Oct 16, 2007

Caulk. The act of caulking

Undoubtedly caulk is a one of the painter’s best mediums. The saying goes, caulk and paint will fix what a trim carpenter aint. Trim carpenters who do nice work can save a painter countless hours of preparation. I am very fortunate to work behind an excellent trim carpenter on our jobs, in the past I worked behind some of the worst; in the trade we call them hacks.

For example: we might use 4 or 5 tubes of caulk on an entire house with our current carpenter. A house of the same size with a careless trim carpenter may require over a case of caulk and all of our caulk is hand-laid.

So when, what, where and how?

We believe that any and all trim should be caulked where two pieces of wood meet or where the trim meets the wall. Even though a trim carpenter can install the casing tight to the door jamb, we believe that area should be caulked.

Here’s why, if we were to paint a casing without caulk that was installed properly with a tight fit (no gaps), that casing will generally be fine for the time being. All houses expand and contract, so while it might be tight today, it might not be in other months of the year. The other reason and it’s the main reason is shrinkage. In new home construction or any project that requires new wood materials, you will have shrinkage of the wood.

What caulk should I use? As far as painting goes, there is only one type of caulk, paintable acrylic with silicone and typically a 35 year caulk. NOT silicone caulk! We DO NOT use caulk to fill nail holes or imperfections in the wood.

When to apply caulk? On pre-primed trim we caulk between the two coats of finish. We simply do this because all our caulk is hand-laid and the first coat of paint allows our fingers to glide better over the surface, this method is best. On bare wood, we caulk after the primer coat is sanded and swept clean.

See also: Caulking TIPS


SS said...

I don't understand.

On pre-primed you caulk after the first coat of paint. Easy glide with the fingers. Makes sense.

On bare wood, you caulk after the prime coat. Why not after the first coat, as above?

SS said...

I asked my contractor to caulk the area between the concrete slab and the wall plate (2x4 along the floor, if I have the term wrong :) I requested silicone caulk because I wanted to contain water if there was another leak.

I now read do not caulk on bare wood. I think this is an adhesion problem, not just a staining issue? alright? It seemed to be okay. All is covered now. Is it usually alright? Would it have pulled away soon after?