(206) 949-5683, Top Rated Plumber, Seattle
Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Trim Gaps

  1. #1

    Default Trim Gaps

    Back to trim questions again. I've got a whole bunch of trim to do. About 1000 linear feet.

    What do you guys recommend for caulking the trim to the wall and caulking in the non perfect corners?

    When I asked before about filling the nail pops you guys told me not to use Alex Caulk and suggested light weight spackle. Should I use spackle for calking the top of the trim and the bad corners?

    Thanks

    Tom

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    21,395

    Default

    Do you know how to do a coped joint? Properly done, they hide some of the seasonal expansion/contraction gaps.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3

    Default

    Can't say I've done coped joints but I know what they are and have seen them. My corners should be mostly tight. I'm pretty decent with floor trim. Now door trim is another thing entirely.

    My main issue is going to be the gaps between the trim tops and the wall. These are old plaster walls, some of them anyway, and they are pretty sloppy. So once I place the wall trim I'm going to have to caulk the tops of the trim.

    So what would you recommend for filling those gaps, Alex Caulk, Light Weight spackling compound or something else?

    Thanks

    Tom

  4. #4

    Default

    You should use caulk on trim transitions to the wall and in corners. Two reasons: 1) it's flexible so it'll absorb much of the expansion and contraction btn the different substrates, 2) it's easier than applying spackle or any 'canned' product.

    Now, if yr staining yr trim, you should probably not use ANY caulk, but should scribe the backs of yr trim pcs and belt sand them to get the trim to conform to the wall best as possible. Darker stain will hide gaps to some extent too.

    What kind of trim are you talking about? If chair railing, then I highly suggest you practice coping. The joints will look much better over time. After you get up the learning curve, it's easy. If door casing, then coping doesn't apply.

    If yr painting yr trim, I advise using MDF trim. Many are against it, but it has many advantages (IMHO): 1) does not warp, 2) is cheaper than wood, 3) paints smoother, 4) miters and coped joints machine easier and cleaner 5) is flexible, so conforms to wall irregularities better - especially on crown.

    I'd only use wood for: 1) trim that is to be stained, 2) small pieces like 1/4rounds or caps, or picture rails (mdf won't hold up for these small pcs) 3) baseboards in high traffic areas that might get a lot of banging 4) making my own trim (mdf is killer on router bits).

    And please (sorry to be a snob) don't use polyurethane molding. It's easy to spot and looks cheap (IMHO)
    Last edited by prashster; 04-15-2008 at 05:27 AM.
    (important note: I'm not a pro)

  5. #5

    Default

    The trim is going to be painted white. They sell light weight spackling compound in a tube. I already purchased one but haven't opened it yet. I've always done it with Alex caulk but I believe it was you that said it will crack. Just making sure I don't need to unlearn something.

    As for MDF trim. I avoid it simply because it won't stand up to abuse. I agree with everything else you've said. However I will be doing the crown molding in MDF.

    So should I just use Alex Caulk then?

    Tom

  6. #6

    Default

    I didn't say caulk will crack. On the contrary, it's flexible, so it's a good choice on seams where shifting is possible. However, It will shrink a little when used as a nail hole filler. So, y'll see dimples on holes. That's why not to use it on nail holes. It also doesn't paint as well as filler (imho). Sanding down the filler on a seam where you need a tight paint line will be a pain.

    On scarf seams or same-plane joints, I'd probably still use filler - even though scarfs can open too; just a personal preference; I prefer the flatness of filler/putty on those kinda seams.

    So my advice:

    latex caulk (e.g., Alex) on the molding seam to the wall and in corners.
    Putty/filler/spackle on pin nail holes and scarf joints.

    Take all this with a grain of salt: I'm not a pro - just a guy who's done a lot of trim work around his own home.
    Last edited by prashster; 04-15-2008 at 05:23 PM.
    (important note: I'm not a pro)

  7. #7
    Jack of all trades frenchie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Brooklyn, NY and Fire Island, NY
    Posts
    1,244

    Default

    This pro concurs. Caulk on corners, putty on flats. (Trade secret: bondo dries faster, allowing you to sand (& re-putty if needed) more quickly...).

