Painting baseboards with carpet is a fairly common task for a painter.

The problem, however, is that in my years of painting, I have seen what should be a fairly easy and straightforward painting project turn out awful when done wrong.

I’ve seen contractors and homeowners alike who have painted baseboards in rooms with carpet end up with dust, hair, and other junk in the paint finish. I’ve seen carpet painted and stuck to the baseboard, and I’ve seen globs of paint end up on the carpet.

All of this is easily avoidable with the right prep work. Best of all, it’s not complicated and doesn’t take that long to do it right!

Here’s how to paint baseboards with carpet, the right way!

Materials Needed

How To Prep A Room For Painting Baseboards With Carpet

White Trim Painted On Carpet

The real trick to protecting the carpet and keeping it away from the baseboard while you paint it is in how you tape off the carpet.

The Wrong Way

Most people will line their roll of tape right up with the baseboard and begin taping off the carpet. When they’re done painting, they find out that the paint easily got in between the tape and the trim and got into and on the carpet.

This is shown in the illustration above.

A secondary problem you will have when prepping this way is that after you pull up your tape, you will see base spots on the baseboard. The paint doesn’t go down far enough to cover all the visible baseboards.

The last problem this method is that it will allow hair, dust, and debris to work its way up into the finish on the baseboard.

How To Paint Baseboards With Carpet The Right Way

Room with carpet, painted trim and painted walls

Here is the way that I paint baseboard on carpet and achieve a perfect finish every time with absolutely no paint getting onto the carpet.

Vacuum Around All The Baseboard

Dust, debris and especially hair (human and pet) find its way into the corners and edges of a room. I start off by using a shop vac and really getting all of the debris out of the first 4 inches of carpet around the baseboard.

Run Your Tape ONTO The Baseboard

This step may not make sense at first but bear with me.

Determine how thick of carpet you’re dealing with, or how far the bottom of the baseboard is below the top of the carpet. Usually, this is about a half an inch.

Run your 2″ masking tape roughly 1/2 an inch up onto the baseboard. You may find these easiest to do in two-foot strips rather than trying to run your tape along an entire wall at once.

DO NOT press the tape onto the baseboard, we’re not done with the tape yet.

Tuck The Tape Under The Baseboard

With one hand, grab the edge of the tape that is farthest away from the baseboard and lightly pull it further away from the baseboard until the edge of the tape that was touching the baseboard pulls away from the trim.

Next, take a 2″ or a 4″ flat putty knife and gently tuck the tape under the baseboard.

You’ll find this to be a very slow process on your first wall, but once you get the hang of it, it will go much faster for you.

What this does is it gets the tape down under the baseboard and completely separates it from the carpet.

You’ve created an impossible route for the paint to get to the carpet and for carpet debris to get to the paint.

You’ve also made it so that you can easily paint your baseboard all the way down to the bottom of the board so that no un-painted surfaces are visible when the project is done.

Want to know what type of tape to use for every painting project? Check out our post on The Right Painter’s Tape For Every Project.

Run Extra Tape And Carpet Shield For Extra Protection

Once I have a strip of 2″ masking tape tucked under the baseboard around the entire room, I run an additional strip of 2″ tape to give myself roughly 3″ of working space for my brushwork or spraying.

After the second strip of tape is down, I like to run a roll of carpet shield around the room so that I don’t end up with paint splatter or footprints of paint getting on the carpet. This also keeps debris from the carpet away from my painting area.

My final step is only when spraying and that involves draping the remainder of the room in plastic. When brushing, this is completely unnecessary.

In Conclusion

There is no reason to make this easy task any more complicated, so that is all I have for this post.

I have already covered the actual process for painting baseboard, trim and cabinets. So, if you would like to read up on how to properly complete the rest of your baseboard painting task, check out one of the links below:

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My name is Ryan and I've been a professional painter since 2001. I started in production painting where I would spray out multiple townhomes a day. In 2004 I started my own business and painted new construction, commercial and offered pre-finishing services. In 2012 I decided to niche down and offered cabinet refinishing services and furniture refinishing. These days I run a small business with my 20-year-old son and I try to share all of the painting how-to knowledge I've learned as well as the painting business and marketing knowledge I can here on DIY Painting Tips.

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