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La Jolla Home Repair Projects: DIY Tips to Revive Baseboards

Baseboards in your house often go unnoticed. As time goes by, they get dinged, dingy, cracked and chipped, until one day you realize the room looks run down and it's partly because the baseboards are in bad shape.

Fortunately, baseboards are not that difficult to repair, even if you're a novice handy man or woman. Once you take the time to upgrade the baseboards in your home, you'll be pleased at how much better each room looks. Here are the basic steps for making your baseboards look new again.

1. Determine the extent of the damage. If the baseboards are damaged beyond repair, you are better off replacing them. Contact one of the local La Jolla contractors in our directory listings for help.

2. Gather the tools and materials you will need. These include wood putty or joint compound, a putty knife, sandpaper, paint or stain and clean brushes and rags. You can buy all these tools at one of the local La Jolla hardware stores where you'll also be able to have some questions answered from people there who typically offer great advice.

3. If you're going to paint or stain the whole baseboards, remove them from the wall. If you're going to touch them up, leave them in place.

4. If you're going to stain the baseboards, apply wood putty to chipped and cracked areas. If you're going to paint the baseboards, apply joint compound. If these areas have ragged edges or old, uneven paint, sand lightly first before applying the putty or compound.

5. Smooth these filled areas with a putty knife and remove excess.

6. Allow these areas to dry completely. Joint compound can dry quickly, in as little as 30 minutes. Putty can take several hours to dry, especially in humid weather.

7. Once the filled areas are dry, sand them until smooth and even. Sand in a circular motion. Start with a course grit sandpaper and finish with a finer grit. Remove excess dust with a dry brush or clean rag.

8. Apply paint or stain to the areas you have smoothed out. Make sure to match the color to your baseboard and stir well. Apply paint or stain in thin coats, changing directions, from one side to another. Let dry thoroughly and apply a second coat if necessary.

9. Reattach the baseboards to the wall if you've removed them.

Caution: If you're using epoxy resin adhesive, wear gloves and make sure the room is well ventilated.

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