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Old 12-26-2011, 11:04 PM   #1
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Bad caulk line on floor


Soliciting the gurus advice on how to repair a bad caulking job. Caulk was use to fill in gaps between the baseboard and finished wood floor, done by somebody previously. but as you can see in the attached photos the line on the floor is not clean. In areas caulk extends quarter inch away from the baseboards, some are not even flush with the baseboards, and also there are spots where the caulk has been stained with polyurethane. Appears they refinished the floors without properly protecting the baseboards/caulk.

I believe it is latex paint on the baseboard, latex caulk, and oil based polyurethane on the floor.

I was thinking about completely digging out the caulk and reapply. My concerns are
- Will I be able to clean remove all the caulk from the finished floor?
- How much damage to the finish floor will result and how can I repair?
- This problem exists in all my rooms so how much work will be involved?
- What type of caulk should I use? I am thinking a quality latex caulk that is paintable and highly flexible. Any suggestions?

BTW, I am planning on repainting the baseboards anyway.
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Bad caulk line on floor-caulk01.jpg   Bad caulk line on floor-caulk02.jpg   Bad caulk line on floor-caulk03.jpg  

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Old 12-26-2011, 11:08 PM   #2
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Bad caulk line on floor


how about some 3/4 round or shoe molding in place of caulking..would look better and last longer???????

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Old 12-27-2011, 08:48 AM   #3
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Bad caulk line on floor


I agree. Do what should have been done in the first place: install quarter round.
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Old 12-27-2011, 08:53 AM   #4
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Bad caulk line on floor


Caulkings never suppost to be on a hardwood floor.
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:06 AM   #5
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Bad caulk line on floor


I have to agree with the prior posters. Especially Joe.
The hardwood floor is typically under the baseboard and allows it to expand and contract through the seasons.
Removing the caulking is a big project but doable.

Installation of a shoe molding in conjunction with a new base cap could be a way to dress up a drab looking baseboard.

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Old 12-27-2011, 11:16 AM   #6
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Bad caulk line on floor


All the trim is a very minimalist design. A quarter round (or extra trim) at the bottom of the baseboard would not work well. Less I replace all the trim. Which is a job I prefer not to do now. I have seen discussion on caulk between baseboard and hardwood floor and there are differences of opinions. Some say it shouldn't be done others say the small amount of caulk does not impact the floor. We can continue this debate in a parallel. My first problem is how do i cleanly remove the caulk off the wood floor and repair any damages.

I would assume digging out most of the caulk should be straight forward. I will be left with some residue on the baseboard and floor. the baseboard I can sand/scrape and after the repaint should be fine. For the floor, sanding/scaping the floor would stripe the polyurethane. If i am very careful and lucky i may not touch the actual wood much. What will result of the work would be a difference in coloring on the floor. I image it would look like a dull frame around the entire room. Can i simply apply a clear coat of polyurethane just along the baseboards and hopefully it will bend with the rest of the floor? Want to avoid refinishing the whole floor since it is the entire house.
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Old 12-27-2011, 11:49 AM   #7
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Bad caulk line on floor


You will likely screw up the floor if you aren't careful removing the caulk. If you won't listen to reason and add shoe-mold or quarter-round then try to remove what caulk you can and then re-caulk. I wouldn't worry about minimalist. Adding the proper trim won't change that.

The new caulk will hopefully hide the old caulk that you aren't going to be able to remove without damaging the floor. Hopefully you can do a neater job the next time than what you did the first time around. If you use latex caulk or siliconized caulk it is easier to dress and tool with a damp sponge. Junctures like that can be caulked perfectly with a little practice.
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Old 12-28-2011, 09:58 AM   #8
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Bad caulk line on floor


I think you can remove the caulking by carefully digging it out and then cleaning up with denatured alcohol. It really depends on the type of caulking used. You may find different ones used in the same areas since it looks like they gooped it on there pretty good.

Once you get it cleaned up, use some good quality painters tape and mask off the floor and the baseboard leaving a 1/8" - 1/4" space between the two pieces of tape where you want caulking to be applied.

Force the caulking into the gap and tool it with your finger. The excess will get all over the masking tape.
Just pay attention to the 1/8" gap and how nice that looks.

Let it set for about a minute and then carefully peel off the tape.
You will create a perfect caulk joint.

Don't and I repeat Don't go messing with it after you remove the tape. If there are any voids or errors repair them AFTER your first application has thoroughly dried.
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Old 12-28-2011, 10:45 AM   #9
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Bad caulk line on floor


It looks as thought someone thought they were sealing the floor for moisture. (people do stupid stuff). I would remove as much of the caulk as I could as it is NOT neccessary. Then install a proper baseboard and shoe moulding which should of been installed in the first place. From the looks of the first pics I do not see any baseboards installed it looks as thought the floor is caulked between the wall and the floor only. Removing the caulk will allow the base boards and mouldings to be installed close to the wall without any caulking pushing it out and making it look lousy.
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Old 12-28-2011, 11:01 AM   #10
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Bad caulk line on floor


Is this in a high-moisture environment like a bathroom?

There should really be no caulk along the edges at all - there should be an open gap which is why everyoen covers it over with trim of some type (not all trim is big, expensive or hard to install).

Wood flooring expands adn contracts and having it gapped from the wall and not sealed in with enable it to do so over the seaons without rippling and buckling.

This is one instance in which just covering the perceived 'imperfection' is acceptable :D
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:30 AM   #11
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Bad caulk line on floor


I would agree w/ the trim recommendations...but here are some tips on how to remove latex caulk:

First, test to see how well it's actually sticking. It may be easy to scrape it off. Take a plastic scraper and try to lift it at the edges of the joint. Do not use a metal scraper...it will damage the finish on the floor. If that doesn't work, you'll need to use a solvent of some kind. Start mild with a citrus-based paint stripper. Apply VERY CAREFULLY to the caulk only, trying to avoid the wood flooring. Let it sit for a few minutes, then use that plastic scraper again. If that doesn't work, you may have to take mineral spirits to it, but that would be a last resort, as mineral spirits will damage the finish on the wood floor.

Once you've gotten most of it up, clean with denatured alcohol. If you re-caulk, follow the advice of using painter's tape to get a clean edge. You may consider using a beading tool (found at most hardware stores) instead of your finger to get a nice, smooth finish. Or, we've found that damp foam paint brushes work really well to smooth a bead.

Hope that helps, or maybe I'm too late & you've already done this work. Sorry if that is the case.

Happy new year!

Charis w/ Sashco - www.sashco.com - cbabcock@sashco.com

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