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hadees 02-05-2010 05:18 PM

Need help caulking and filling nail holes in my trim
I just had someone come and install MDF preprimed trim and Unfinished Pine Door Moldings through out my house. Now I need some help figuring out what are the the steps to take in order to caulk it, fill the nail holes, and paint it.

So to make it easier i'll just number my questions.

1. In what order do I do the things? Should I prime the unfinished pine first? Or do i fill the holes first? Or should I caulk and fill the holes? Pretty much i'm lost on the whole order.

a. I know i shouldn't get cheap materials so what kind of caulk should i get and what should i use to fill the nail holes? Like brands or types.

b. I saw some guides recommend to use a glazing compound to fill nail holes. Should I use that instead of wood putty? What about for things that aren't nail holes like the gaps i showed above in images.

3. Where do I caulk verses use wood putty or something. For example...

a. Inside corner?

b. around vent? (i'm guessing caulk)

c. mitered joint for door trim?

d. The trim around my step?

e. Outside corner of trim?

f. This one inside corner has a much bigger gap then the rest, do i do anything differently?

g. What about around the door casing where some of the gap seems like i couldn't even get caulk in or others is really small?

4. As you might be able to see from some of the pictures I have textured walls and i saw something on youtube that told me i needed to tape off the walls to keep the caulk from getting into the clevises.

5. Do you know any good guides or youtube videos, unfortunately i seem to have found a few contradictions in them which is why i'm posting here.

6. I'm going to paint all the trim white, any suggestions on sheen and type to use for the trim? i know it is supposed to be shine and I think someone told me oil based. Any specific brands?

7. I also going to paint my doors, should I paint them the same color as the trim?

8. I have a couple rooms I'm also going to paint the walls in. Should I do that before or after the trim and caulking and what not.

Well thats about it, if you could give me any help that would be great and save me a ton of money. I just want to make sure I do it right. If i'm missing anything or you need more information just let me know


oh'mike 02-05-2010 06:25 PM

You listed every thing about right!

Caulk and putty first--White painters caulk(alex plus is a good example)--Small opening ,smooth with a finger or a wet cloth --keep a bucket of water and a rag handy------

Glazing compound(window putty) for the nails --

Always caulk and putty before painting---I like to paint trims before I paint the walls and ceiling, Good luck-Mike-

P.s. Some of your gaps are pretty big--caulk may shrink as it dries--You may need a second application of caulk in those spots.

user1007 02-05-2010 10:55 PM

Caulk everything but nail holes. As mentioned you have some nasty gaps so plan on a couple of passes at some of them. If you are going to paint, you can use joint compound for the nail holes; glazing compound is oil/solvent based and could bleed into the wood. No biggy. Just forces you to use an oil based primer. The caulk might stick better if you prime first. Prime over your nail hole fillers though.

Traditionally one would use an alkyd primer on raw wood but you don't have to any more. Just use a good, paint store not box store primer. They make enamel underlay primers that would be a good choice.

Oil top coats will give a nice finish but will by nature yellow and chalk over time. I like latex semi-gloss, 100 percent acrylic products from Ben Moore or Sherwin Williams for trim. MAB, a SW subsidiary makes a really nice high gloss acrylic if you want a higher sheen. Mix in Floetrol per instructions on the bottle to reduce brush strokes. Use a quality brush (expect to pay $15-20 retail). I like Wooster or Purdy 2.5 or 3" angled sash brushes. Synthetic bristles for latex. White china bristles if you go with oil.

I personally would do the doors the same color but you do not have to. You might want to roll the door panels. Up to you and the look you want.

I like to caulk everything then paint the trim first and then the walls. I can cut in a nice sharp line up to the trim faster and more accurately than I can cut in trim to the wall.

jlhaslip 02-06-2010 02:07 AM

The fix for the inside corner with a gap is to have a screw installed behind the base board towards the bottom of the wall and use the screw to 'set' the baseboard plumb to the wall.
The screw prevents the base from tipping inwards and causing the gap.
If the corner is really bad, use 2 screws per side, one high and one low.
Another option is to blow a pin nail into the wall plate but leave it out of the wall a little bit. This method is hit and miss, but after a couple, you will get better at it. The screw method is easier to fine tune.

hadees 02-06-2010 06:34 PM

thanks for the responses, i was reading up on it and although i think the painters i had orginally gotten quotes from sweared by oil it seems latex might be better for the environment and what not with low vocs. I also like the idea of it not yellowing.

Anyone else have opinons on latex verses oil? i don't want to start a flame war its just hard for a novice to make an informed decision. Like what are the real downsides that seem to make those painters go for oil?

So if i go with Latex what should I use to fill the nail holes?

And the order seems to be...

1. fill nail holes

2. prime wood

3. caulk

4. paint finish top coat

hadees 02-10-2010 12:19 PM

I also found this video that recommends taping everything off if you have textured walls which I do so i was wondering about peoples experience with that.


slickshift 02-10-2010 05:33 PM

Prime everything with a quality primer from an actual Paint Store

Fill nail holes with a "lightweight spackle"

Lightly sand (and thus tack or wipe) if needed

Fill and blend all "end/butts" of "trim-to-trim", and all "trim-to-wall" gaps with a quality caulk (blending usually achieved by wiping the caulked area with a finger, often times wet with good ole H2O)

If it looks smooth at this point, two coats of Premium Trim Paint oughta look spectacular

Aileron 03-14-2012 03:39 PM

A great tip for caulking those difficult outside corners is here:

When sealing outside corners, pros keep caulk running straight and true by cutting a V notch in the plastic tip. It then acts as a running guide that slides along the corner, keeping the tube centered over the crack for a nice long, smooth bead of caulk without the slips, drips and skips that look messy and can lead to future leaks. Want to do your outside corners like a real pro? Just V-notch a tube and set it aside. When it's time to perform, just let it glide. Caulking straight and true is easy to do. And that's the On The House tip for today.

ARC Painting 03-14-2012 11:21 PM

I find it is easier to putty outside corners rather than use caulk, since you can sand and/or apply more coats, and less shrinkage.
Depends on size of gaps too...

JMDPainting 03-15-2012 05:59 AM

I'm glad this thread is two years old, I was about to have a field day with this one.

ARC Painting 03-16-2012 12:12 AM

Lol, I thought I was the thread reviver, but not this time!

Truly a timeless topic:)

dmcentire 11-24-2012 10:23 AM

Very interested in updates on this thread
It's been almost 3 years and I was wondering if hadees might be able to update this thread with what the final solutions were? I am starting my own trim project and I don't anticipate any issues (of course), but since this is my first project I'm sure I'll be off on some measurements somewhere and would like to find out the best way to "fill the gaps" etc.

It would be ideal if we could have "after" pictures since we have the "befores" now on this thread.

Thank you so much in advance for any information and/or photos of the completed work!


spraygunn 11-25-2012 09:12 PM

Hey dmcentire,
Don’t make the same mistakes hadees made. First off, sharpen your chain saw and practice, practice, practice and then begin your project after the bugs are worked out.
I don’t believe the after pictures of hadees project looked much better than the before pictures. I don’t understand how someone can continue making the same mistakes over and over again.
Let your pride in workmanship show.

Home repairs 11-25-2012 10:32 PM

We use crawfords putty and Elmers wood glue mix

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