Author Options:

I need to repair and paint baseboards. Answered

My Sweetheart of a Lab has decided he loves the taste of baseboards.  He has chewed in areas all through my house.  I need to make repairs and paint.  Where do I start?


Racking quite possibly. 150-year-old house which experienced some nontrivial settling... and might have been built with not-quite-dried lumber in the first place; it was worker housing for a carriage factory.

The trim piece is called the shoe. Sometimes quarter round was used. The comment about the wall is to avoid tearing the wallboard paper. Many times painters caulk is used to seal the seam between the trim and the wall. And other times there are several layers of paint. If you pull off the trim the outer drywall paper layer comes off with the board which is a real pine to repair and make look right. If you use a knife to cut the caulk or paint it will help to avoid wall damage. No sense making a bad situation worse.

Seandogue has it about summed up. The only thing that I could add would be to be careful of the wall and floor finishes if you decide to replace the base boards. Older trim was often made from layers of differently shaped stock (i.e. base, cap, and shoe). These were normally nailed and/or glued together. To remove the trim from the wall and the pieces from each other, you may need to cut old caulk, paint, or varnish with a sharp knife or razor to avoid damaging the wallboard or plaster. The same holds true with floor coverings such as vinyl or tile flooring. Good luck.


7 years ago

If they are painted baseboards, the very best way I know to repair small areas is with Bondo automotive body putty.
Remove any loose splinters or chips, sand the painted area an inch or two beyond where the repair is to be made. Fill with the body putty, feathering the edges out onto the undamaged wood.
After it has cured, file and sand to match the contours of the base board and then repaint.
The Bondo is tough and durable and will withstand damage better than the natural wood.

I guess this is what we call skirting boards - i.e. at the bottom of your walls. How does the dog get to chew them?

Good point re patching with wood filler and repairing them.

Re reversing... Depends on whether they were installed with butt joints or mitered. If mitered, reversing isn't an option. Also, over the years they may have warped too much to reinstall even without reversing; I ran into that nuisance when I opened several walls in my living room and wanted the carpenter to reuse the baseboards he had removed (to avoid having to play with matching woods and stains).

I can't advise you on how to keep him from doing it again, but... Assuming he's been chewing at corners, how comforatable are you with doing fairly precise miter joints? If he's chewed the molding, how comfortable are you with doing coped joints?

If you can handle those, it's moderately straightforward... carefully pry they existing baseboard free, one piece at a time (it's nailed in place), clean up any damage you did to plaster and paint in the course of removing the baseboard, install the new baseboard and trim (websearch on "instlal baseboard molding" should find a number of sets of detailed instructions, such as http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,216118,00.html), paint the baseboard (taking appropriate precautions not to paint anything unintended).

Common molding profiles have been standardized pretty well for the past hundred years, so if you take a sample of what you've got now into the lumberyard you can probably find a good match... unless a prior homeowner did something odd and/or creative.

Obviously, make sure the dog does not have the opportunity to "help" with any of this. And if you've got an old house, you may want to think about whether you might have lead paint.

What material are they made of ?