How to Restain Wood Baseboards

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Things You'll Need

  • Wood cleaner

  • 150- and 220-grit sandpaper

  • Wood filler

  • Stain

  • Paintbrush

  • Polyurethane

  • Rubber gloves

  • Utility knife

  • Hammer

  • Molding pry bar

  • Soft, lint-free cloth

Wood baseboards become damaged and dull over time and need restaining.

Stained hardwood baseboards complement the other wood in your home. They add value and appeal, but over time, stained baseboards can fade, chip and scratch. Your trim may look dull or worn. You can still bring your baseboards back to life, however. If a good cleaning and waxing is not enough, you can sand and restain your baseboards to bring them back to their original beauty.


Step 1

Remove your baseboards from the walls carefully so that you do not damage the paint or wall. Run the utility knife along the top of the baseboard where it meets the wall slowly to remove the seal between the top of the baseboard and the wall. Cut into the paper on the drywall slightly so the paper will not tear when the baseboard is pulled off. Pry the baseboard from the wall slowly using a pry bar and hammer. Hammer the pry bar gently between the wall and baseboard where the first nail is, so that it moves slightly away from the wall, and then move down to the next nail and do it again. Remove the nails.

Step 2

Clean the baseboards using a wood cleaner. Choose a cleaner that does not leave a residue.


Step 3

Sand out any scratches, dents and damage using 150-grit sandpaper. Do not try to sand all the stain off. Leave the original stain as much as possible. Sand the baseboards again with 220-grit sandpaper. Sand until there is no shine on the boards. Wipe the boards with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust.

Step 4

Apply the wood putty to the nail holes, deep scratches and deep dents. Keep the putty even with the rest of the baseboard. Wet your finger to shape the putty and round the corners as you smooth it into the damage. You may have to apply multiple layers. Allow the putty to dry completely between layers and before you begin staining.


Step 5

Sand the areas where you added wood putty using 220-grit sandpaper until they are flush with the rest of the baseboard.

Step 6

Wipe the baseboards again with a damp cloth to remove all the sanding dust. Let the baseboards dry.

Step 7

Apply the stain to the baseboards in even coats using a paintbrush or stain brush. Test the stain in an inconspicuous area first. Stain using a light layer of stain first to gauge the color and texture of the stain. Keep the stain even. Paint with the wood grain. Let the stain dry completely before applying additional coats or polyurethane.


Step 8

Apply the polyurethane with a soft, lint-free cloth in the direction of the wood grain. Let the polyurethane sit for five minutes before wiping off the excess. Allow the polyurethane to dry completely. Reinstall the baseboards, fill the holes from the nails, and add a second coat of polyurethane. Allow the baseboards to dry completely before adding a third coat of polyurethane.


Wear rubber gloves to prevent your skin from being stained. Wear eye protection during sanding.



Rebekah Smith

Rebekah Smith is a writer and editor from Montana and the owner of several businesses. Smith has consulted and worked with businesses in the fields of commercial greenhouses, ecommerce, technology and home improvement. She holds a Master of Business Administration and is working on a Ph.D. in business.