Paint Prep: Caulking

Caulk Seams Before Painting for the Perfect Finish

#HomeTipTuesday this week is about the most important step in prepping to paint a room: caulking the seams. It's not always top-of-mind, you might think that a fresh coat of paint is all you need. But when you've spent a lot of time in new construction (as most buyers in our area have, either in their search or in their current apartment or condo) you learn to expect a smooth wall that blends seamlessly into the trim. You expect no divots where trim was nailed into the wall. You expect no cracks, crevices, or dark shadows.

Whether you are painting your interior yourself or paying a painter, you need to make sure thorough caulking is part of the prep. We can't overemphasize the importance of caulking every seam: wall to trim, trim to trim, and anywhere trim or wall meets anything else. It is possibly the cheapest, easiest, and most impactful thing you can do to give your interior the vibe of tight, fresh, new construction.

How To

We buy painter's caulk by the case (it stays good for a long time indoors). It needs a caulk gun, which is very easy to operate. You need to slice the tip off with a knife, best at a slight angle so you can angle it into the seam. It takes some pressure to get it going, but never fear, you can wipe up excess easily, so go for it!

If the seam you're caulking has old caulk -- it's cracked or gaping or loose? If so use a razor blade to easily cut it free from the wall and trim and start fresh (it'll look super after).

Once you've laid a bead of caulk along the entire seam, dip a finger (with a short fingernail) into a bowl of water, shake off the excess, and use your damp finger from the corner all the way along the bead. If you use enough pressure on your finger to maintain connection to both sides of the seam, you'll be making a nice, smooth, clean looking seam and when you get to a corner, another clean finger can make a smooth clean juncture.

Heads Up

And for nail holes or other blemishes, DON'T use caulk, it'll shrink into the hole leaving the same shadow behind after fresh paint. Use spackling or wood filler, using a putty knife or your finger to make a smooth, flat surface that you may need to sand before painting.

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