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jasoncw 12-15-2008 10:09 PM

Filling Voids on Stained Baseboard
Hi guys.

I'm going to be installing new base in a couple of rooms. I plan to cope the inside corners. I read to use latex caulk on these joints; however, I plan to stain my base. Is there something I can use to help with the expansion/contraction? Or just butt it up and hope for the best?



Termite 12-15-2008 10:35 PM

If you're staining the base then caulk is DEFINATELY not the way to go. That'll look terrible, and is unnecessary. With stained trim work, you have to do a neat job. You can get wood putty that will closely match your stain color.

Most important thing...
Leave the trim in the house for at least a week. That will allow it to acclimate to the humidity (or lack of) in the home, and will optimize the wood's moisture content to significantly reduce shrinkage.

Be sure to use carpenters wood glue on the joints wherever possible.

Termite 12-15-2008 10:36 PM

To clarify, caulk is appropriate on painted trim only.

jasoncw 12-15-2008 10:41 PM

Thanks for the tip.

Yes, my point was that I know caulk is for painted base, that's why I was asking what to use on stained. I wasn't sure whether wood filler was flexible at all.

So, nothing on coped corners, and wood glue on mitered corners, is that right? Or glue the coped joints too?

Termite 12-15-2008 10:53 PM

Well, it depends. Wood glue is fairly pointless if the piece of trim that you're coping to is stained...It won't stick well. If neither piece is pre-stained then I'd glue even the coped joints. It isn't critical though. It is critical that mitered joints get glued. I also set my saw at a 2 degree compound when mitering casing on windows and doors. The 2 degree back cut allows you to draw the face of the joint perfectly tight.

Wood putty isn't flexible unfortunately. Honestly, well-acclimated trim that is tightly installed shouldn't have the problems you're expecting. :thumbsup:

jasoncw 12-15-2008 11:02 PM

Thanks again for the help. I am a perfectionist, and I recently put some base in another room, and I was extremely disappointed in my work. After reading up on a few tips on this site, I think I can get the next room looking much nicer. But then, I just may need to go and redo the first room... :wacko:

Termite 12-15-2008 11:14 PM

Just remember that a couple extra feet of trim is inexpensive, and very valuable for use as practice before you commit to cutting the stuff that's going in the room.

When coping, don't rely on the blade for your final edge! Cut close to it, and then use bastard files, flat and round wood rasps, and sandpaper to get it perfect. When coping base shoe, I use spindle sander drums (about 80 grit) in varying diameters to shape the cope. The sanding drums are really inexpensive and make it easy...I just put my finger through them...They're basically a sandpaper covered cardboard tube.

Jeeper1970 12-16-2008 07:17 AM

On inside corners that are coped, don't worry too much if you have a slight gap. Assuming the stain is a medium or darker color, the shadowed gap won't be noticeable against the stain. A light color stain might stick out a little, but still less noticeable than with white painted trim.

cocobolo 12-16-2008 05:17 PM

The whole point of coping a corner joint is that you do not have to use any kind of filler at all.
Here's a little tip when you are making the actual coping cut itself.
Do NOT try to cut the coping joint at 90 degrees to the board. Make the cut so that it tapers away from the corner.
This will give you a slightly sharper corner, if you will, to push against the piece that you already have in place.
If you are going from one inside corner to another inside corner, there are two ways you can install your boards.
You can try to install a single length board coped on one end and square cut on the other. You will follow this on the adjoining wall with another coped board.
Or you can do it the easier way and install two boards with a miter joint in the middle. If you just have a short wall, go for the single board. For a long wall, the two board system gives you a little wiggle room.
Under no circumstances should you need any caulking on baseboards.
I suppose you could try glueing a miter joint together, although again, part of the reason you make a miter joint in the first place is to allow for a very small amount of movement in the wood without it showing.

Termite 12-16-2008 06:32 PM


Originally Posted by cocobolo (Post 198984)
I suppose you could try glueing a miter joint together, although again, part of the reason you make a miter joint in the first place is to allow for a very small amount of movement in the wood without it showing.

Miter joints should never move if installed correctly. High-end trim carpenters often use biscuits to strengthen the joint to prevent it from opening up. I think that biscuits are overkill but it sure does make for perfect casing jobs on doors and windows. This is the same reason that a finish nail is driven vertically from the top of the head casing down into the side casing by many trim carpenters. Gluing miters is important, professional, and one trademark of a high quality job.

cocobolo 12-16-2008 10:46 PM

I agree with you nearly 100%. However, if you are putting baseboard on a long run, something is likely to give between extremes in humidity and/or seasons. If you have managed to find a product that has no movement, then the glue would be applicable. Otherwise, I think the 1/16" or so of movement would be quite acceptable and barely noticeable. Let's face it, how many people go around checking to see if you have a tiny gap on a long run of baseboard? Hey, I bet we all have much better things to do with our time!
You are completely right regarding door and window casing, but I think the original topic was to do with baseboards.
When you are overlaying a miter joint ala baseboard, this will barely show, but with the doors and windows, then you do indeed need to use a good fastening system. Precisely as you correctly say.

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