Painting edges is a challenge at the best of times, but when you’ve got your lovely fluffy carpet on one side, and your beautifully finished walls on the other, stress levels reach boiling point!
How, then, are we supposed to paint our trims without smearing paint all over the shop?
Well, it comes down to about 20% proper tools, 20% proper process, and 60% patience and care. Now, I know that sounds intimidating, but don’t fret…
I’m going to guide you through the process in a digestible step-by-step format here today!
Painting trim with carpet is all about protecting both your carpet and your wall before even a lick of paint hits your brush.
As they say, prepare for the worst, and hope for the best. Your setup should keep your vulnerable areas safe even if your entire paint can tips over.
What You’ll Need For The Job
In order to paint your trim without spilling a drop, nay, a fleck of paint on your carpet, you’ll need the following bits and bobs:
- Fine-grit sandpaper — If your skirting board is old or has received multiple layers of paint.
- A dust mask — Only if you’ll be sanding
- Paint of your choosing
Painting A Trim With Carpet: A Step-By-Step Guide
It’s actually super easy to paint trim with carpet neatly, but it’s by no means a quick job. Take it slowly, following these steps in sequence, and I’m certain the results will be satisfactory.
Step 1 — Mask The Wall Side
Although this article is geared towards protecting your carpet, you don’t want to neglect your wall. Use some of your painter’s tape to mask off the drywall directly above your trim.
If you’d like a bit more protection, run another length of tape just above the first, but be warned… painter’s tape doesn’t offer comprehensive protection.
Significant slips can lead to paint bleeding through the material and onto your wall. So, paint carefully, avoiding coming into contact with the tape wherever possible.
Step 2 — Sanding (If Necessary)
Older or heavily painted trims are probably a little worse for wear. In order to prime them for optimal bonding, a light sanding is in order.
Don your dust mask, and use a sheet of 100-grit sandpaper to make gentle strokes back and forth along your trim.
The goals are to remove existing layers of paint and leave some minor teeth in the wood to give the paint something to hold on to.
Step 3 — Cleaning Your Trim
A clean surface is always essential for a good coat of paint, so before you pop the top on your paint can, grab a dry microfiber cloth, and run it along your trim to pick up any loose dust and debris on the surface.
Next, dampen a new microfiber cloth and rub your trim down, removing any dirt or stuck debris. Leave your trim to dry for at least an hour.
While your trim is airing off, hoover the sanding debris from the carpet.
Step 4 — Laying Your Drop Cloth
Grab your drop cloth and lay it down so it runs along the wall you’ll be working on. It doesn’t have to be snug against the trim, as we’ll be adding more localized protection in a moment.
The drop cloth is largely to protect the greater carpet. It will catch any paint flicks and spills that would otherwise catch you off guard.
You don’t necessarily have to use a proper painter’s drop cloth if you don’t have one. Any plastic sheet or nonporous material will be a fine stand-in. Even trash bags will do in a pinch!
It’s not a massive problem if whatever you’re using is on the smaller side. Simply shift it along as you go.
Do be careful when doing so, though, as this is when we tend to let our guard down. If you’ve spilled any paint on your protective material, it can easily transfer to your carpet as you move it along your wall.
Step 5 — Mask The Carpet Side
Now’s the time to mask off the carpet side, and you’ll do so by sticking half the tape to the drop cloth, then sticking the other side to the carpet, with a little bit of excess (about ½”) resting on the baseboard itself. But don’t stop there!
Take a putty knife, and use it to push the excess beneath the trim, thus eliminating any gap between the trim and the carpet.
Step 6 — Using A Paint Guard
As mentioned earlier, painter’s tape isn’t a foolproof safety measure, so just to be super sure that your carpet comes out of this unscathed, use a paint guard to provide an extra layer of protection.
Push the long edge into the gap between the trim and your carpet, just as you did with the excess tape. Slide it along as you move from section to section.
If at any point you’re going to stop using the guard, be sure to wipe it down with a rag to prevent any stray paint from getting somewhere it shouldn’t.
Step 7 — Preparing Your Paint
Open up as many windows and doors as possible for ventilation.
Place your paint can and tray on your drop cloth, use a flat-head screwdriver to gently pry the lid off the can, then use a mixing stick to stir the paint up.
Pour in however much you’ll need for the section, making sure to wipe away any wayward drips from the lip of the can with your brush.
Step 8 — Let The Painting Commence!
Dip your angled brush into the paint, tap off any excess on the dry side of the tray, then apply back-and-forth strokes to the middle of the section of trim you’re working on.
Once you’ve painted the central bulk of the section, paint the wall side of the trim, holding your brush at a 45° angle.
Ideally, you’ll work on 30 cm sections at a time.
Step 9 — Paint The Carpet Side
Give your brush another dip and tap, then paint the carpet side of the baseboard above your paint guard.
Paint with your strong hand and hold the guard with your less dominant hand.
Move around the perimeter of the room until your trim is completely painted, then leave it to dry for about 3 hours.
Step 10 — Remove The Tape
Once your paint is fully dry, gently peel away the painter’s tape, and voilà — Job done!
See what I mean? It’s an easy job, but you have to take it easy, using careful paint strokes and only painting small sections at a time.
Otherwise, both your wall and carpet will end up looking like a Jackson Pollock. For best results, put aside the better part of a day, and proceed with patience.