Do you have wood stained trim in your home? Are you painting your walls? Do you hate the way the wood trim has gaps? Well- these issues and concerns are today’s answered question. Should I be Caulking wood trim before painting?

Hello everyone, thanks for taking the time to read todays question. I am David with Dfranco Painting and Wallpaper in Huntley, IL. This questions comes from a home we are painting in Elgin, IL.

Why is my trim not caulked?

If you have stained trim, 99.9% of the time, the trim is not caulked to the wall. The result is a gap between the wall and trim. I am not a fan of the gap between trim and walls either.

(if you have painted trim and it is not caulked- then someone dropped the ball and did not do their job)

You can caulk stained trim, but it is quite a tedious step by step process. We can go over how, but we just wanted to make sure you know not caulked stained trim is very normal.

If you are getting ready to paint your walls a new color or maybe just doing touch ups, then caulk wood trim before painting may be on your to-do list.

Should I caulk wood trim before painting?

The should question is always a hard question to answer. Should, could or would can be very subjective as they reflect personal choice.

I am not a fan of the gap as I have said earlier. Gaps in trim, if dark can be easily ignored or overseen- as the dark gap kind of goes away, it is not unsightly to the eye for the most part. These gaps can, however, be nasty looking if the trim was not installed correctly.

Gaps between walls and trim can result in dirt/dust/debris getting between the wall and trim. That gap in the trim can be difficult to get clean as a vacuum cannot easily reach between small spaces (think tight spaces in your car when trying to clean it.

Items needed…

So here is the quick and dirty… Items you need to caulk wood trim before painting:

  • clean rags
  • water
  • 5 in 1 tools
  • solid paintable colored caulk- the same color as your wood trim
  • drop cloths or masking paper
  • masking tape

You need clean rags so you can clean the trim before Painting. Damp rag works great, if there is dirt, grease grime etc, then you made need a cleaner so the tape and caulk stick to the wood surface.

We wanted to make sure you see that you need paintable caulk- do not use silicone caulk- as it typically is not paintable, it smells like vinegar and takes a long time to cure.

How to caulk your trim before painting walls

Just to make sure, we are only talking about caulking trim that is stained wood, not painted trim. There is a HUGE diffference.

So 1st thing is cleaning. You need to make sure the wood trim and the floor are clean so tape can stick to the surfaces

once everything is clean.. then you can start taping. We really like blue frog tape. It sticks, and removed easy leaving clean lines. Tape the edge of the trim so you can see the very edge of the wood and leaving the gap to get filled with caulk. We leave the slight edge so there is a place for the caulk to full stick too.

Next caulking.. cut out a small hole- too big and you have a mess to deal with. Just use enough to fill the gap, then wipe smooth with wet rag to get clean line.

Once a area is caulked, then pull the tape. You dont want the caulk to stick to the tape! Once tape is pulled, allow the caulk to dry overnight.

The next day, you will have to re-caulk the area before painting. Dark caulk will either need 3 coats of paint or primer to cover the dark color caulk before painting colors such as white.

What if I have white trim?

We will save this how to for another day, but here is a old video on this…

Got painting questions?

we have answers! let us know if you have a specific question we can help with!