When you're in the middle of remodeling your home, that's a few years old, you may notice that there's a small gap between the floor and the baseboard. One question that comes to mind is whether you should caulk the gap or leave it as is. But don't worry, as we contacted professionals and asked them what their opinion is on the matter.
According to experts, if there is an eighth of an inch or more space between the floor and the baseboard, then caulking is necessary. This helps protect them from unwanted damages caused by moisture and dust. Applying caulk on firm and hard surfaces such as stone, hardwood, and the like is generally the best way to go.
In this article, we will further discuss why it's necessary to caulk the space between the floor and baseboard and whether there are pros and cons. Not only that, but we will also discuss different types of caulk and more. So, continue reading from this point forward to find out more.
Is It Necessary To Caulk Between Floor And Baseboard?
Generally speaking, caulking is necessary to protect your home. Many contractors would recommend that you caulk the gap between the floor and the baseboards to prevent damages from outside sources, like water and dust, from getting inside. Overall, it provides a ton of upside without much downside, especially when you're redecorating the inside of your home.
However, that doesn't mean you should completely ignore the downsides of caulking. After all, when done incorrectly, caulking will bring as much harm to your home as it does good.
Another thing that you should remember is that caulking isn't the only option you have. Some contractors would bring up other solutions besides caulking regarding sealing gaps. For example, if the floorboards are porous, applying caulk to them is not a good idea, as it makes it difficult to apply a finish.
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Advantages Of Caulking Between Floor And Baseboard
This section will talk about the many advantages of why caulking is generally good for most homes. Additionally, we will get into more detail about the side effects of not caulking your floor and baseboards.
Protection From Water Damage
As stated earlier, caulking prevents moisture from seeping into the flooring. So, if there is a leak or heavy rain from outside, water cannot get in between the floor and the baseboard because the caulk acts as some sort of sealant.
If you don't apply any caulk in the gaps between the floor and the baseboard, the floorboards would warp and bubble. In the case of hardwood, water seeping underneath can cause it to rot and form mold. For laminated floors made of vinyl, bubbles are likely to form on the surface.
Prevents Insects And Debris From Getting Into Small Cracks/Gaps
Pest infestation is a nightmare for most homeowners. And one way to prevent all those ants, spiders, stinkbugs, and flies, among others, is by sealing up the space between the floor and the baseboard. By doing so, you prevent these pests from taking root inside your home.
Not only that, dust and debris would not collect underneath your flooring as well. An overabundance of these would cause damage to your interior walls over time and create an environment that would cause allergies.
Last but not least is that sealing away all those gaps would make a more pleasing home aesthetically. If there are gaps between the floor and the baseboard, it may give off an unprofessional appearance to a visitor.
Not only that, but you can use the color of the caulk to your advantage as well. By sealing those gaps, you can create a seamless transition between the floorboard and the trims of the baseboard.
Disadvantages Of Caulking Between Floor And Baseboard
Of course, if there are advantages, there are also disadvantages. It's important to note that these disadvantages focus more on timing and where you want to caulk.
Ruins Carpeting On The Floor
Applying caulk is not a good idea if you add carpeting to the floor. That's because it would ruin the carpeting by staining it and create an absolute mess.
Instead, you would need precise measurement. You need to calculate the thickness of the carpet, along with the installation of the flooring and the baseboards, so you'll prevent gaps from forming.
This is a given, but there's no point in caulking when there's no gap in the first place. Not only does it make caulking redundant, but it wastes money.
Additionally, most contractors would decide whether caulking is necessary based on how wide the gap is. If it's less than an eighth of an inch, then there's no need to caulk. Doing so may ruin the overall aesthetic of your home.
Change In Color
Speaking of aesthetics, another reason contractors would not want to apply caulk is that its color would change over the years. While some brands may hold up better than others, it's a given that caulks develop this sort of yellowish stain. Direct sunlight would also cause this stain to appear as well.
That's why some contractors would prefer not to apply caulk when possible. But the best way to get around this issue is simply painting over the caulk. But don't forget to prime it first, or the paint will not stick.
Newly Built Home
Most homeowners know that a newly built house would contract and expand over a few years. This is why cracks form on the walls of a new house after around a year or so.
The constant shifts inside your home, along with the changing temperature, can cause caulk to shrink and expand over time. You may have seen the results of this in the form of caulk pulling away from where they were, causing gaps to form.
Reapplying the caulk every year or so is a must. Using a caulk with a low shrinkage rate would help resolve this issue.
What Type Of Caulk To Use Around Floors?
One must know that different types of caulks work best under certain situations. And in this section, we will discuss what some of those are.
Generally, this is what many would consider an all-purpose caulk. Because of its latex properties, this caulk can easily stretch and expand, making it a good solution for fairly wide gaps.
And because it's a water-based caulk, it doesn't take long to dry, needing only around an hour. Painting over it poses no issue as well.
Because of this, latex caulk is generally inexpensive and easy to apply on most surfaces. The downside, however, is that it's not very durable. This caulk easily wears down in the presence of outdoor weather, such as harsh sunlight and heavy rainfall.
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Silicone Acrylic Latex Caulk
This is what many would refer to as an industrial-grade caulk. This caulk can withstand heavy stress and traffic, making it incredibly resistant to wear and tear.
On top of that, this type of caulk is fire-resistant as well. As such, this works best in your kitchen, where there are plenty of heat sources.
Due to the nature of this caulk, they are quite expensive. Also, if you're planning to use this product, be aware that they can be quite difficult to clean and keep well-maintained.
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The urethane compounds found inside this caulk make it water-resistant and flexible. Not only that, it helps prevent the growth of mold and mildew as well.
Most contractors would use this sort of caulk in bathrooms. The downside, though, is that it easily stains yellow under direct sunlight. And if you plan on painting over it, you must sand and give it a prime coating first.
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To summarize, applying caulk between the floor and the baseboards is necessary, but it isn't under certain circumstances. Recognizing when and where to apply caulk is the key to creating a well-protected home. The aesthetic nature that comes with applying caulk would be a pleasing bonus for any homeowner.
If you found this article informative, consider checking the links below. They explain in greater detail topics that were not in this article. These topics would help broaden your knowledge about caulking in your home.
How To Caulk Baseboards To Floor [Steps Explained]