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Cheap Fix for Small Cracks in Your Baseboard and Trim

4 Materials
$10
10 Minutes
Easy

Do you live in an old house like I do? Do you have baseboards and other trim around your house that’s pulling away from the wall in spots? Do you have trim work with small hairline cracks? It’s surprisingly common and happens all the time, I notice it in just about every house I go into.

Maybe small cracks and gaps in your trim don't bother you, that's ok, your just an uncivilized barbarian. This article
cheap fix for small cracks in your baseboard and trim
This is the type of crack and gap I'm talking about. As wood shrinks and expands overt the time, gaps start to form and can become unsightly.
cheap fix for small cracks in your baseboard and trim
I spent about an hour and $10 going around my bedroom fixing all of imperfection I could find. Here’s what I used, and what you’re going to need to follow along at home.

First you’ll need some latex caulking. Because my trim is all white I used white caulking. The caulking comes in a wide ranges of colours. Do your best to match it to the colour of your trim. If you’re really struggling to  find a shade of caulking that matches your trim you can always use clear caulking, it tends to take on the colour of whatever it’s applied to. It also works really well when you have two different colours meeting each other. Don’t get freaked out when the “clear” caulking comes out of the tube white, it’ll dry clear.

Next get yourself a decent caulking gun. Generally I try and buy the simplest all metal caulking gun I can find. If you’re a beginner however a cheap plastic dripless caulking gun will probably do you just fine.

Finally you’ll need a couple of cheap rags. You have some rags right? If not just cut up an old t-shirt or use an old pair of socks.
cheap fix for small cracks in your baseboard and trim
First step if going to be wetting your rag. Because latex caulking is water based, any mistakes you make can easily be cleaned up with a little bit of water, which makes it incredible user friendly for first timers. No need to worry about messing anything up here!
cheap fix for small cracks in your baseboard and trim
Then you’ll have to cut the tip on your caulking tube. From the factory the caulking tubes come completely sealed so they don’t dry out. By cutting the tip you’re creating a hole for the caulking to flow out of. An exacto knife or other sharp knife works nicely for this. Use a cutting board or something similar to keep the caulking tube stable. If you try and cut it while holding it in your hand you will mess up the tip. Trust me, I’ve been trying for years and I still can’t do it.
cheap fix for small cracks in your baseboard and trim
You don’t need to cut much off of the tip. In fact a small hole is usually the best bet. However larger gaps and cracks may require a larger hole. Use your own discretion, but err on the side of too small. As you can see in this photo I cut my tip at a 45 degree angle. This makes application much easier, because it allows you to hold you caulking gun at a 45 degree angle from whatever you’re applying your caulking to.
cheap fix for small cracks in your baseboard and trim
You’re almost ready to go. Last step is to prime the caulking gun. Squeeze the trigger until the caulking begins to flow from the tip. Clean it up and you’re ready to rock!
cheap fix for small cracks in your baseboard and trim
Next find an offending crack that you want fix. This one will do for me, a piece of quarter round has come away from the wall ever so slightly and is creating a real eye sore. Place your rag nearby because you’re going to need it handy as you work.
cheap fix for small cracks in your baseboard and trim
Now take your caulking gun, pull the trigger and as caulking flows out of the tip slide your caulking gun along the length of the crack (haha, I hadn’t considered how many double entendre this guide would have). The trick here is to apply a thin bead of caulking over the crack. Better to use too little than too much, you can always add more in a second pass.
cheap fix for small cracks in your baseboard and trim
Next take your index finger and slide it along your caulking bead. You're essentially using you finger like a squeegee. Wiping off excess caulking and forcing it down into the crack you're trying to fill. You may need to take multiple passes with your finger. Pause often and wipe off your finger on the wet rag.
cheap fix for small cracks in your baseboard and trim
Now stand back and admire your handy work. Minor trim imperfections are no match for your DIY skills. Honestly unless you're on your hands and knees with a magnifying glass you won't be able to tell there was ever a crack there.
cheap fix for small cracks in your baseboard and trim
Now hopefully you understand the power of this white tube. Go forth and improve your own homes! I have more examples of trim defects you can fix with caulking on my blog as well. Hit me up below with any questions or comments!
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Have a question about this project?

3 of 12 questions
  • Franb
    on Jul 17, 2018

    Over time, doesn't that caulk dry up and crack? I would think a better brand would work better.

    • Walter Bercarich
      on Oct 8, 2018

      There is a caulk that is paintable and also contains silicon, and as he said these caulks don't crack. However, they do shrink, so, after your first coat wait till it dries and you may have to add another layer.

  • Diana Mann
    on Oct 8, 2018

    Why use a cumbersome gun when the small tubes of caulk are available? Less waste, too, should the tube dry up. Great tip, though.

    • Diana Mann
      8 days ago

      Thanks for the suggestion. Glad the guns work for you with your situation.

  • Jos23600383
    on Oct 8, 2018

    thanks Zac, I've been wanting to seal top and bottom of our baseboards in our utility room and half bath. we've had a couple of overflows from our washer and there was water everywhere. would it be a good idea to seal both top and bottom so the water doesn't get into everything?

    • Shelly Moore
      on Oct 16, 2018

      Look for waterproof caulk for bathrooms and kitchens, or weatherproof. Some is paintable, some not.

Join the conversation

3 of 81 comments
  • LD
    on Oct 21, 2018

    I really appreciate this post. I’m a new Do-it-yourselfer and there are lots a posts that assume people know how to do common tasks. Believe it or not, I’ve never truly learned how to properly use a caulk gun, nor do I know the difference between the proper type of caulk to use in different scenarios. I now need to learn the proper way to use some measuring tools like a square! One day I’ll be a pro but until then, these posts help a lot. Thank you!

    • Zac Builds
      on Oct 30, 2018

      My pleasue LD! I do my best to write these guides in such a way that no prior experience is neccessary, I'm glad I hit the mark with this one :)


      Thanks for the feedback, really appreciate it!

  • Dfm
    on Feb 28, 2019

    Knee pads, very useful when caulking lower areas...dug out the ones from my scatebording days. Speaking of the scateboard...put your supplies on it and roll it in front of you, no back tracking to retrieve them.

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