How to Replace Baseboard Moulding

The saga continues in the master bedroom redo. We last told you we had finally got it painted, and we did it without taping anything off. The reason for that was we had planned on putting in new 5” baseboards and 3” door and window trim.

I can’t say that putting in new baseboards is much easier then just cleaning them and applying a new coat of paint, but the before and after shots can make the swap-out method tempting.
PhotobucketI started out with a hammer and 1” wide chisel, and began to pry the moulding loose. Getting the chisel wedged between the baseboards and the wall wasn’t the most difficult part – it was getting the claw side of the hammer at just the right angle that I could then use it as a lever to pry the nails out with it.
PhotobucketThey say that a project like this has to get uglier before it gets better, and I tell ya, it’s the truth.

Let me stop for a moment for a small flashback in time. Back in the San Diego house, our first remodel, we had our introductory experience with baseboards and trim. It turned out to be easier then I had planned, but truth be told, it didn’t have that professional finish I was after. You could kinda tell where the nail holes were and the paint lines from brush painting left more to be desired.

We started off this home in much the same way, but finished the basement by first painting the moulding, and then pneumatically nailing the baseboards in place. It was an improvement, but still didn’t have that finished look.

So as we started on the project in the master bedroom I knew we needed to try something different. Far be it from me to actually search online to find out how the pros do it, you see, much like asking for directions when you’re “lost”, some things will eventually work themselves out. I got right to work thinking about possible solutions.
PhotobucketAfter making a whole lotta 45 degree cuts both for the door/window trim and the baseboard moulding with my trusty miter saw I came up with our idea. I decided that the best way to get the finish I wanted was to use the pneumatic spray gun. And to get the look without nail holes, we’d have to fill them with putty before applying the paint. And to use a spray gun in the house, I’d have to hog tie Whitney first.
PhotobucketActually, we found something that worked better. We taped painter’s plastic from midway up the wall down to the corner of the floor, and across the floor about 4 feet. We made such a wide area since we weren’t sure how much control we’d have over the paint spray attachment. We decided to nail the moulding right over the plastic, figuring we could easily tear it away once we were through.
PhotobucketWith the moulding cut and ready to go, we found ourselves nailing in no time once we had completed taping. I was careful to only put nails where the stud finder indicated there would be support for it. I also tried to place the nails under the small lip on the moulding so that a person, while standing, couldn’t even see where it had been nailed. Whitney followed me with our trusty wood filler to fill in the hole created by the nails. The wood filler dried so quickly that I was able to follow with my first application of paint without much more then 30 minutes delay.
PhotobucketAs long as I had securely taped the flimsy plastic so it didn’t blow into my wet paint, the method worked great! The coat was evenly applied and avoided brush strokes altogether. You couldn’t even tell where the nail holes had been. I applied two coats of white semi-gloss to all the baseboards and trim.
PhotobucketOnce dried, we simply took a razor blade and lightly scored along the top and bottom of the moulding, and removed the plastic. The gaps at the top of the moulding were filled with white caulk, and to me the entire project has that professional blemish-free smoothness.
PhotobucketI think the room improved drastically with the new trim. Just so you can see the difference, here is the before, during, and after.

What do you think? Was it worth it?

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  1. Awesome! Great technique…you now have me wanting a nail gun AND a spray paint gun!
    p.s. for some reason I’m not getting your feeds in my google reader. I unsubscribed and re-subscribed, so I’m hoping that fixes it…just wondering if anyone else is having the same problem??

  2. Holy cow! When do you find time to DO all this stuff, you crazy kids?? The trim looks fantastic!

  3. that is so fantastic looking def worth it ! I need to get my MR to try to do stuff like this

    – KAT –

  4. Wow! That looks really top notch. Now, if you really want to prove yourselves there is a certain house in Los Angeles in need of some serious baseboard help…….

  5. What a great redo–you make it look easy! Thanks for linking up at Beyond the Picket Fence.

  6. I LOVE your new baseboards. The baseboards/trim in our house are a dark walnut stain, but I so want crisp white trim. Can you tell me what brand/model of paint sprayer and nail gun you bought? Also, did you have to sand in between the two coats of paint?

  7. Hi,
    Just wondering with the plastic sheet you used, does that stay behind the new skirting boards? and if so did you have a problem using the razor blade with the chance it could go through the plasterboard?

    • Hi Brianna,
      Yes, part of the plastic remains behind the new boards. We didn’t have a problem removing the excess with a razor blade afterwards either -just don’t press too hard! Plus once you caulk the top of the boards it covers any spots that might need it :)


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