Caulking Baseboard Trim

Tips for Caulking Baseboard Trim and achieving a Professional Wall Finish

By Mark J. Donovan

Caulking baseboard trim is necessary if you plan to paint the baseboard trim. Due to imperfections in the wall, small gaps between the top edge of the baseboard trim and the wall are common. These small gaps can make an otherwise beautiful wall seem unfinished or unsightly. By caulking the baseboard trim you can ensure a professionally finished baseboard trim project.

When caulking baseboard trim I like to use an acrylic latex caulk with silicone. This type of caulk is durable and flexible as well as easy to clean. You can find it at any home improvement store.

Caulk is also available in a variety of colors, so pick a color that is most similar to your baseboard trim paint color.

I also highly recommend priming or painting the baseboard trim with one coat of paint prior to installing it on the wall. The caulk adheres better to the painted baseboard trim, as well as makes the baseboard trim painting effort go much faster.

To caulk baseboard trim, I typically apply a thin bead of caulk along about a 4 to 6 foot length of the baseboard trim, using a caulking gun. You can control the width of the caulk bead by the size hole you cut in the tip of the caulk tube. Using a utility knife, I typically cut off just enough of the tip to enable about a 1/8th inch thick bead. When removing the tip, I like to cut it at a 30-45o angle to aid in the process of applying the caulk to the baseboard trim.

After caulking a 4-6 foot length of baseboard trim, I immediately use my finger to slide along the length of the caulk bead. I then wipe the caulk bead down with a rung out damp paper towel or sponge to remove any excess caulk from the wall or baseboard trim.

I continue in this process around the entire room caulking the baseboard trim.

When caulking baseboard trim, make sure you hold the caulk gun at an angle so that the tip of the caulk tube is flush with the top edge of the baseboard trim. Try to caulk in one fluid movement by applying a constant pressure to the caulk gun trigger. Make sure you don’t move the caulk gun too slowly or quickly, otherwise you will end up with excess caulk or voids in the baseboard trim.

Caulking baseboard trim

After applying the caulk to the baseboard trim, I like to let it fully dry before applying paint to the baseboard trim. If you apply the paint while it is still wet, the paint bush will remove the caulk from the gap.

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