For many people, installing trim might seem as simple as lining it up and driving in a few nails, but if you’re putting trim in your house, it’s important to know that perfectly flush trim is difficult to achieve. Flush trim has a tendency to come loose from walls and windows over time, creating little gaps. Before painting over these gaps and crevices, caulking is a perfect way to make sure your finished project looks as good as how you pictured it in your head. To get the job done right, you need to learn the prep requirements and proper techniques first!
Tips for Caulking Trim
For the best results when caulking trim (or any other feature of your home), try these tips:
- Clean the caulk tube’s tip. With repeated use, the tube will get backed up, but if you use a screw or nail to clean it up before using it, you can easily avoid uneven caulk lines.
- Use painter’s tape. Even though you can easily clean up caulk, you can save time by using painter’s tape. Using painter's tape allows you to apply caulk where you want it without getting it in places you don’t.
- Check your caulk in a few different ways. First, check the type of caulk: There are different types for different jobs, and you will specifically need interior trim caulk for the best results. Next, check the tube to make sure you cut off the tip at a 45 degree angle. Lastly, check the expiration date (Yes, caulk does expire). Caulk does last up to 20 years before becoming unusable in which it no longer cures.
How to Apply Caulk to Trim
From the prep to the final step, here is a step by step guide to the caulking process
Clean the surface you’re going to caulk, getting rid of any loose debris. An residual dust or dirt can lessen the seal.
Prepare water and paper towels, and wet your hands so caulk doesn’t adhere well to them. Also, wet a paper towel (with other paper towels nearby), so you can use it to wipe off excess caulk before it sets.
Cut the tip of the caulking tube at a straight line with a 45-degree angle about a quarter of an inch onto the tube.
Hold the tube at a 45-degree angle and apply caulk to the edge of the trim with the tip flat against that gap. Squeeze the caulk until there is a steady flow, and then move at an even pace to keep the caulk bead a consistent size. Use enough caulk to fill gaps and cover unappealing spots, but avoid using too much caulk as that has a tendency to create uneven areas.
Smooth out your caulk....this can be difficult. Once your caulk dries it becomes very resistant to change. Smooth it out with your finger before it dries to ensure the desired result.
Lastly, clean up using a wet paper towel to wipe up any excess caulk on the trim or wall surface, and don't forget to cap your caulk tube so you can use it in the future.