My house is getting older, as much as I don’t want to admit it. As I walk around and check things out, I realized that there are little things I never pay attention to that really take away from my home’s beauty. One place is the baseboards. Honestly, when’s the last time you looked down. Yep, you probably have dust bunnies that you didn’t realize, but also cracks in your baseboards and trim. Don’t worry, it’s from the home’s natural settling, but once you see it, you won’t be able to forget about it.
So what do you do? Do what I did and get out the caulk!
Who doesn’t love a good caulking session, right? It’s good for the soul. Okay, maybe that’s just me being a painter by trade, but I think there’s plenty to be said about good old-fashioned caulking. Here’s how it goes.
Scraping the Old Caulk
Okay, this step may not be fun, but it’s necessary. Get out your scraper and start scraping. You want to remove all of the old caulk. Trust me and invest in a caulk scraper. Why? Because it will only scrape the caulk – it won’t scrape your walls and trim. If your walls are in good shape, this tool is important.
Sand the Old Caulk
Here we go again with the sanding, but it’s necessary. Again, I’m so used to it being a painter, but anyone can sand. Consider it time to get some of your aggression out. Any caulk that you couldn’t remove will soon be a thing of the past once you get in there with the sander.
Caulk to Your Heart’s Content
Now the fun starts. Get out your caulk gun and silicone caulk. Cut your caulk tube at a fine angle. You don’t need a ton of caulk like you would on a tub. Remember, this is for beauty as well as function. Take your time. Hold the gun as close to the baseboard as possible. Don’t let in any gaps, remember, you want to create a seamless appearance.
If you are worried about caulking too much, prep the area with tape. I didn’t because I’m so used to caulking, but I could see how easy it could be to go out of the lines. Just tape the top and bottom of the area you need to caulk and take the stress off you. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.
Smoothing the Caulk
Okay, now that you’ve caulked, you probably look back and think it’s awfully bumpy. That’s okay. We are going to get out our fancy tool, called our finger and smooth out the caulk. Just wipe your finger with light pressure all the way down the caulk line. Work in sections so that you don’t end up with dried bumpy caulk too.
Next, pull off that tape. Don’t wait too long or the caulk will dry to the tape. Guess what would happen then? You guessed it – you’ll pull your new caulk off with the tape. Then you will start back at square one – not somewhere you want to be, I know.
The Dos and Don’ts of Caulking
The steps above get you the beautiful caulk line you want in your home, but there are a few tips I think you may want to hear:
- Do Tape, tape, tape – Don’t skip the tape unless you are a professional painter like me
- Do use silicone or latex caulk – It cleans up the easiest and looks the nicest
- Do choose a caulk gun you can use – Don’t think you have to get the most expensive caulk gun, choose the one that feels right in your hand
- Don’t over caulk – Go slow and work in small sections
- Don’t pull the caulk – Instead, push and you’ll get a nice, even line
- Don’t cut the caulk tube straight on – You need it an angle or you’ll just have blobs of caulk
If you take your time and use my tips, I bet you’ll transform your baseboards and trim with just this little task. It doesn’t cost much, but man, it gives you a nice, clean look. I started on my stairway, but eventually ended up doing my entire house because I loved the clean lines. I didn’t have to do anything else, just that simple change really changed things up for me.