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maximizer 11-22-2006 02:57 PM

Caulking bottom of baseboard?
I have new hardwood floors and new baseboard. The floors are not perfectly straight, and in some places there are visible gaps between the floor and the baseboard. Do you typically caulk those gaps, and paint the caulk? Do you then end up with with a thin line of caulk/paint on the floor? If so, what's the normal thickness of that line?


maximizer 11-22-2006 03:02 PM

To clarify: a perspective painter told me that it's normal to have a thin line on the floor, because otherwise if he tries to mask right next to the baseboard, then the caulk may rip and come off when he pulls up the tape. So the choice appears to be: either potentially uneven caulking job, or an even paint job that extends from the baseboard to the floor just slightly. This seems to make sense, but I wanted to get impartial opinions. He says a line up to 1/4" from the wall is normal and will look just fine. I'm a bit uneasy with that big of a line...


billinak 11-22-2006 03:20 PM

I've considered this myself and ended up filing it under "Things you see but no one else ever will." Next time you go to someones house, take a minute and ask yourself "Do I ever look at peoples baseboards?" Once I actually DID start looking at other peoples homes, I found that imperfections are rather common, yet almost always go completely unnoticed, and rightly so.

furiousstyles 11-22-2006 05:44 PM

As a rule we never caulked baseboard to floor. Often times there is a piece of shoe moulding on to close that little gap and tidy things up. We also would not caulk this. If you did caulk it but not paint the caulk the caulk would surely become a magnet to dirt and become very unsightly. If the gap is that big invest in some shoe moulding, otherwise you would probably be better off leaving it alone.

AAPaint 11-22-2006 06:18 PM

I almost always caulk the shoe moulding to the floor. It doesn't sound like you have any installed. It can be successfully caulked without leaving an unsightly line on the floor, or any of the other problems mentioned. It just takes patience and precision.

In kitchens and bathrooms this is an excellent idea because baseboards and shoe mould are not back primed when installed. Moisture will eventually wear away at the paint if it's allowed to get in behind them.

Last but not least, they look like crap with the uneven gaps that are visible. Even with shoe mold, there will still be gaps. IMHO, it doesn't look finished if it's not caulked because the look isn't seamless.

This is not a task I would leave to a novice. I spent WAY too much time cutting out and replacing this area of caulk in brand new homes because not many people seem to get it right. Use a very small hole in the caulk gun, run it very tight, and wipe it clean with a wet finger applying pressure on the floor, allowing any excess to push up on the base instead of onto the floor, and it will look sweet.

AtlanticWBConst. 11-22-2006 06:39 PM

AA painter touched on a good looking solution. If you have alot of uneven-ness, gaps, slopes in your floor. You can install shoe-base around all the floor/baseboard areas to eliminate the gap. The extra trim is classy looking too...especially if the trim is white...

-just a thought -

slickshift 11-22-2006 06:41 PM

I typically do not caulk the bottom of the baseboards

YourWayPainting 11-22-2006 07:34 PM

The only time we have ever caulked the bottom of the baseboard to the wooden floors is when the builder or warranty person has noticed it. It should had a piece of shoe molding to cover the gap ... then we would caulk the molding to the baseboard. There is too much of a chance of the the wooden floor expanding or contracting with the weather to caulk it to the base. A piece of shoe molding corrects both problems.

joewho 11-23-2006 03:34 AM

If you just installed the floor and the base, and they are both natural wood, and if you have no plan to paint them: No one ever caulks natural wood trim to the natural wood floor. The final step to your install is the "base shoe". Wherever you got the base, just ask for base shoe in the same wood.

I think AA means where the natural wood trim meets the wall can be caulked. The base shoe is fairly flexible and will be nailed to the base moulding. Which means you can put a nail wherever you need it to make it tight. Nail at a slight downward angle. No caulk necessary.

747 11-23-2006 05:26 AM


Originally Posted by slickshift (Post 24498)
I typically do not caulk the bottom of the baseboards

What about the top of baseboard do you caulk or not?

slickshift 11-23-2006 07:27 AM


Originally Posted by 747 (Post 24544)
What about the top of baseboard do you caulk or not?

Oh yeah
Mostly I do repaints, so sometimes it's in good shape
Most houses need something though, even if just a little
Some have never been done, and need a fair amount
Some old houses need tons

joewho 11-23-2006 01:23 PM


slickshift 11-23-2006 02:42 PM


Originally Posted by joewho (Post 24575)

Ha ha...sorry...if you're talking about stained or natural wood, no I don't caulk either

If the top gap is huge, and I can paint the caulk to look like wall, I might do it then

That's it though

I'm not sure what the OP is caulking

simmons 11-23-2006 08:05 PM

Read the instructions that came with your hardwood floor! Most manufacturers recommend a 1/16th gap between mouling and the floor to allow for easy expansion and contraction....

AAPaint 11-28-2006 10:35 PM

Caulk will not impede expansion and contraction. Walls expand and contract, baseboards and trim do as well. The caulk covers the gap while still allowing flexibility. It looks SO much cleaner, and again, helps prevent the base and walls from wicking up standing water on the floor. This is a standard practice you will see in almost every new home being built in my area. I have never seen an issue come of it besides people who shouldn't have a caulk gun in their hands to begin with.

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