards to reuse, as long as you are able to purchase new trim matching exactly. Because no matter how careful removing, you'll find yourself at Lowe's™ or Home Depot™ getting additional.

How Much More Base Did You Need To Buy?

Adding additional walls will diffidently require more trim. Just about every time redoing floor plans for a makeover, adding or removing closets, pony walls, or partitions will need to removal all baseboards for those areas.

These examples are what we've experienced many times needing to remove baseboards before painting.

Reasons Not To Remove Baseboards Before Painting


  • No need to remove baseboard painting walls different color
  • Do not remove baseboards, keeping same flooring
  • No baseboard removal if new caulking needed
  • No baseboards need removed, wanting different finish

No Need To Remove Baseboard Painting Walls Different Color


Great news, you don't need to conduct baseboard removal, painting walls a different color. Matter of fact, painting walls different than trim brings out, highlights trim for a more professional painting scheme.

Speaking of interior paint schemes, generally most interiors look best having all trim painted same color throughout entire home. Walls of course recommended a different color, also paint sheen. Ideally, trim painted a shinier finish than walls, ceilings, not having to remove before painting them.

What Paint Scheme Do You Plan?

Leaving them attached to the walls, allows to apply a new fresh coat of caulk before getting them painted. However, it's always best to leave caulking to the pros, doing both, caulking, & painting them.

Do Not Remove Baseboards, Keeping Same Flooring


Retaining same flooring, no need to remove baseboards. Properly covering all flooring from any paint drips or splatters. Using masking tape, brown masking paper, along with plastic sheathing will insure your flooring is well protected while paint is applied.

If replacing carpet with carpet, or tile with tile, no need to remove baseboards first. Must let you know removing flooring is a great time to paint baseboards, before reinstalling new flooring.

Because not only perfect time to paint woodwork, not having flooring in place, but adds to the ease, not having to carefully mask, protecting flooring first before painting. But in no way needing to remove baseboards, keeping same flooring systems.

No Baseboard Removal If New Caulking Needed

No baseboard removal if new caulking needed

If you are caulking baseboards, you do not need to remove them first. Just the opposite, you are best served having them in place, attached to walls securely first. Once attached, caulking them to walls, smoothing line, before painting.

Also this caulk line or joint acts as a great place to use as a straight even paint line.

Do You Have A Dripless Caulking Gun?

If removing baseboards from walls, great tip, highly recommend you take a very sharp razor knife cutting caulk bead, before prying boards from walls. If not, you risk damaging drywall also wall texture.

Actually, best having all woodwork installed before caulking, then painting. We have an interior paint job here in Denver commencing next month. A total remodel, owner asked me if we could paint walls & ceiling, coming back to paint trim. Knowing we must caulk trim to walls after-the-fact causes much more time, labor, & expense. But giving her options which way she'd like to go.

No Baseboards Need Removed, Wanting Different Paint Finish

No baseboards need removed, wanting different finish

Updating a home, switching from a stained base to White woodwork finish, not necessary to  remove them first.

Most importantly, you'll want to prime all stained wood first with a high bonding primer. Gripping primer will bond to varnished stained wood, before applying latex enamel so it doesn't come off from a rubber guard of a vacuum cleaner!

What Do You Plan For Finishes?

Same thing applies to all woodwork trim in a home like handrails, mantels, crown, raised 6 panel wall paneling. None of this needs to be removed wanting a different paint finish.

Best Interior Paints for Trim Near You

In Closing;

Hope this assists you with next interior painting project to undertake. Helping determine if baseboards really need to be removed or kept in place. Giving you most memorable experiences our painters have encountered, painting interiors around the Denver, CO. area.

Realizing every job is a little different, so your exact specifications will need consideration. Whether it's in Seattle WA. Chicago IL. Dallas TX. or Miami FL. every interior has same basic building materials.

If you enjoyed reading, please comment, share, and/or ping below!


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