Caulk Along Old Stained Wood Trim? - Painting - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 12-20-2013, 01:19 PM   #1
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Caulk along old stained wood trim?

I have an older house (1945) and all of our trim is stained wood (dark; most of it is oak, some is pine). I've gone through and repaired and repainted all of the rooms in our house (just finished the last one!). Now I'm working on the trim and I have two questions:

(1) I cannot figure out how to make the join to the wall look neat. It looks like the plaster walls were put up AFTER the trim (my contractor agrees). So where the trim meets the wall is really rough, often with a gap--it's just never a nice clean line. Add to that years of poor painting jobs. I've gone through and gotten most of the stray paint lines off the wood, so that's helped the appearance, but is there any way to clean it up even more? I was thinking about caulking the gap and then using that surface to paint a nice straight line down in the color of the wall. Any thoughts?

(2) I always sand the trim and then use wipe-on polyurethane, but for the window and door trim, my sandpaper gets gummed up almost immediately. I've tried wiping down with mineral spirits first, and that removes some residue, but doesn't fix the problem--there's still plenty there to fill up my sandpaper. Any idea what it might be? Just old, soft finish? Should I go to great lengths to remove it, or just push forward and polyurethane over it?

Thank you so much for any input!



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Old 12-20-2013, 04:06 PM   #2
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Pictures are always nice.
A tiny amount of a caulk like Alex 230 is all that should be needed.
There should never be caulk on the wall or the trim, just enough to fill the small gap.
Wipe on it way to thin to give much coverage.


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Old 12-20-2013, 06:21 PM   #3
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I have had good luck using caulk to straiten edges like your talking about.
Going around stain grade trim is a little tricky. If there is paint on the casings that isn't getting cleaned off, I'll run the caulk up on the trim just enough to cover it all and make a straight line.
The hard part is getting a crisp straight line.

I like this stuff for some applications like your talking about,

Sometimes it's easier to get a good line with the bead of caulk than trying to paint it.
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Old 12-20-2013, 06:48 PM   #4
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If sandpaper is gumming up, use a chemical paint remover first... it really does make the job easier, trust me.
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Old 12-21-2013, 12:15 PM   #5
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You can try tape. Caulk it and then immediately pull the tape. Then you will have a nice straight line to paint to. You can also caulk it and wipe with a wet rag.
Latex Primer: Good for Drywall, that's about it.
Behr Paint: The plastic buckets are good, that's about it.
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Old 12-21-2013, 04:26 PM   #6
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I see this problem a lot when painting a kitchen and not the cabinets. Tape off the trim, caulk and paint. It will look nice 1 time, but you will ruin it for anyone who will ever try to do it after you.


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caulk , finishing , stained wood trim , surface prep , trim

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