Filling Nails on Trim

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by statjunk, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. statjunk

    statjunk DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    542
    How do you guys fill nails on trim? Do you use wood puddy or alex caulk?

    I told a guy I was going to use wood puddy and he looked at me like I was a ghost and told me that I was wasting a lot of time.

    What's the opinion on this one?

    Tom
  2. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Architect

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    Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

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    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    If it is wood to be painted, then by far the easiest product for me is the premixed lightweight spackle. You can put it on with a putty knife, or your finger, smooth it with a damp rag or sponge, and usually don't need any follow up sanding or a second coat.
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    26,635
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    nails

    How is the trim going to be finished? If painted then putty or caulk is fine. If it is going to be stained then use a matching color filler stick AFTER the finish is applied.
  5. statjunk

    statjunk DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    542
    It's going to be painted white.

    Wow I guess the guy was right. I've been putting in too much effort.

    I'll give the spackle a shot. So is the damp rag or sponge the suggested method of smoothing it?

    Thanks

    Tom
  6. prashster

    prashster New Member

    Messages:
    941
    Don't caulk. Use spackle or wood filler. Caulk will contract a bit and leave you with dimples. Spackle will contract less, filler even less.

    Filler is the best, IMHO. There's an easy way to do this:

    Apply with finger and then immediately wipe down gently with a just barely damp sponge. You won't have to 2nd coat and you won't have to sand. You can immediately paint.

    The trick is to wipe quickly and with a sponge that's wet enough not to rake the putty, but dry enough not to add water to the putty - which'll cause it to shrink and dimple.

    Caulk on nail holes is not smart; you'll see it thru the paint.
  7. statjunk

    statjunk DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    542
    Hey guys,

    I used a product called Vinyl Spackling. It wasn't the cat's meow to say the least. The damp sponge kept drawing the material out of the holes. I stopped using the sponge and started using a puddy knife to scrape it flush. This worked better but is about as much work as using wood puddy and sanding since the wood puddy is much more workable. I had to fill most of the holes 2-3 times before they were done.

    Any other ideas on what I'm doing wrong? The thought of being able to sponge the surface and call it done is quite appealing.

    Thanks

    Tom
  8. prashster

    prashster New Member

    Messages:
    941
    How big are yr nail holes? If they're 15ga or smaller, go with wood putty (I like Elmers. Minwax is a little more grainy, but it'll work ok too.)

    I usually fill all the holes first, and then go around and wipe with a sponge. Don't get the impression that there's some fancy technique here, but if yr having probs, try wiping in 2 passes: 1) wipe AROUND the actual nail hole as close as possible. You can push fairly aggressively; the purpose is to remove all material here. 2) Lightly wipe over the hole itself; the purpose is to remove push the material in flush.

    Truth be told, if I'm able to get at the putty while it's still moist, it swipes off real easy with a couple of circular swipes..
  9. statjunk

    statjunk DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    542
    Nope they are standard finish nails. Don't recall off hand what the guage on the nails is but they are standard. I even had a hard time with the nails that they used to build the doors so it isn't the nails I was using or the depth.

    There were a couple of places where I had to center punch a nail and I slipped and opened a larger holes. Those filled much better with the sponge technique.

    Tom
  10. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,777
    Location:
    USA
    How do you put the nails in? It was a disaster with my hammer. My drywall is just too solid. I guess nail guns are the way to go with trim?
  11. statjunk

    statjunk DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    542
    I used a finish nailer.

    TT
  12. prashster

    prashster New Member

    Messages:
    941
    Yr hitting something besides drywall, then.

    But yes, a pneumatic finish nailer or brad nailer is the way to go with trim unless yr doing a small amount of it.

    Pneumatics countersink cleaner and smaller than hand nailing. They also allow you to stabilize the trim with one hand and shoot w the other, which'll result in less movement. Oh yeah, and they're wicked faster.
  13. statjunk

    statjunk DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    542
    I discovered the issue here. I switched to an 18 guage nailer over the 16 guage I was using. All of the nail heads filled with one go.

    I purchased a comperssor nailer combo from HD 3-4 years ago and the brad nailer that comes with that package can't shoot nails over 1 1/4". So I purchased a brand nailer that can shoot nails up to 2 1/8". Still having the occaisional miss fire where the nail comes out the side of the trim but overall much better because it produces smaller impression on the trim.

    Just sharing my experience.

    Tom
  14. prashster

    prashster New Member

    Messages:
    941
    Here's another cool tip when using a pneumatic - especially on furniture: Cover the area with a strip of painter's tape. SHoot through the tape and fill/sand/paint with the tape in place. When you peel the tape, you won't see the defect. The tape also helps protect the surface from tip blemishes.

    Getting wood putty on the surrounding trim or furniture sucks. On painted trim, it needs to be primed and then painted before it matches the sheen of the rest of the trim. On furniture, it can lodge in the pores and affect the stain.
  15. statjunk

    statjunk DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    542
    Hey thanks for sharing that is a great tip and I won't forget it.

    Tom
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