Gaps between the baseboards and floor shouldn't be there. However, sometimes these gaps form because of various reasons. Can you seal or fill these gaps? And if so, how can you do it? We discussed this with flooring professionals to provide you with answers.
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Caulk any gap that is up to ¼ inch high between the baseboard and floor. It allows for expansion, which happens over time. The steps to caulk include:
- Identify the correct caulk
- Tape your floor
- Apply the caulk
- Smoothen the caulk
- Take off the tape
- Paint the baseboards
Continue reading as we take you through the steps of caulking between the baseboard and floor. We will discuss the best caulks to use, and the pros and cons of caulking.
How Do You Caulk Between Baseboards And Floor?
The gap between the baseboard and your floor should not be larger than 1/4 inch high. You can comfortably caulk a gap of this size and fill it. But, if it is larger, the best material to use is shoe molding, rather than caulking it.
You use caulk on floors that are hardwood, laminate, stone, or any other suitable floor. Applying caulk on a floor that has carpeting is not recommended, because it will get stained and reduce its attractiveness.
It is advisable to use a caulk you can paint. Once you finish installing the caulk, it is a good idea to paint it the same color as the baseboard to achieve uniformity. It improves the aesthetic appeal of your home.
In the following example, we shall show you how to caulk between the baseboard and a tile floor. The tools you need are:
- Caulking tool
- Caulk gun
- Latex caulk
- Painter’s tape
- Trim paint
1. Identify The Correct Caulk
To effectively fill cracks and seal corners, choose a type of caulk that works for the job.
Your caulk should be flexible, waterproof, strong and one that forms a stable bond between the board and the tile. Also, choose one that you can paint.
Latex would be the caulk for this job. Silicone would not be a good choice because paint will not adhere well to it because it will flake off.
Estimate the number of caulk tubes you will need. You may need between 1 and 3 tubes for a single room.
2. Tape Your Floor
Tape your floor using the painter’s tape. The edge of the tape should line up to the bottom edge of the baseboard.
This step may appear too tedious, but it is important that you do so. It will give you a professional finish and will prevent the caulk from going onto the tile floor.
3. Apply The Caulk
Cut the tip off the tube at an angle, and load the caulk into your caulk gun. Slowly and steadily apply the caulk in the gap between the baseboard and tile.
After you finish, check if there are any gaps on top of the baseboard and the wall as well. Fill up these spaces.
The video below demonstrates how to apply caulk:
4. Smoothen The Caulk
The next step is to use your caulking tool to smooth out the caulk to remove the imperfections. This prepares it for painting. It also does not collect dirt easily.
Try to avoid using your fingers to smooth the caulk, even if you have the skills. Opt to use the caulking tool like the one shown below for a perfect finish.
5. Off The Tape
Remove the tape when the caulk is still wet, otherwise it could get trapped, and create a mess. It might take you a lot of time trying to get rid of the mess.
Wipe off any excess caulk using a damp rag. Removing it when wet will give you a smooth finish.
6. Paint The Baseboards
When your caulk dries, the next step is to paint it. Unpainted caulk will look dull and become discolored later. This is because, with time, it attracts dirt and dust.
Tape the floor again to avoid paint splattering on the floor. Also, add a drop cloth to catch the paint drops.
The best color to paint on the caulk is the same one as that on your baseboard.
What Is The Best Caulk To Use?
The most important factor when choosing the best caulk is its base material.
The most common household caulks are silicone, acrylic latex, or a combination of these two.
This caulk, like the one shown above, fills up the gaps fast, and comes in a variety of colors. The advantage of using it is that you can paint it.
However, it is not waterproof but water-resistant. So, you can't use it in areas prone to water. It is more suitable in drier areas of your home, such as the living room, bedroom, etc.
It is durable and has a lifespan of at least 20 years.
It is flexible, with a lifespan of at least 35 years. It does not easily peel or crack, no matter how long it lasts.
Providing a better waterproof barrier than latex, it is more suitable for wet areas like the bathroom. It is more expensive than latex, but it cannot be painted. And it is only available in neutral colors such as white and clear.
As we earlier explained, don't use this caulk because you can't paint it.
Acrylic Latex With Silicone
This is a better version of acrylic latex with the benefits of silicone in it. It provides better resistance to moisture and is also flexible because of the silicone.
But, remember, you cannot paint it because of the silicone, and may not be suitable for use on your baseboard.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Caulking Baseboards To Floor?
As a homeowner, you may prefer other methods to this one. Let us explore the pros and cons to help you make a credible decision.
Protects Against Water Damage
Caulk provides an excellent barrier to water. If water spills on your floor, it will not enter the spaces between baseboards and the floor.
This prevents damage to your baseboard because of rot and growth of mold.
Keeps Out Cold Air
Sealing all gaps in your home, including the ones at the bottom of your baseboard, will retain heat. It prevents the cold air from entering and the warm air from flowing out.
Protects Against Insect Infestation
The cracks in the baseboards can harbor insects such as cockroaches, ants, or even spiders. Did you know bed bugs too can hide in these cracks?
By not giving insects any way to enter and live in those tiny spaces, there will be fewer or no insects in your home.
The gaps between the baseboards and floor can be unsightly. But when you fill them up with caulk and smooth it out, your home will be more appealing.
Settling Of Home
Over the years, your home will settle, naturally contracting and expanding. Your baseboard and floor will also go through the same, causing the caulk to crack or pull away.
You may have to caulk each year but look for a caulk with a low shrinkage rate.
The brand of caulk you use will determine how well it holds up, and how long the color lasts. Some may turn yellow or become stained with time.
Cannot Use On Carpeted Floor
You should not apply caulk between the baseboards and floor, if the floor has carpeting. Your carpet flooring will get stained.
It would be good to consult with a professional on this one.
Spaces between your baseboard and floor can be unattractive. In addition, it can bring about unpleasant conditions such as cold drafts, and many types of insects can hide here. But you can close the gaps by caulking.
With the pros and cons explained here, use the most appropriate caulk. You also need to use the correct technique to apply the caulk if you want a smooth finish.
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