How to Caulk Baseboards

Tim Albright, owner of Naperville Painters, caulking baseboards before painting a room.

Painting a room is a big job and there is a lot to think about for preparation. There is the choice of color, the primer and all of the tools that you are going to need to do the job. There is a lot that goes into painting a room, but one of the parts of the job that commonly gets overlooked is caulking the baseboards. Tim Albright, owner of Naperville Painters, explains the importance of caulking below.

Caulk is going to do the job to seal any cracks in the wood or drywall, make the joints look perfect, and to create alignment in cuts that were made uneven due to human error. It is also used to keep drafts out and keep critters from making your home their home. It also helps to make the baseboards easier to clean by eliminating the areas where dust can collect and hide,” says Albright.

Caulking is a job that requires some practice, but it becomes easier the more that you do it. There are six steps in the process of caulking that are outlined below:

CHOOSE THE RIGHT CAULK

There are a lot of different kinds of caulk and each is designed for a specific room and to do a specific job. There are waterproof caulks that are to be used in rooms like the bathroom or the kitchen. In other rooms, latex caulks (also known as acrylic latex or painter’s caulk) will be used. It is made so that it expands to fill cracks and it dries quickly. There are also many different colors of caulk and ones that can even be painted so that they blend into the room color.

PREP THE BASEBOARDS

You will need to remove any old caulk with a tool like a putty knife or a wire brush. It is a good idea to run a vacuum over the area to remove any remaining particles and dust and then clean it with vinegar or bleach. This will guarantee that there is a clean surface to caulk on so that the seal is not compromised. Some painters caulk above and below where you are going to caulk is helpful so that you have a line to follow as you apply the bead of caulk.

LOAD THE CAULK GUN

Many caulks come in the form that requires them to be loaded into a caulk gun for application. You will have to cut the tip of the caulk cartridge at a 45-degree angle and usually a 1/8 to a ¼ of an inch from the tip. This all depends on the size of the bead that you are looking to apply. Then load that caulk into the gun.

APPLY THE CAULK

Practice first before laying down the first piece. A piece of paper or cardboard is great for this. This will allow you to figure out how the caulk will leave the tube and how fast or slow you need to move in order to get the bead size that you need. Hold the gun at a 45-degree angle and gently and repeatedly squeeze the trigger. Make sure that you are moving at a steady pace so that the caulk is evenly distributed and straight along the line where you are caulking.

SMOOTH THE CAULK

A gloved finger dipped in water or an ice cube will work great for this and do it right after you finish and the caulk is still wet. This will make your caulk job look more professional and help to smooth out any rough spots or spots that didn’t turn out so good.

REMOVE PAINTER’S TAPE

You are going to want to remove the painter’s tape when the caulk is still wet otherwise the tape will stick to the caulk and mess up your bead. You will also need to let the caulk dry before painting it the wall color.