How to Repair Baseboards

Andrea Bullock

When in good repair, baseboards can enhance the look of any room in your home. When they are notched, nicked and broken in spots however, they can take away from the appearance of your room as well as your enjoyment of that room.

Keep reading to learn to repair baseboards on your own rather than hiring expensive contractors to do the job for you.

  1. Determine whether or not it is best to repair baseboards or replace them. Sometimes it will cost less to purchase new baseboards and replace them altogether rather than repairing them. Antique baseboards that are irreplaceable may be worth restoring, no matter what the cost, in order to maintain the historical value of the home.

  2. Decide whether you are going to paint or stain the baseboards when you repair them. This determines the best materials for the baseboard repairs. Remove the baseboards from the wall if you plan to paint them though you can leave them in place if you plan to merely touch up the existing paint or stain.

  3. Apply wood putty if you will be staining the baseboards or joint compound if your plans involve paint to the areas that are damaged. Use a light hand when applying the compound to keep drying and sanding time at a minimum.

  4. Smooth the filler with a putty knife and remove all excess. This provides a smooth surface and allows the filling compound used to dry more quickly.

  5. Allow the filler compound to dry completely. This process generally takes very little time for joint compound (approximately 30 minutes), but can take several hours depending on humidity and temperature and depending on the brand for wood putty.

  6. Sand the compound until it is smooth and even with the surface of the baseboards. Use a dry paintbrush to remove the dust that is created by sanding.

  7. Touch up the paint or stain with stain in and around the areas where you have repaired your baseboards.

  8. Tip

    Save a small container of paint and/or stain when you do your initial work on baseboards and walls so that you have stain or paint that matches for touch up work later on.


    Exercise caution when removing baseboards from the walls for painting. It is easy to damage them further making baseboard repairs an unlikely option.