Painting Walls – Masking Tape

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 17,032
    Bill Nunn, Painting Consultant for The Family Handyman Magazine, shows how to mask baseboards and any other features that you want to protect from spatter or paint using tape.

    Bill Nunn: Hi! I am Bill Nunn, Painting Consultant for The Family Handyman Magazine; the leading magazine for Do-it-Yourselfers. Toady we're painting walls, interior walls. And, an important step in the process of getting these walls ready for paint is now to mask our baseboards and any other features that we want to protect from spatter or paint.

    But first, I'd like to explain that there are different tapes to choose from. I'm sure you're familiar with this regular masking tape. It's a very good tape, it has a fairly high tack to it which means it's quite sticky, and it's a sturdy paper stock. It's good for a lot of situations. You mustn't leave it on though for very long, it can't stay on a surface for several days or it'll bond to surface too tight.

    Here is the other end of the spectrum. This is a green tape that's specially made with a polymer infused into the tape. When it gets wet with paint, when you get paint up against it, the edge will swell up and seal and make a tighter seal against the surface that you've got it adhered to. So it comes at a premium price but it's a very nice tape.

    Somewhere in the middle lies our blue painters tape and I think we'll use this for our job today. It adheres well, it's slightly lower tack, has a nice flexible paper stock and it can be left on for two or three days if you have to. Now we'll also need to mask a blade, a putty knife blade. Once I put the tape on I like to just lightly blade it down and make sure that it's adhered really well and tight to the surface. I also have my dusting brush with me, an old paint brush works just fine. I also have a pair of scissors here which I use for cutting the masking tape when I come to a corner.

    Let's begin to mask this baseboard. We'll start first by dusting it off, so we get good adhesion with our tape and then lay our tape up here. I like to work from left to right, so it's laying our tape up on the base like so. Smooth it along with your fingers. When I come to a inside corner like this, I like to take my scissors and just trim the edge or cut it clean which gives you a square end to the tape to start up with. Even though you don't get quite in the corner sometimes you've got a square piece of tape to start up with again which fits neatly into the corner, and you can start off on your next wall like so.

    From here I'll just blade it down lightly with my putty knife which makes sure that it seals well against the surface of the baseboard. So just continue all the way around the room and mask your baseboard as we've been doing, just bedding it down lightly with your blade as you go. You can see here our inch-and-a-half wide tape is hanging out nicely over the baseboard and actually out over the canvas. So it's going to protect from any spatter that drops to the floor.

    Something else you might like to do is cover the outlet and the switches to protect them from spatter. You can do that by just cutting a length of tape, and adhering it to the side of the outlet, and wrapping it around like this and that kind of protects the edges and the face at the same time.

    Generally speaking, I won't mask around a window or a door, partly because I've had a lot of practice and it's easy for me to cut in with a brush. I seem to like the more natural line that the brush gives against the molding. But if you feel more confident with masking tape on the edge, that's great way to go too. Follow these tips for masking and you'll be ready to paint.