If you are fitting new baseboards in a room with hardwood floors, you might be wondering what you need to do to get a good join and ensure the baseboards look right. There are a few key steps that will ensure everything looks great and lasts well, and you should find out what these are before you get started.
Hardwood floors are expensive, so you don’t want to make a mistake when you’re working with them. Fitting baseboards can be a fiddly job, depending on the space you’re working in and the tools you have, and you might be trying to figure out whether you need to add caulk between your baseboards and the hardwood floor or not.
Should you caulk between baseboard and hardwood floor? The answer depends on the amount of space between the baseboard and the floor. If there is more than an eighth of an inch between the two, caulking is recommended, and will protect both the floor and your baseboards from damage. If you have a smaller gap, caulking may be unnecessary.
When Should You Caulk Between Baseboards and Hardwood Floors?
If you have a fairly large gap between your baseboards and your hardwood floors, you will need to caulk between the two. Anything over one eighth of an inch is considered big enough to require caulking. Doing this is generally considered a great way to protect the floor from things like insects, dust, and water.
If you don’t caulk between the baseboards and the floor and then water seeps in through the wall, there is nothing to prevent this from running down into the hardwood and damaging it. This damage could be expensive, and might cause staining, warping, and even rotting in the wood, so it’s important to take it seriously.
Water is one of the biggest dangers a hardwood floor faces, so it’s worth taking the time to do this if the gap is noticeable. The caulk will also stop dust and insects from getting into the space, which will further protect the floor.
How Do You Caulk Between Baseboards and Hardwood Floors?
Start this process by using painter’s tape to tape off the floor where you are going to caulk. This will protect the wood. Next, cut your caulk tube open at an angle, insert it into the gun, and then gently compress the trigger to squeeze some caulk out of the nozzle. Press it against the gap, and the caulk will fill the gap.
From here, you can work your way along the baseboard, gently squeezing the trigger to apply caulk to the whole length of the gap. When you’ve finished, you should also check whether the top of the baseboard needs caulking or not.
Next, you’ll want to smooth the caulk. For this, you need a special caulking tool, as this will give you a great finish. Run the tool back and forth across the caulk until it is smooth. When you’re done, remove the tape and wipe up any caulk that has got underneath it.
You may also want to paint the caulk to make it match and minimize the dust that sticks to it. If so, wait until the caulk has completely dried, and then prime it and paint it in your color of choice. It might take a couple of coats.
Always be prompt about cleaning up any caulk spills while you’re working, as it’s possible for it to get into the grain of hardwood floors, and it can be difficult to clean up.
Does Caulk Make Your Floors Look Better?
A lot of people prefer the appearance of their baseboards once caulk has been applied to them. It gives the area a “finished” look and helps to create a seamless transition between the wall and the floor. If you don’t caulk, you are likely to have a small gap between the two, and this looks less pleasing.
However, if the gap is small, you don’t have to caulk it. You will soon find that you stop noticing the gap, and it will not be particularly visible to other people either. Not many people pay significant attention to baseboards, so if you’d rather not invest the time and energy in caulking, you shouldn’t find it makes much aesthetic difference.
Should You Caulk if the Gap is Small?
There is little point in caulking small gaps between baseboards and floors. You can do so if you choose to, but this does mean investing time and energy in it, particularly if you then choose to paint the caulk. If you don’t paint the caulk, it may stand out, and over time, it will take on a yellow hue that doesn’t look very attractive.
Caulking certainly isn’t a necessity for small gaps between hardwood floors and baseboards, so weigh this up before you decide to start filling the space. Bear in mind that caulking where there is essentially no gap could end up looking worse than leaving a very small gap, especially if you aren’t a professional.
Will Dust Collect in the Gap?
One of the reasons that some people do prefer to caulk is because it seals the gap and stops dust from collecting in there. If you don’t add caulk, you should be aware that over the years, dust and grime will get between your baseboards and the floor.
You can use a vacuum with an attachment to suck at least some of this out, but it’s not ideal if you like to keep your home very clean. You might therefore decide the caulking is a good idea – but you’ll have to weigh this up against the time and cost investment that it requires.
Caulking between a baseboard and a hardwood floor is a good idea if there is a gap between the two, but it should be more than an eighth of an inch. If the gap is narrower than this, many people decide not to caulk, because the benefits are not significant enough to justify the time and materials required by the job.