How to Patch a Nail Hole in Moulding

What You'll Need
Caulkcaulking tube
Wood filler
Utility knife
Fine-grit sandpaper
Wall paint
Wood polish

The presence of a nail hole in the mouldings along the windows or doors can be very unsightly. A nail hole can be easily repaired with some basic, household tools and some simple instructions explained below.

Understanding Nail-hole Patching Approaches

Patching helps to strengthen surfaces that have been damaged due to repeated nailing or hammering. There are basically two approaches for patching nail-holes in mouldings—patching with caulk and patching with wood-fillers. The patching process is essentially the same in both the approaches. The major difference between the two approaches lies in the kind of patching material used.

Caulking is recommended for mouldings around bigger walls and ceilings or surfaces that have substantial paint cover or contain concrete/cement. Wood-filler patching is recommended for filling nail holes of wooden mouldings or those that need to have a distinctly, finished appearance. Wood-filler patching usually renders a better finished appearance than caulked nail holes.

Instructions for Patching Nail Holes

Step 1—Cleaning Nail Hole Surface

Clean the nail hole, ensuring that any kind of dust or lose debris is removed. You can use a paintbrush for this. You can also scrub the nail-hole sites to ensure that residue from previous caulking or the peeled paint layers are comprehensively removed. Nail holes among wooden mouldings present a bigger cleaning problem since the wood chips often get embedded within the nail hole. You can use a small scraper for scooping-away the chips.

Step 2—Filling Nail holes

For nail-hole caulking, caulk retailed in the tube form is recommended. Using a utility knife, cut the tip of caulking tube. Direct the tip of the caulking tube towards the nail hole and press it. Ensure that you don’t squeeze too hard. This can cause caulk deposition around the nail hole. Wood-fillers are also retailed in the form of tubes but these tubes are too thick to be used directly over the nail holes. Using your fingers, apply some of the wood-filler over the nail hole. Press upon the filler material to push it into the nail holes.

Step 3—Removing Excess Patching Material

Using a wet sponge, wipe-away any extra patching material. Wood-fillers are easy to wipe-off and leave little residue. When wiping the excess caulk, rub the caulked site in the direction of the surface grains, i.e. grain-pattern of the wall-paint or polishing. This helps to camouflage the caulked nail holes.

Step 4—Inspection and Finishing

Allow the patched nail holes to dry for about a day or two. Inspect the patched site. If some excessive patching deposits are still visible around the nail-hole edges, rub them with fine-grit sandpaper. Repeatedly, run you palm over the patched site. Keep sanding it until it feels smooth. Using some wall paint, dab the caulked site to ensure that it is well concealed in the background of the surrounding surface. Similarly, you can finish the filler-patched nail holes with some wood polishing.