{renovate} finishing trim, correctly

Happy Monday friends! Did you have a good weekend? We managed to escape to the beach for a couple nights and it was heavenly. Chris hasn't been down since the start of the kitchen remodel, so it was extra awesome because he was there!

And, we could not have asked for better whether - so beautiful. I actually wanted to include this photo because it's the only pretty one of this post. Today, we're going to discuss trim - and it isn't terribly glamorous.

A couple years ago when Chris and I were seriously looking at buying a new house, we visited a lot of open houses. What struck me as crazy and disappointing was just how many houses I could TELL were diy'd. Friends, you should not be able to tell when a house has been diy updated. The biggest tell-tale? Trim. When trim isn't finished correctly it is not only obvious, but quite frankly, just sloppy. 

Well with three doors in the kitchen and a window, plus all new crown and base trim, I feel like all I've been doing lately is finishing our trim! So, I thought I'd give you a quick lesson on how to correctly do finish trim.
See the newly installed trim at the top? So many nail gun holes! And, sometimes there will be seams. This is especially true when you live in a REALLY old house where NO walls are square and you have to cheat things a little :). Your tools for finishing the trim are paintable caulk, a caulking tool - so worth the couple bucks - and wood filler. 

First, I fill the nail holes. Yeah, I'm not neat about this - I want to make sure they're full of filler! Next, I caulk. I pretty much caulk anywhere you can see a space. You'll see a good example below, but here I simple used my finger to spread caulk into the seam. I don't want anyone to be able to ever tell we had two pieces of wood there. Once that's all dry, I sand the wood filler. The goal is to get as much of the filler off as possible - for this I used 150# grit. You don't want any filler left outside the hole - it causes a bump, but you want the hole filled - or you'll see a gap. Perfectly smooth is what you're aiming for. It's actually pretty easy to tell just by running your finger over the area. And, I often fill, sand and then fill and sand again before it's perfectly smooth. I painted a quick layer of primer to show you the finish when it's done correctly - you can't see where the seam or the holes are, which means it's ready to paint!

Does this process take forever? YES. Is it completely worth it? YES. Friends, please, please fill your holes! 

Here's a quick example of what a difference caulking makes:
Did I mention that none of our walls are straight? Um, yeah. It's obvious in that huge gap in the first photo. I simply ran a bead of caulk over the entire line. Then I took my handy tool and ran the point along the 90 degree angle where the trim meets the walls. See all the excess caulk? You definitely want that gone for a clean line. See? So much less caulk in that last photo - and no space. You can probably tell there's a little caulk on the wall. That's okay. Remember, it's paintable caulk and I'll be touching everything up. Once I'm done, you'll never be able to tell :).

The take away from today? Please remember, if you're tackling your own remodeling projects, it's the details - you know, those dreadful tasks that take FOREVER and you just want to give up on - that actually make the biggest impact. You don't want all your beautiful hard work taking a back seat to not finishing the details.

Friends, do you love working on the details? I know some people who love painting trim and caulking - they think it's relaxing. Is that you? Or do you dread the detail stuff?


  1. I always feel like that's one of the biggest things that I notice in houses.... Trim! If they have any that is. It's definitely one of those things that if not done right, sticks out like a sore thumb. That's why finish carpenters exist. They know how to finish them! ;)

    Much Love,

  2. I actually enjoyed the caulking process and did not enjoy the painting of the trim - sounds strange I know. But you are so right that it's important to finish these details for a very finished look.

  3. I dread the small details! I get bored easily.

  4. Great topic, while admittedly not glamorous, it does makes such a huge difference. I don't have a home & thus no DIY unfinished trim, but I have never thought about how demoralizing it must be for home shoppers to see little unfinished things like that because it does make people think "if they cheat on trim, what else have they cheated on that we can't see." I kind of feel like I can take this lesson and apply it to many facets of life. Attention to small details is important and usually just tiresome, not difficult.

  5. Did you write this post just for me :)!??! After our Insta-chat I was secretly hoping you would give a quick tutorial since this is probably in my future! The details are definitely a love/hate thing, they totally pay off but totally suck in the process!

    Thank you!!!!


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