As I said in my post yesterday, taping the carpet where it meets the wall is a good way to keep paint off of the carpet while painting the baseboards and door molding. Today I taped the stairway to prepare for painting. This is how it looked with one side done. I felt it was easier for me to focus on going up one side, around the hall, and then down the other. Let me tell you how I did it.
Let’s quickly review stair parts, just so you know what I’m talking about. The bit you step on is call the tread, the piece that runs up-and-down, the place that your toes hit as you walk up the stairs, is called the riser. The rounded front edge of the tread is called the bullnose. The carpeting you see in the photos is called elderly and could stand replacing or removal. For the time being I decided not to remove it because I’m concerned that the stairs will be noisy without carpet.
Tools needed: tape of course. I used ordinary blue painter’s tape that I had lying around. I don’t recommend getting the good stuff as those tend to have less glue so they come off of glass or walls more easily. You will also need a putty knife. I also have this handy gizmo that is supposed to help you paint straight lines when two colors meet. What it really does is enables me to make a better mess. I’m not sure if the problem lies in the gizmo or in the worker, but it was super helpful for this project. Amazon calls this sort of tool a “paint guide”.
Not pictured: Can of diet coke. This is probably the strongest sort of drink I recommend when doing work like this. Alcoholic beverages, while fun, can very easily lead to injury or poor decision-making and next thing you know you are pulling up the carpet, instead of painting around it.
The putty knife or purple gizmo allow you to get the tape between the wall and the carpet. If you have just a putty knife run it along the edge like this. You want to be certain not to damage your carpet so be tight against the wood and not cutting into the carpet or its pad. Make sure you get all the way down to the wood underneath.
Here’s the gizmo in action. The metal edge is sharper than the putty knife so again, be careful of your carpet. Insert in along the wall and wiggle to get down to the wood of the tread. Then tip the handle away from the wall to press the carpet fibers down. Notice that the length doesn’t allow you to do the riser but that’s okay, we have a putty knife too.
Now wiggle a piece of tape down into that void. Remember to pull your fingertips off of the stickum sideways or you will pull the tape out with them. Take note that my nails are clean and my hand looks well-groomed. This is a rarity!
After it is securely in the gap, fold the tape down onto the carpet, of course. I will advise using several small pieces of tape rather than trying to manage longer pieces, and certainly don’t try to do tread and riser in one go.
When wrapping the bullnose pull the end of the tape in and around to cup the curved edge. Then put smaller pieces to connect the bullnose tape to the ones on the riser and tread as needed. If you look at the top of the bullnose you can see marks in the old paint from when it was fresh paint and the carpet left its mark. Tsk tsk tsk. If you find marks like these simply use your putty knife to scrape off the bigger bits, and sand lightly to remove enough so it won’t show through your paint.
Similar technique works for the molding around your doors. Again, you can see that the prior painter didn’t get down deep next to the carpet like I did. That’s okay, it just gives me a wonderful chance to feel smug. If the tape is not behaving and going in nicely try using smaller pieces. Another trick is to put the tape onto the carpet with one or two millimeters up against the wall. Then use your putty knife to push the tape down against the carpet and completely off of the wall.
Remember to tape inside the adjoining room even if it is uncarpeted. In this case it’s a bathroom and I’d really like to keep that marble threshold nice and clean.
Leave the tape on through both coats of paint on the trim. I recommend waiting 24 hours after painting before removing the tape. In fact, I recommend leaving it in place for 24 hours after you have finished painting everything. You never know if you will need to go back to the trim to tidy up a mistake.
And there we are done!