    RE caulk - If the walls are really wavy, leading to big gaps, you may need to go over things twice. Allow it to dry completely before painting, or you'll get cracks as it shrinks...

    With the amount you're running, it really is worth it to learn how to cope. The learning curve's a little steep, but not that long... check Gary Katz's website (google him) for the finer points, he's a really good teacher.
    Last edited by frenchie; 04-15-2008 at 10:18 PM.
    Master Plumber Mark:

    there is nothing better than the
    manly smell of WD 40 in the air
    while banging away on brass with a chisel and hammer...

    it smells like......victory......

    do not hit your thumb...
    __________________
    Just so everyone's clear: I'm the POODLE in the picture ("french", get it?) The hot woman is my wife.

  8. #8

    Default

    Thanks for the tips guys! I will google Gary and see what he's all about.

    One last question. When you guys caulk, do you go back and paint over the caulk?

    Thanks

    Tom

  9. #9
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Central Florida
    Posts
    2,686

    Default Finishing sheetrock or trim against a brick wall

    I've got a brick chimney with deep mortar joints, against which I have to finish both sheetrock wall panels on the vertical, and crown molding above. Any suggestions for filling in the mortar joints and/or just making this look decent? I'm thinking maybe a grout caulk color-matched to the mortar might work.

  10. #10

    Default

    Hey Trim experts,

    So do you paint over the caulk after your done or just leave it be?

    Thanks

    Tom

  11. #11
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Central Florida
    Posts
    2,686

    Default

    If the caulk doesn't match the trim color, I'd paint it. When I install trim, I prime it and put on one topcoat prior to installing, then a finish topcoat after it's up. That's usually enough to cover filled nailholes, caulked seams and gaps, etc. I'm especially careful to make sure any trim surface in contact with a floor is painted, to avoid potential damage if the area gets flooded or aggressively washed.

  12. #12

    Default

    I also prime and paint 1 top coat on my trim prior to installation. I usually do my trim in white semi-gloss.

    Post installation, I paint a second coat over the 'meat' of the trim, staying shy of the seams. It's quick, hides the nail holes, and I find the seams don't really need a 2nd coat. I never paint the caulk. But then again, I'm strictly using white paint. Even on off white trim, I'd not paint the caulk.

    A pro told me that it's bad to topcoat the trim prior to installation if yr using a pneumatic nailer bkz it can shatter the paint and make it hard to cover even with multiple coats. I have not found that to be true - or at least noticeable.
    (important note: I'm not a pro)

  13. #13

    Default

    I double coat the trim, shoot it up with nails and then come back and hit it with puddy and then spot paint.

    I've never experienced paint shatter before.

    Tom

  14. #14
    DIY Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    College place
    Posts
    3

    Default Spackle with just 1 coat topcoat

    For painting with oil base, I've found that spackle (from the can) needs its own primer before you topcoat. If you don't prime spackled areas first, the spackled area of the finish coat looks "dry" and ruins the continuity of the luster of the paint.

    High gloss oil base has more varnish in it than duller finishes, so it's more durable -- but it also shows poor prepping.

    So -- I try to use latex caulk wherever I can because it paints over beautifully with just 1 coat. There's nothing nicer than trim caulked to old plaster walls -- it just looks terrific to see all those gaps closed! (Before latex caulk appeared on the market, I used to try to fill small cracks with paint and it was always a frustration.)

    One trick that works: if I MUST use spackle, I can smooth a very tiny amount of latex caulk over it after that area has been sanded, and you can get by without priming. Course, if there's lots of spackling, it'd probably be easier to just prime.

  15. #15
    Jack of all trades frenchie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Brooklyn, NY and Fire Island, NY
    Posts
    1,244

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Buni View Post
    One trick that works: if I MUST use spackle, I can smooth a very tiny amount of latex caulk over it after that area has been sanded, and you can get by without priming. Course, if there's lots of spackling, it'd probably be easier to just prime.
    That'll peel, eventually. Always better off to just prime.
    Master Plumber Mark:

    there is nothing better than the
    manly smell of WD 40 in the air
    while banging away on brass with a chisel and hammer...

    it smells like......victory......

    do not hit your thumb...
    __________________
    Just so everyone's clear: I'm the POODLE in the picture ("french", get it?) The hot woman is my wife.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •