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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    3

    Question How do we finish our new baseboards?

    When we had our new floors installed we didn't know any better and paid the floor guy to put our wood baseboards in throughout the house. We had our baseboards all ready - painted with oil-based paint and ready to go, so we just let him do it since he was there and offered. We now know that we should've hired a TRIM guy - go figure.
    So....we now have our pretty white 5" baseboards installed (when i say installed I just mean nailed in - we had to caulk them ourselves)and they just look bad. The corners don't meet up exactly right and where they meet the door frames it's the same thing. And they still have many of the nails showing. I used plain old white caulk (that's what the installer said to do) to cover some of them, but after a while I realized that this couldn't be right so I stopped.
    My question is this - what do we do now? Do we use wood filler to cover up the remaining nail holes and to try to make the corners look better? Then sand and repaint with the same oil-based paint? OR - would it be best to hire a trim person to come in and fix it? I don't even know if anyone would take it on.
    Oh that we had done our research and known the difference btwn a floor installer and a trim installer.....

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    6,481

    Default Re: How do we finish our new baseboards?

    How I normally do trim is to prepaint the trim (as you had done ), then install it. From there, corners get caulked and nails get spackled, lightly sanded and spackled again if needed. From there the entire run of trim gets another coat of paint to blend the caulk and spackle in. That's how I prefer to do it because this way there is little to no attention paid to details during the final paint, or touch-up process. Had you left the trim unpainted, you'd now have to mask or cut in the primer and two coats of paint, whereas by prefinishing you're only doing touch-up with a modicum of cutting in.. Prepainting is faster and easier than doing it after the fact. It sounds to me that the main problem is a poor quality install which has left bulged seams, misaligned corners, etc. There is a certain amount of adjustment that you can do to correct these problems, but obviously you didn't get what you thought you were paying for.

    Another trick to finishing is when applying spackle is to over fill the void so that hydraulic pressure creates a dome of spackle over what was the void. Allow the spackle to dry then using a sharp edged putty knife, sc**** the surface over the void to remove the excess spackle. This produces a flush finish with no sanding and minimal marring of the prefinished surface.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: How do we finish our new baseboards?

    Thank you for your replies. I think I will just try to do this myself with the advice you've given, A Spruce. I have spackling for the nail holes and will try the method you mentioned. Can I ask one more question --- what type of caulk would you recommend to use on the corners? Just plain old white stuff or does it have to be special since it's going on oil-based paint and will be repainted?
    Thank you so much!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    6,481

    Default Re: How do we finish our new baseboards?

    I generally use painters caulk, which is a basic, white, latex caulk. Easy to use and well suited to the job.

    When caulking, the key is to use a minimal amount, lay it off with a wet finger, and add more if necessary.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: How do we finish our new baseboards?

    Thank you so much! We're going to start this weekend....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: How do we finish our new baseboards?

    set all the trim nails with a nail set tool and a hammer you want those nail heads below the surface of the wood trim.

    if the holes are very deep fill them in two parts as sometimes the filler bulges out and sometimes as it dries it dimples in or contracts and then pops out, so make sure it dries all the way before you sand it smooth.

    whether you use spackle or plastic wood filler which i prefer because you can sponge it smooth as well as sand it, pre-prime or seal those filled spots before you touch up paint with your oil based paint so you don't have flat spots or low sheen where the filler or spackle is.
    Last edited by Blue RidgeParkway; 11-14-2008 at 10:20 AM.

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