Caulk Between Baseboard and Floorboards? (Can You Do It?)

There’s always a gap between the floors and the baseboard. So, can you caulk between the baseboard and floorboards to cover that gap?

You can caulk between your baseboard and floorboards by using wood sealant or caulk. The caulk will cover gaps and spaces where the floorboard meets the baseboard.

This helps to prevent moisture and dust from damaging your floor and baseboard trims.

However, caulking must be done only for non-porous floorboards. Using caulk on porous floorboards will seal the floorboard, making it difficult to apply a finish. Also, you must use a caulk that fits the floorboard’s and baseboard’s look.

Pros/Cons of Caulking Between Baseboard and Floorboard?

Next, let’s find out the pros and cons of applying caulk between a baseboard and a floorboard.

Pros

  1. Prevents water damage, especially in broken pipes or water heater leaks.
  2. Caulking floorboards prevents dust nibs and debris from getting underneath your floorboards.
  3. Prevents the floor from moving or separating since the floorboards will sit flush against the wall.
  4. Caulking paste prevents pest damage as insects can’t burrow into the gap between baseboard and floor.
  5. Blends into the color and shade of the floorboard and baseboard.
  6. You can paint over caulk with any type of paint as long as you prime and use good paint.

Cons

  1. Caulking paste can’t be used with porous floorboards, vinyl sheets, or carpets.
  2. The caulk seals the expansion gaps making it difficult for floating floors (such as laminate) to acclimate to the subfloor. 
  3. Caulk can turn brown or yellow after a while, especially if the caulk is exposed to direct sunlight.

Types of Caulk To Use

There are different types of caulking pastes and compounds that you can use around floors and walls. But, let’s check out the best ones:

Latex Caulk

Latex caulk is a water-based paste manufactured by combining synthetic polymers and natural latex compounds.

Due to its water-based formula, latex caulk is compatible with floorboards and baseboards, and the paste dries fast. On average, latex caulk dries within an hour.

The presence of natural latex (rubber-like compounds) in the latex caulk makes it expand and stretch. This means that this caulk can be used to fill large holes and gaps between the floorboard and baseboard.

Pros

  1. Latex caulk is inexpensive.
  2. Due to its expansive features, you can use latex caulk to fill and cover holes.
  3. Dries fast.
  4. You can cover latex caulk with any type (or color) of paint to match the floor color. 
  5. Latex caulk is compatible with all floors, including floating floorboards like laminate and vinyl flooring.

Cons

  1. Latex caulk is not very durable.
  2. Latex caulk is not weather-resistant and will get ruined if you use it on outdoor floorboards.
  3. It will wear off if exposed to high temperatures. 

Silicone Acrylic Latex Caulk

Silicone acrylic latex caulk, known as siliconized acrylic latex caulk, has a similar formula to latex caulk but also includes silicone compounds.

Silicone is a strong compound that is water, heat, and weather-resistant. Every silicone caulk is designed to withstand heavy use and traffic without wearing off.

Pros

  1. Silicone acrylic latex caulk is durable
  2. It has impressive moisture resistance.
  3. Prevents flooring problems like buckling and peeling.
  4. Silicone caulk is weather resistant. So, you can use this caulk outdoors.

Cons

  1. It’s difficult to paint over this caulk due to the presence of silicone compounds that will repel the paint.
  2. Silicone caulk can be difficult to clean and maintain.
  3. This caulk is more expensive than latex or acrylic caulk.

Polyurethane Caulk

You can use polyurethane caulk to seal, cover, and fill the floors and building gaps. This caulk contains urethane compounds which make the caulk flexible and waterproof.

Pros.

  1. Polyurethane caulk is water-resistant
  2. Curbs mildew growth
  3. Bonds to floorboards
  4. Stops pests and insects from burrowing into your floorboards

Cons of Polyurethane Caulk

  1. Polyurethane caulk can yellow over time if exposed to UV rays. 
  2. You must sand and prime polyurethane caulk to paint over it. 

Caulk Before Painting

You must caulk baseboards and floorboards before painting. That’s because the caulked areas must blend with the paint. The painted surface will look patchy and unprofessional if you caulk after painting.

Caulk is a preparatory product that is used to fill holes and gaps. So, you must use caulk on baseboards before painting. That’s because you can paint over the caulk to make the whole surface even and professional. 

The baseboard will look patchy if you caulk the baseboard to the floor after painting. This is because caulks usually come in white or grey color, and the white color of the caulk will not fit the color that you paint the baseboard with.

Even if you paint the baseboards white and then apply the caulk, there will still be a difference in color variations because caulk change color over time. So, caulk before painting to prevent a patchy-looking baseboard. 

Related Read: Can You Paint Over Caulk?

How To Caulk Between Baseboard and Laminate?

