Taping trim may sound like one of the most basic parts of painting. But in reality, taping can be one of the most difficult steps to master and can really make or break a paint job. If your tape is not tight to the trim, paint will leak onto your woodwork. If your tape climbs up the wall, you will see bare spots on your wall. Read more to find out more of the problems that may occur as well as how to tape accurately and effeciently.

This post was taken from Capstone Painting’s training manual, which was developed from 2008-2009.

How To Tape Trim Like A Professional

Tools Needed:

  • 1.5″ masking tape
  • 5 in 1 painters tool
  • Dust brush
  • 6″ mud knife
  • Optional: Rag & denatured alcohol

1. Clean The Trim

  • Before taping all trim should be clean and free from foreign matter. If the trim is new, often a dusting brush will be sufficient.
  • Take the dusting brush and sweep all dust off of the trim always going in the same direction. Pay extra attention in corners, as the dust can collect in the corners.
  • If the trim is old and has some grime on it, a rag with denatured alcohol may be necessary after dusting with a brush.
  • Take the rag and rub it back and forth on the trim to remove any grease or other substances.
  • Reason: This is done in order to get good adhesion when taping the trim and prevent bleed through of paint onto the trim.

2. Tape The Trim

  • Expectation: tape should not go up past the trim and onto the wall while no trim should be left showing.
  • When taping the trim, hold the roll of tape in your right hand. Your left hand will be used to press the tape firmly in place.
  • For a starting spot take three to four inches of tape and firmly press it into place.
  • Hold the roll of tape firmly against the wall while keeping your left hand holding the starter strip. While keeping the roll of tape pressed against the wall, unroll roughly 6” up onto the wall while rolling the tape backwards. Next slide the roll of tape down the wall until it meets up with the trim. The roll of tape should never leave the wall. This will help keep the tape perfectly between the wall and the trim.
  • Slide your left hand along the 6” of tape that were just put onto the trim to help adhere the tape to the trim.
  • When you get to a corner, take your 5 in 1 and pinch the tape firmly into the corner. With a quick motion, yank the tape away from the 5 in 1. This should create a clean, perfect cut in the corner and a great place to start your next piece of tape.
  • Tip: Tape should only be cut in the corners, never in the middle of the wall. Always use one long strip from one corner to the next. This will help with de-prep and help prevent bleed through.
  • Reason: this is done to keep paint off of the trim. This technique will help you develop speed and accuracy over time.

3. Press The tape.

  • Once you have taped an entire room. Take your 5 in 1 and go back to the beginning of the room to press the tape.
  • Place the long edge of your blade along the tape where it meets the wall. While pressing firmly slide your 5 in 1 along the tape.
  • Do this to every piece of tape.
  • Reason: This helps ensure that the tape is firmly stuck to the trim and will help prevent bleed through.

4. Remove the tape.

  • Expectation: No paint should be left on ANY trim. None of the walls original color can be seen.
  • Within 1 hour of finishing painting a room, you must remove the tape.
  • Pull one strip of tape at a time. While pulling pull at a 45 – 90 degree angle.
  • Once a piece of tape has been removed, check the trim for any paint. If there is paint on the trim, clean it immediately.
  • If the paint starts pull away from the wall, you will have to carefully cut the tape away from the wall with your 6” knife.
  • All tape should be thrown away into a garbage bag.
  • Reason: If the tape is removed within the hour, the paint is still soft. So if there is any paint on the trim, it can be removed easily. Also, the tape can be removed without the paint peeling off the wall if it has not had to much time to dry.

There you have it, how to tape trim like a professional!

If you are interested in finding out more about Capstone Painting or would like a free estimate please call us at 763-286-1543 or fill out our Free Estimate Form.

This information is copyrighted 2009 by Capstone Painting and may not be copied or distributed without written permission.

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