Caulk Gaps Under Bottom Of Baseboards
You've installed the baseboards, caulked in the tops and all the corners, and ready for paint touch-up. Oh no! What’s that ugly gap where the baseboard hits the floor?
Of course you push down on the top of the base, as hard as possible, trying to get a snug fit on the floor while fastening. I carefully use the rubber butt end of my hammer. Unfortunately the gap is inevitable, no matter how hard you push, no matter how flat the substrate. These ugly gaps are especially pronounced installing taller baseboard styles, over lighter to medium colored wood floors, not to mention the dreaded gap over hand scraped or distressed floors.
You'll Make A Mess Just Like Me!
When I first tried caulking the bottom baseboard gaps, it was a total mess. A few years back an old time painter turned me on to a little trick, using blue painters tape. It takes a little time at first to get the knack of setting the tape, so you don’t see caulking after you pull the tape. It is a little time consuming on the first couple jobs or so. But once you get the hang of it, you'll fly right through. It's amazing how nice it finishes the job off.
My Tips For Caulking Bottom Of Baseboards
1. Use good quality tape- 3M 1” Blue Painter’s Tape
2. When setting the tape, hold the roll flat up against the baseboard as a guide in positioning the tape (first photo above). The object is to set the tape at the exact vertical position where the baseboard would make contact with the floor. Using a finger, mould the tape to the contour of the floor, IE: bevels, distressing.
3. Corners. I use the point of a utility knife blade pushing the tape down in the corners. The knife point in the corner, will also allow you to tear the tape off exactly in that corner.
4. When caulking, try to have the position of the nozzle flat on the base instead of straddling the 90, or down on the tape.
5. Don’t be afraid to fill the gap so the caulking is bulging out. Otherwise when you pull the tape, the caulking will pull out of the gap in some locations.
6. If it's more comfortable for you to set the tape from left to right. For removal pull the tape in the opposite direction, from right to left. This way you’re not messing up any overlapped tape edges in the corners on the adjoining walls.
7. Caulk one wall at a time, and pull the tape right away. This prevents the caulk from skinning over. I'll caulk while crawling backwards, then crawl forward running my index finger hard against the caulk. I have a small wet rag in my other hand. At the end of the wall the tape is pulled slowly, at an angle away from the wall. Presto! Your baseboards will look like they’re growing out of the hardwood floor!
Wiping excess caulk