Tips on Caulking Wood Trim


Interior finish work can be a tricky and therefore an incredibly frustrating project to accomplish. If you have walls that are out of square, or walls that bow awkwardly it can be extremely difficult to install baseboard or crown molding so that it lays flat against the wall and joins seamlessly without unsightly gaps. Instead of wasting hours trying to make the perfect cut for the perfect fit, fill minor gaps easily with just a tube of caulk.

White or clear?

  • If your interior trim is vinyl or MDF, chances are it is also white. Using white caulk then has the benefit of not only matching the trim, but it may also be used to fill unsightly nail holes.

    If your trim is painted or stained another color, then clear caulk will be your best option. This will not hide nail holes, and wood putty will be needed also, but it can fill gaps behind baseboard. For larger gaps at joints you may need wood putty.


  • Applying caulk is an easy and straightforward process. For trim work, cut the tip of your caulk tube about a quarter inch from its tip on an angle of approximately 30 degrees. This will leave you with a small opening for the caulk and allow greater control and precision so that you don't end up with globs of caulk. Use a firm, even pressure on the caulk gun's trigger to apply a thin bead of caulk where necessary. Do not squeeze hard! Remember that a caulking gun uses a plunger to apply pressure to the caulk. This means that caulk will continue to flow from the nozzle even after you've stopped squeezing. Take this into account to avoid making an accidental mess of things.

Touching up

  • In places where too much caulk was applied, simply use a damp sponge or a damp cloth to remove excess caulk. This can also press the caulk deeper into gaps and seams for a cleaner looking finish to your project. Work quickly, as caulk is water-resistant once it dries.

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  • Photo Credit esconson trimming image by Igor Zhorov from
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