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 them 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 it on porous floorboards will seal it, making it difficult to apply a finish. Also, you must use one that fits the floorboard’s and baseboard’s look.

Pros/Cons

Pros

  1. Prevents water damage, especially in broken pipes or water heater leaks.
  2. It prevents dust nibs and debris from getting underneath.
  3. Prevents the floor from moving or separating.
  4. Blends into the color and shade of the floorboard and baseboard.
  5. You can paint over caulk with any type of paint as long as you prime and use good paint.

Cons

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

Types of Caulk To Use

There are different types 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, it 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) makes it expand and stretch. This means that it can be used to fill large holes and gaps between the floorboard and baseboard.

Pros

  1. It is inexpensive.
  2. Due to its expansive features, you can use it to fill and cover holes.
  3. Dries fast.
  4. You can cover it with any type (or color) of paint to match the floor color. 
  5. It is compatible with all floors.

Cons

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

Silicone Acrylic Latex Caulk

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

Cons

  1. It’s difficult to paint over it due to the presence of silicone compounds that will repel the paint.
  2. It can be difficult to clean and maintain.
  3. Expensive.

Polyurethane Caulk

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

Pros

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

Cons

  1. It can yellow over time if exposed to UV rays. 
  2. You must sand and prime it 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 paint first.

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

The baseboard will look patchy if you caulk the baseboard to the floor after painting because they usually come in white or grey color, and their color doesn’t match the color of paint.

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.

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
  • Latex Caulk
  • Rags
  • A caulk gun (optional)
  • A broom or vacuum
  • Masking tape

Here’s the guide you need:

1. Prep The Baseboard

Prep The Baseboard and Laminate Floor

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

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

2. Tape The Baseboard

Tape The Baseboard

After you clean the planks, 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 it. But, you can also load the tube and use a caulk gun to apply it.

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 tube directly, you must fix its tip 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 it, apply it over the gaps and spaces. Don’t apply too much of it 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 it, scrape off the excess using a plastic putty knife and leave it 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 it 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 it 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 it has hardened you can walk over it. 

However, its dry time depends on the type and how much paste you applied. For instance, wood caulk dries the fastest because it 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 to solidify and become hard.  So, as long as there’s 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 planks. You must do this to prevent patches and color variation.

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

While installing laminate planks, you must leave expansion gaps between the laminate planks 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 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 planks to buckle and lift.

After applying it around the planks, use a putty knife to remove the excess.

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 it to fill gaps between the 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 .

Final Words

You can caulk between the 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 planks. If you don’t, the finish will look patchy.

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