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I'm installing painted MDF crown molding, and I wasnt sure which method for covering nail holes is technically correct. Is using caulk considered a shortcut? Or is filling in the holes with wood putty and then painting only for the super perfectionist with too much time on their hands? I already filled in some of the holes with caulk, and I can't really see them when standing on the floor. My only concern is that it will reflect light differently since the paint is semi-gloss.

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wood putty is a pain and you have to sand it hard. Lightweight Spackle works great. – shirlock homes Nov 12 '11 at 22:41
@shirlockhomes, Do you know what the english name for "Lightweight Spackle" is, I have never seen it in the UK. – Walker Oct 16 '12 at 12:35
@Doresoom: yes, perfect – shirlock homes Oct 16 '12 at 21:35
up vote 5 down vote accepted

The key criteria for me is the size of the holes. If you used brads, then I have no problem with using caulk, especially on baseboards. The only possible downside is if you leave a fingerprint in it. You have to have eagle eyes to pick out a small hole like that.

With crown molding though, I'd plan on a lightweight spackle. Mostly because of the cost and effort you already put in installing it, might as well finish it nicely. Vinyl spackle works great, but again if the holes are small, just about anything made by DAP works fine. If you find yourself with a large hole, bondo (auto filler) does amazing things. Or you can use painter's putty, glazing, just about anything can be made to look really good. Sand and touch-up as needed.

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lightweight Spackle is the best, and you can use a damp cloth to smooth it over after 15 mins and paint in half an hour. Caulk tend to be a bit messy on small nail holes, but works. – shirlock homes Nov 12 '11 at 22:39
Awesome, I've already got some DAP Fast-n-Final lying around somewhere in my garage. – Doresoom Nov 14 '11 at 15:26

Alexa dap caulk in a squeeze tube! It's sandable, printable And super easy to work with. The squeeze tube gives a lot more control as opposed to a caulking gun.

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This. I usually use Alex 2 with a caulk gun, but have used the squeeze tube stuff before as well. – Zach Dec 9 '11 at 17:58
I'm usually not doing enough at one time to warrant cracking a tube. The squeeze is resealable, and I have more control over the flow. But yeah, if it's a big job, the caulking gun is less tiring. – Chris Cudmore Dec 9 '11 at 18:00
I stick a nail in the top of mine and back the plunger from the gun out to release the pressure. I'm sure there are better ways, I know some tubes come with lids made for them. A screw or a nail has always worked ok for me, but sometimes I have to clean the nozzle out some with a wire after removing the nail. – Zach Dec 9 '11 at 18:34

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