We just began work on a new listing that will be available in a few weeks. This old carpet needed to go and be replaced with a vinyl wood flooring. New quarter round will also be installed. It has always been a pet peeve of my ex-paint contractor self the way installers finish floor trim (baseboards and quarter round).
They usually fill all of the nail holes with caulking. The caulking shrinks and you can still see the outline of the hole. If they are not careful, excess caulking is left around the hole, which looks messy. The caulking is left unpainted most of the time so after a few months the caulking starts to yellow. I am not sure why this is so prevalent. It almost seems like this is an industry standard. I can't tell you how many times my crews have had to scrape the old caulking off and start over. It is a time consuming task!
This is how I like to have the project proceed:
- Prime the floor trim, if they are bare wood. I prefer a quick drying oil primer.
- Sand all floor trim with 220 grit sandpaper. Dust.
- Paint floor trim with at least one coat of 100 % acrylic semi gloss finish paint.
- Install floor trim.
- Caulk floor trim at wall and where two trim pieces meet.
- Fill holes. (See options below)
- Apply one or two coats of semi gloss finish paint.
- Touch up walls just above baseboards.
Material options to fill nail holes.
- Painter's putty is the product most professional painters use. They get a small handful of putty, squeeze it in a rag to dry it out a bit, then push it into the hole with their thumb and cut off the excess with a putty knife. This does take practice, but is quick and gives satisfactory results. I think the next few options below look better.
- Lightweight spackle is also a good choice. I usually overfill the hole a bit and use my putty knife to scrape off the excess, then sand lightly when it is dry. This is also quick and easy. It looks good when finished.
- Regular spackle is what I prefer. I overfill the holes, then sand smooth when the spackle is dry. If done right, the finished surfaces will be completely smooth. This does take quite a bit more work than option 1 or 2 above so many contractors will resist this one.
- I have met some very high end contractors that will use Bondo (or other epoxy filler) to fill holes, then sand off any excess. I have done this myself. It yields excellent results, but takes A LOT of work. Bondo dries quickly and is hard to sand.
If you are hiring a general contractor or a floor installer to replace your floors and floor trim, I would discuss how they plan to caulk, fill holes and finish it before you hire them. It really can make a big difference.
If you are planning to list your home for sale in the next year, it is not too early to prepare. If you have any questions or need help with a plan, feel free to reach out. I would be happy to help.
Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI, e-Pro
3412 Babson Drive
Elk Grove, CA 95758