Today I faced a minor challenge and found a good way to overcome it. It has to do with making smooth paint lines.  Let’s get a little background on the situation first.

If you’ve read this blog, you know this little house in Wendell was built in 1944, and has seen a lot of changes in the past few years. When I moved in every wall save one, the back bedroom, was covered in wallpaper, some of it very old, some newer, but all of it needing replacement. Getting rid of the wallpaper was a nightmare. Some of it was stuck on so tightly it was pulling part of the wall off with it. Then, the baseboards had been painted multiple times over the years.

Between the two, a rough, bare wall, and very old baseboards, as well as some settling and shifting over the years, has meant the edges where the baseboards join the walls, as well as doorframes, are unpredictably uneven in places.

True, if I were a contractor, I would likely replace all the baseboards, and I probably will at a later time, but for now it’s imperative I get this house ready before cold weather. So the old ones stay.

All right, I have rough, uneven baseboards due to sloppy painting in the past and being painted over and over (lots of buildup) and I have walls not always mating to the baseboards in a smooth way, plus being rough themselves in places.

I tried the tried and true means of using blue masking tape to edge the walls for painting. And when I peeled it off, I had quite a bit of bleed. Here in this first picture you see an example of this.


This is certainly not acceptable. How can I fix this?

Well, as it turned out, a simple mistake led to a solution. At one spot, I did not use tape, thinking I could hold the brush steady.  I was right, I could, but the brush itself has a certain “spring” to it and the bristles moved upwards slightly as I painted, adding paint to the wall.

When I pulled the tape off earlier I was seeing what you see above, and then it hit me. At that other section, accidentally moving the brush against the wall had at least created a perfectly straight line. So, I realized an intentional bleed line could create an excellent, smooth line. Instead of painting just the edge of the baseboard, I could also paint a very small section of the wall white as well.

To do it it simply means dipping the brush into the paint no more than an eighth of an inch, the holding it at about a forty-five degree angle and moving smoothly and quickly along the top of the baseboard, allowing a small amount to touch the wall itself. This next photo shows how much more precise the line looks after doing that.

See the difference?  What was before an ugly, uneven line is now perfectly smooth, and it would take close inspection for one to realize one is looking at the wall painted white as well as the baseboards.

You can also see in the photo on the bottom left one of the rough spots that was giving me trouble, and yes, I will have to go back to fix this. There are many, many such spots here and there, but that’s part of the charm of an old house, anyway. They are not perfect!

No additional money has been spent. No need to, I’m still working on the trim!

Previous total:     $174.00

New total:             $174.00

Until the next post….  Happy home repairs!