Caulking between baseboard and laminate floor is easy, but you need the right guidance and tools to make it easier. Here are the tools you need:

  • A pair of work gloves
  • The right caulking compound (Latex caulk will work fine on laminate)
  • Rags
  • A caulk gun (optional)
  • A broom or vacuum
  • Masking tape

Here’s the guide you need:

1. Prep The Baseboard and Laminate Floor

Prep The Baseboard and Laminate Floor

First, prep the baseboard and laminate floors for the caulk. 

Remove all the items and furniture in the room (or near the baseboard). If the laminate floor has carpet, rubbing fitting, or floor mat, you must remove it too. Sweep

After, sweep or use a vacuum to remove the dust nibs and filth around the baseboard and laminate floor. You can use soap, water, and a soft sponge to remove tough stains. 

2. Tape The Baseboard

Tape The Baseboard

After you clean the laminate floor, use masking tape (or painter’s tape) to cover the baseboard and trim. This prevents accidental paint spills on the baseboard and walls. You can also tape the edges of the laminate floor. 

3. Prep The Caulk

Prep The Caulk

Caulk comes in a tube that you must squeeze to expel the caulk. But, you can also load the tube and use a caulk gun to apply the caulk. 

If you use a caulk gun, you must prep it first. Load the caulk into the caulk gun properly before cutting the tube. If you cut the tube before fixing it on the caulk gun, the caulk will flow out, causing wastage.

If you use the caulk tube directly, you must fix the tip of the tube first. The tip is a long hollow plastic that fits directly on the tube. This tip allows you to apply the caulk in tight spaces. 

4. Apply The Caulk

Apply The Caulk

After you prep the caulk, apply it over the gaps and spaces. However, don’t apply too much caulk as you don’t need it. 

To apply the caulk, put the tip of the tube at one end of the hap and move the tube while squeezing it along the gap. Do it in the same way you squeeze toothpaste into your toothbrush.

After applying the caulk, scrape off the excess caulk using a plastic putty knife and leave the caulk to dry. On average, caulk will dry to touch within an hour. But, you must leave it to dry for at least 3 days before the floor is re-used. This is to give the caulk enough time to cure and harden.

Remove the masking tapes after the caulk has dried.

Caulk Dry Time

It takes caulk between 30 minutes and 2 hours to dry to touch. But, you must let the caulk dry for 3 days before using or walking over it. That’s because it takes caulk a few days to fully dry, harden and become waterproof. Only when the caulk has hardened you can walk over it. 

However, the caulk dry time depends on the caulk type and how much paste you applied. For instance, wood caulk dries fastest. That’s because wood caulk dries through oxidization and not evaporation.

Oxidization (or exposure to dry air) happens when the air current around the caulk carries the oxygen that causes the polymers in the caulk to solidify and become hard.  So, as long as there’s a proper airflow, the caulk will dry within 1 hour.

Latex and latex acrylic caulk dry within minutes. But, polyurethane and silicone caulk can take a few hours before they dry. That’s because polyurethane has a more complex formula. 

Caulking Around Laminate Floors

You can caulk around the laminate floors. But, you must use a caulk that matches the pattern and color of the laminate floors. You must do this to prevent patches and color variation on the laminate floor. 

Also, you can only caulk around the laminate floor after the floor has acclimated. If you caulk around the laminate before the acclimation, you will fill the gaps and make it impossible for the laminate floor to adjust properly. 

While installing laminate planks, you must leave expansion gaps between the laminate floor and the base wall. That’s because the laminate planks will stretch and expand based on the temperature change for the first days after installation. This expansion is how laminate planks adjust and fit properly to the floor. This process is called laminate floor acclimation. 

So, if you caulk before the acclimation, you will cover the gaps and the laminate planks won’t fit properly to the floor. The lack of expansion gap can cause laminate floor buckling and lifting. 

After applying the caulk around the laminate floors, use a putty knife to remove the excess caulk.

Caulking Between Floor and Walls

You can caulk between floors and walls. But, you must use the right caulk to fit the floor and wall so the finish doesn’t look discolored or unprofessional.

Also, you shouldn’t use caulk to fill large gaps between the floor and walls since caulk is a sealant. Instead, to cover large holes and gaps, use wood putty.

You can use caulk to fill gaps between floor and walls only if the gap is smaller than ¼ of an inch (thick). If the gap is larger than ¼ of an inch thick, you must use wood putty because caulk can’t fill large holes. 

Final Words

You can caulk between baseboard and floorboards if you use the right caulk. You must use latex caulk for indoor surfaces, and polyurethane (or siliconized) caulk for outdoor floors. Siliconized caulk is more durable and can withstand heavy use. 

Use a caulking paste with the same color as your walls and floors. If you don’t, the caulk will show and the finish will look patchy.

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