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Thread: Revelation on cutting in room trim

  1. #1
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    Revelation on cutting in room trim

    I stumbled on the fastest, and easiest way to perfectly cut in casing, and baseboards this morning. I put up a new ceiling, and needed to paint the Dining Room in a lake rental house.

    I had watched a youtube video titled something like "caulking your masking tape", and decided to give it a try. I'm probably fairly good at cutting in with a brush, especially on casing, but the top of a baseboard is no fun for me. I've tried several types of masking tape, including Frog tape, as was used in the video. I've never been That impressed with Frog tape.

    The caulking method involves putting caulking over the working edge of the tape, painting over it while it's still wet, and pulling the tape off before it dries. I bought a tube of clear, latex caulking to use for this trial, but once I got into it, I decided to skip the caulking step.

    I tried both Frog Tape, and 3M 2093 Sharp Lines tape. I like how the 3M tape works coming off the roll better, so I only did one side of door casing with the Frog tape. It worked like a charm. I think pulling it off while the paint is still wet lets the paint part cleanly at the edge of the tape, whereas otherwise, it comes off leaving some kind of a jagged edge.

    I put the 2093 on, and contrary to 3M's directions, I didn't wait 20 minutes for it to set. I used a fairly stiff, cheap paintbrush to make sure it was sealed down good, as I rolled it out.

    The wood trim in this room is natural finished Pine, and the walls painted this time with S-W Emerald Vanillin, sort of a very pale yellow.

    After I had done several sections, I timed myself, without getting in a hurry, on a 16' baseboard. From the start of putting the tape on, including painting with a brush, and pulling the tape off, it was close to exactly 3 minutes.

    It's faster, and easier for me to do this, as good as I am at cutting in vertical casing, on any of this trim.

    Now, none of this old stuff had been caulked to the point of having a fillet at the joining line of the parts, so that made it some easier. I pulled off a little of the tape to start a section, and reverse rolled it off with the tape roll being held directly against the wall, so it came off in exactly the correct plane.

    I never did open that tube of caulking.

    If you read the instructions for the 2093 tape, you will see I didn't follow the instructions. I had that complete room painted today, and cleaned up, ready to move furniture back in tomorrow. I did have to do some sheetrock touchup, and priming those spots to start with this morning.

    https://www.scotchblue.com/3M/en_US/...4340561&rt=rud

    I used 3/4" tape. The whole floor was masked, because I sprayed the new ceiling, so there was little worry about the wet paint on the tape, as it came off, getting on anything that mattered. I wish I had known this long ago.
    Last edited by Tom M King; 07-22-2021 at 7:53 PM.

  2. #2
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    I must be dense but I am not understanding this technique.

  3. #3
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    In painting a wall, next to the wood trim, you put the masking tape on the trim, paint that edge of the wall, and pull the masking tape off while the paint is still wet. I'm sure it will work the opposite way too. The rest of that wall can be rolled before, or after. If you've ever masked something, and then waited for the paint to dry before pulling the tape off, you've probably seen that it doesn't leave a perfect edge. This does.

  4. #4
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    Thanks....I got confused with the caulking references.

  5. #5
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    I think this may have been the youtube video that peaked my curiosity about "caulking masking tape".

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGfXN2YZm1o

  6. #6
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    Thanks for this, Tom. While I generally just cut in manually with the brush...I seem to have a steady hand and with the chinex brushes I prefer, the edge is pretty predictable...there are times when taping is required. I've often inadvertently removed the tape while the paint was still wet and it indeed leaves a nice edge as the paint can "lay down" as it dries while allowing for drying sometimes causes more of a ridge and sometimes a need to spot-repair for seeps or tear-offs.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  7. #7
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    The trick with frog tape, or any of the tapes that have a similar treatment designed to stop paint from creeping under the tape, is to paint one surface, over painting past the dividing line, whether it's a molding edge or a straight line on a wall. Let it dry. Then apply the tape and paint the edge with the same color that's under it. This activates the edge seal and any paint that creeps underneath won't matter because it's the same color as what's underneath. Let it dry. Then paint the other color, lapping slightly up onto the tape. Let it dry. *lightly* run a knife along the edge of the tape to score the paint film and then slowly peel off the tape. I usually don't bother doing this on trim as I'm decent at cutting in, but for dividing line between two-color walls, or stripes or the like, it reliably gives a clean, no bleed edge.
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  8. #8
    many years into this ive never even tried frog tape. I must have bought a roll and didnt get it. I grew up on 3M auto body tape, cheaper was American but it was best to buy the 3M. You see it in most of the auto body shops and its great around finishes and it has a stretch so it can clamp stuff and it can do curves depeding on the width. I had to check into better tapes and 3M had 2 or 3 blue tapes at higher levels but the green has worked for all.

    I didnt follow you Tom but as far as cutting in I found it frustrating. Cant see well enough, never got the lighting right. Needed some kind of glasses that focused 3 feet out in front of me and and. I still did a good job but its hard to work fine when you cant see well enough. Since got a Couple of Lee Valley Suprabeams but they arrived after the house painting adventure. Will have to try the Lee headlights.

  9. #9
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    I always use a good brush and cut the line with that. Never felt the need to spend all that time taping off unless I was spraying ceilings. It has gotten to be more of a challenge as the eyes go (no bifocals when trying to paint crown mold). The hand tremors are a problem too. I used to be insane in my younger days and painted for a living. I would clean the window 1st and could paint a six over six double hung window in 10 minutes with no paint on the glass. That was when we were racing though. Windows were always my favorite, Put the ladder up and stay in the same spot for a while vs painting the whole side of the house.

  10. #10
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    Same for me, Scott. I do on occasion find "a spot" where tape can play a role. A good example with a current project is that I just repainted the end wall of our family/bird room in our new home including painting the fireplace surround white to match the room trim. (It was cheap pine which clashed with the oak floors). That line between the top, back of the mantle and the wall is visually critical, so I will revisit it once the white paint has some time to cure by taping off and cleaning up that five foot long line. Otherwise, I don't tape unless it's to protect something that would be hard to clean up if paint dripped or accidentally got on it.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  11. #11
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    Very helpful information, Tom. Thanks!
    Rustic? Well, no. That was not my intention!

  12. #12
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    I used this method this morning. Maybe some of you guys are good enough to do this with a brush, but us part time painters better stick to getting some help from tape.

    In a rental house, I had changed one bedroom, and bath doors to 3' doors, for better access with a wheelchair. One door is painted on both sides, so that was not problem, but one door is stained on one side, and painted on the other.

    I put the tape on, cut it with a marking gauge, pulled off the waste piece, sprayed it, and pulled the tape off while the paint was still wet. There is the slightest ridge, the thickness of the tape, but a touch of sandpaper should make that okay.

    I remembered to take this one with the iphone in the proper, horizontal position that doesn't require flipping in these forums.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul F Franklin View Post
    The trick with frog tape, or any of the tapes that have a similar treatment designed to stop paint from creeping under the tape, is to paint one surface, over painting past the dividing line, whether it's a molding edge or a straight line on a wall. Let it dry. Then apply the tape and paint the edge with the same color that's under it. This activates the edge seal and any paint that creeps underneath won't matter because it's the same color as what's underneath. Let it dry. Then paint the other color, lapping slightly up onto the tape. Let it dry. *lightly* run a knife along the edge of the tape to score the paint film and then slowly peel off the tape. I usually don't bother doing this on trim as I'm decent at cutting in, but for dividing line between two-color walls, or stripes or the like, it reliably gives a clean, no bleed edge.
    This might be relevant if youíre trying to paint a ďtwo-toneĒ on a highly textured wall. But otherwise _real_ Frog Tape^tm works just as advertised, all you have to do is firm down the edge and it doesnít allow bleeding, to any reasonable standard.

    I wonder if people are using counterfeit Frog Tape, just because itís green doesnít mean itís real. And BTW, Iím suspicious that the Frog Tape sold in the big box stores is seconds, because Iíve encountered rolls from there that donít spread right from the dispensers. Much better results from the paint stores or even Amazon.

  14. #14
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    I can do a decent job of cutting in, but the crisp, perfect line that masking gives is so nice that I almost always mask. Frog tape is good, but not worth the price premium over decent 3M tape (can't recall the number, but it's green).

    There's lots of ways to skin this cat and there are some great suggestion here. After applying the tape, I run the corner of a putty knife over the edge to make sure the tape is well seated. Very rarely is there any seepage

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