Baseboards Before Or After Carpet? [Problem Solved]

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There are no bold rules about baseboard and carpet installation. But there are certainly some advantages and disadvantages. That’s why it’s better to know about the consequences before you start your project. 

Should you install baseboards before or after carpet? 

There’s no sure way to draw a bold line and claim one is better than another. If you install carpets first, you can easily stain them during baseboard installation. But if baseboards are installed first, you might damage the carpets while installing tack strips. 

Anyway, that was nothing but just a summary of the discussion. We’ve compared both situations and provided benefits and challenges accordingly.

Keep reading if you want to know more about baseboards and carpets installation. 

Baseboards Before or After Carpet: Basic Differences 

Before engaging in a detailed discussion, you may come across some terms. That’s why going through the basics can give you a surface idea. 

This saves a lot of your time and helps you understand comparison better. For example, it’s impossible to understand how carpet sits over asbestos tiles without knowing anything.

This discussion is no exception either. 

That’s why we’ve come forward and made you a short table-

StepsWithout Carpets (Before)With Carpets (After)
Baseboard installation Easier Challenging 
Painting baseboardsSuper EasyHard
StainNo chance Easier to stain the carpet
CaulkingEasier Harder

After going through it, which method seems easier? 

Baseboards Before or After Carpet: Detailed Discussion 

If you haven’t come to a conclusion yet, that’s fine. Because it’s one of the choices that puts you into a serious dilemma.

Installing baseboards and carpets is generally done by different services. Both services are going to claim that they should be called first.  


It’s because whichever you install first is going to make the next one challenging. For this reason, any service is going to tell you to hire them first. 

That’s why we’ve taken different conditions. We’ve compared their difficulties in both situations-

Baseboard Installation 

Baseboards are small wooden or vinyl boards that cover the lower interior wall. Although its value is mostly about looks, it does have some benefits. 

Baseboards can protect the wall from dirt and debris. It can also save the wall from shoes and other household things. 

If your house is made of drywall, it can protect the drywall as a whole. Both Shiplap and drywall can benefit from baseboards. 

If the baseboard is installed first, it becomes way easier. But carpet installation becomes harder. Because you’ve to tuck the carpet underneath which can be an issue. 

On the other hand, if the baseboard is installed later, carpet installation becomes easier. Because it becomes easier to lay down tack strips. But with baseboards installed first, carpet installation may seem harder. 

Winner: Installing baseboards before carpet is certainly easier.

Painting & Caulking

Painted baseboards enrich your indoor look. That’s why you’ve to prioritize this section. Painting has several benefits or disadvantages depending on which you install first.

If you install the baseboards first, you get to paint them without staining carpets. It also lets you do the painting freely. You’re less likely to face different obstacles. 

Besides painting, many households require caulking to the tile floor. In that case, it’ll be before you start painting. 

In case you make a mistake, it’s possible to take out the baseboards. And that’s whenever you want and without any sort of difficulties! 

On top of that, if you want to caulk, you’ve to do it before painting. 

But if you choose to install baseboards after, you’ve to be really careful. Because if the carpet is stained, it’s going to look really bad. 

This can make the painting phase hard or super annoying. 

Winner: Painting is easier if baseboards are installed before. 

Can You Paint Before Installing the Baseboards?

You may wonder about painting the baseboards first. But let us explain why it’s not possible. 

It’s because you still have to nail the baseboards to the wall studs. That’s going to leave scratch marks. In a worst-case scenario, the nail will split the paint in half. 

This means you’ve to go through the painting phase again after the installation. No matter how little of a portion you’ve to paint, the risks are the same.  

This risk is still more impactful than damaging the baseboard while installing tack strips

Most paints for baseboards are water-based acrylic hybrid paints. These are some of our favorite picks- 

Trim Paint 1
Trim Paint 2

You can now choose whichever you like more and get started! 

Our Verdict

At the end of the day, it becomes a preference. But if you ask us, we’ll recommend installing your baseboard first. Once done, you can safely install the carpet. 

This way you’ll avoid scratching the baseboard. Because of this many contractors also like to install baseboards first. 

By the way, you might not be up for the installation yourself. If that’s the matter, call the nearest service if you want professional advice. 

FAQs

Question: Does trim go on before or after carpet?

Answer: Either way is fine so it’s a matter of preference. But if you trim first, you can avoid staining the carpet. It’s better to avoid ruining the carpet as it can totally jeopardize the installation. But it’s not really that big of a deal for contractors. 

Question: How high should baseboards be for carpet?

Answer: To give it a nice finishing look, carpets have to be tucked underneath. On top of that, there should be no gaps between the baseboard and carpet. To do this, maintain a gap of ⅜” when installing baseboards. Any carpet can be easily tucked underneath. 

Question: What kind of brush do you use for baseboards?

Answer: The size of the paintbrush depends on the size of the baseboards. In general, 2 to 2.5 inches of angled brush works just fine. Nylon brushes are great for painting baseboards. 

Wrapping Up

That was everything we could gather on baseboards before or after carpet. Hopefully, you’ve found the answers you were looking for. 

Finally, good luck out there!

Scott Kelly