How to Caulk Trim & Baseboards


The best time to caulk trim or baseboards is right after a primer coat of paint is painted on the wall, but before the finish coat is applied. In this way, the caulk will seal the trim first, and then a finish coat of paint will seal the caulk. However, on already painted and finished walls, good results can still be had by applying caulk over the top of the paint. In that instance, use a quality brand name as opposed to a generic type of bargain bin caulk.

Things You'll Need

  • Caulk gun
  • Tube of caulk (silicone acrylic/latex blend)
  • Sponge
  • Hobby knife
  • Rag
  • Putty knife
  • Cut the tube of caulk on a very approximate angle of between 30 degrees and 45 degrees, about 1/8th of an inch from the tip, with your hobby knife. Many caulk guns have built-in cutting blades and angle guides, so you can insert the tube into the provided cutting hole on the caulk gun body, pull the trigger, and the tube will automatically be cut at the precise angle and length from the tip.

  • Insert the tube of caulk into the caulk gun and press the trigger until the caulk begins to flow. Wipe the tip clean with your rag.

  • Place the angled tip flush with the baseboard or trim that you want caulked.

  • Gently squeeze the trigger and allow the caulk to flow out from the tip. As it flows, pull the gun backward over the trim or baseboard edge and allow the caulk to fill in the gap. Work like this in roughly 24-inch increments.

  • Release the tension of the caulk gun after each approximately 24-inch span, and put the gun to the side. Smooth the caulk down with your finger.

  • Dip your sponge into fresh water and wring it out until it is only damp. Smooth down the caulk with the sponge until it makes a nice clean line along the trim edge. This will not only blend the edge but will also remove any excess caulk.

  • Caulk the next 24 inches of trim and repeat the process of first smoothing it out with your finger, and then smoothing it again with your sponge. Any leftover dabs of caulk can be removed with your putty knife first, and then sponged over and cleaned. Allow to dry overnight before painting.

Tips & Warnings

  • Gaps can be filled in with caulk, but many times two or more applications will be needed because the caulk will shrink slightly as it dries and the gap will return.

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