I just bought a house and I’m trying to understand what options I have for fixing the sides of these wooden stairs because the caulking is cracked where the stairs abut the wood paneling. These stairs are beautiful but there are cracks like this throughout the house.

How can I fix this?

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  • 2
    Pictures will help. I would think some trim pieces would last longer than caulking.
    – crip659
    Commented Jan 12 at 22:47
  • Please go to the help center and look for the link to get your accounts merged. That's why you weren't able to edit your question without it going to a review queue. I've approved the edit (but it'll take another) before your pics will show up.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jan 12 at 23:34
  • Thanks for the suggestion. Added pic @crip659
    – LukeMR007
    Commented Jan 12 at 23:54
  • Clean the old caulking where it's cracked, being careful on the stair tread, recaulk with paintable caulk, then paint. Depending how it comes off the tread you might have to do some touchup on the tread itself, but if you're really careful I could envision any touchups being done with one of those color matched furniture markers. Those are nice looking treads!
    – LarryBud
    Commented Jan 13 at 0:16
  • LOL, 2 answers: "scrape off the caulk, tape, recaulk, paint" v "leave the caulk, no tape, no new caulk, paint". Good luck with that one!! :D
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jan 13 at 14:58

2 Answers 2


Remove any loose caulk,

Use painters tape (blue stuff) to tape off the edges of the stair tread. Be sure to continue over the bullnose front. The tape will give you a nice straight caulk line and protect the nice treads from getting caulk on them. ( I like to have tape covering at least 2 inches.)

Apply new latex paintable caulk. Smooth the caulk with a finger then wipe with a damp Grout sponge. The bigger sponge gives a nicer finished line. Remove the tape soon after wiping, before the caulk fully dry or you may pull the caulk away.

When the caulk is dried you can touch up the paint. Applying tape again will prevent paint from getting on the treads.


Leave the old caulk alone. There's no way you're getting it off w/o tearing off some finish. Scrape off what you can on anything that's white. Then refill the gap and paint over everything, cutting with a 1" brush that costs no less than $40.

And don't use tape unless you're so good with it that you're one of those people that can detail a car with a razor blade. - It's more likely you're able to free-cut with a brush (erring on the side of caution, is good enough) than you'd be at taping next to old caulk and have it look any better than that.

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