Wood Trim

Step-by-step DIY tips to help you in preparing exterior trim for painting, from cleaning to sanding to stripping the woodwork. The longer the wood dries, however, the greater the risk that UV radiation will damage the wood surface, interfering with the paint’s adhesion. Excess moisture, flat-grained wood, high porosity in paint and applying a new paint coat without proper preparation of the old surface can all lead to early paint failure. Enamels dry ridged and therefore don’t flex and will crack leaving a gap for moisture to get in and this is when your paint work starts to break down. While painting over paneling takes a bit of extra preparation, the end result looks great. If you do happen to get stain on the casing remove immediately with a soft cloth.

For the latter, Pam prefers standard oil-based stains like those made by Minwax, and she always tests them on an old or hidden piece of wood to make sure the color is right before applying it to the sash and trim. New hardware would be fun, but what we had was fine, so I planned to spray paint them all black so they would match each other and coordinate with the other black accents in the room. Rain, dew, ice , and snow on the outside or vapor and moisture buildup from the inside can cause problems with exterior paint.

My 2 cents would be to get another quote on the paint job without the doors or trim and see if the difference helps make your decision much easier. Quick note: In the majority of our house, I chose to just prime our trim rather than sand it. However, I did remove the trim and sand it in the living room/dining room area because I knew it would get the most wear and tear.

We used a high-quality acrylic caulk on our barn to seal the corner joints, seams and trim pieces around doors and windows. Apply a thick coat of stripper to the surface with an old natural-bristle paintbrush (many strippers will melt nylon bristles). It’s been one thing or another, and I’ve been either short on time or short on cash to complete the trim repaint.

I help old house lovers understand & restore their homes so they can enjoy the history and character that surrounds them more everyday! We removed the cabinet fronts, washed everything down, hand sanded each and every door and cabinet sorry, I can’t remember the grit we used, however it’s recommended to use 150 or finer, wiped them down again, primed and then painted them with two coats of the Behr interior satin paint.

If you need to paint wood that is badly weathered, the wood should be sanded, power rinsed, and allowed to dry before priming. I always tell people to choose cool colors that don’t have red, orange or yellow undertones since the wood already does. I usually give everything at least a slight sanding prior to priming to make sure my paint comes out smooth and lasts a long time. Moisture may also condense on the attic side of the roof decking and eventually work its way down the side walls, causing paint peeling near the tops of these walls.

I just kept the door open as you can see below and I kept the door knobs on until I was all done so that I could use them as I handled the doors during the painting process. People tend to choose black or white for metal rails and mailboxes, but if you want a different colour, custom tint Fresh Start® Multi-Purpose Oil Based Primer (K024) (high-gloss) to any shade you want. Then paint it. If its real wood, I would consider leaving it if its in good condition and is not in the budget. We lived in a 50’s ranch with medium stained floors and trim throughout the house.


Paint your mouldings first and once they are dry, tape the moulding edge (or buy a moulding paint gadget), THEN paint the wall color. Sanding trim will help to remove any oily coating on the wood that might prevent your paint from sticking, and will give a clean, smooth base for your new paint to be applied to. Sanding is an especially important step when you are painting over old trim that is previously stained or painted, or new trim that has a glossy sealer over the top.

See the video to learn the technique I use to trim the corners and get the tape perfectly placed on the glass. I actually taped it all down with painters tape, but later found that to be the hard way to do it. They actually sell painters edges which slide along the trim as you paint and are much easier. Saying that though, if it looks REALLY old, take a photo and go to your local antiques dealer, just to be sure, after all, you would not want to cover a genuine Chippendale cabinet, with some green paint from B and Q would you?! I’m getting ready to paint the wood trim in our home and wondered if you could share more details about which primer and paint you used.

Finally, in historic interiors, especially where there is heavy paint buildup, paint can weaken and fail due to chemical or mechanical reasons. It levels beautifully (like it was sprayed), but the old oak casings (chair rail and crown) still do show some oak pattern, but not to where I’d remove them or anything. If you would like to make it a statement any way you go, I would widen the wood around the doors and baseboards.

These problems may be observed in both heated and unheated buildings, are more pronounced on edges and ends of boards, especially in the early stages of paint failure (Figure 1), and are also observed where water is held on the surface. Ok, now is the time to focus on your DIY paint project so get all your tools and sundries ready to hand before you start. When the first sanding and scraping step is complete, dust off all areas with an old paintbrush and vacuum woodwork with a brush attachment. Before even picking up a paint sample card at the store – this is how it SHOULD be done. Waxing and buffing an old hardwood floor may be sufficient to renew its appearance.

Applying a coat of the correct primer is very important; it will keep the dark stain from bleeding through the finish paint and also make it possible to give the wood a light tone with a minimum of coats of paint. Following these instructions may be simple for an old window but new windows are designed differently resulting in a not only wrong, but stupid look when painted. If more than two weeks separates the primer application and the paint coat, the primer’s surface can begin to break down and prevent proper bonding with the paint.

As small cracks develop on the deck’s surface from exposure to sun and water, water passes through and the paint soon peels. There are prescribed precautionary steps you should employ in the removal of lead paint, but in some cases you’ll need to call a professional to stabilize or remove these materials. You might need two or three coats, but it might be worth it to get the wood looking lovely again. Before applying primer or paint, remove dust from the surface with a vacuum or dusting cloth. If any of the trim is discolored, touch it up with a wood finish repair pen or apply a stain to match.

We actually don’t have any wood that is painted so I’ve never had to strip and refinish it. I have done that on furniture however. I can go either way, each has its own appeal, but it seems these days it is more common to go white and is preferred by most. Especially if you have hardwood floors, it functions as a beautiful extension of those wood floors and allows for more freedom in coloring the rest of the room.

If grease or other problem stains are present , remove them using an appropriate cleaner, then wipe with a clean, damp rag. The sanding removes the varnish that if left on could cause your paint job to peel and look nasty; the primer creates a paintable barrier-the paint goes on and stays on, but you don’t have the paint soaking into the wood and causing you to need more than three coats to get good coverage. Away of net selling price because most of the buyers who cannot tolerate the dated nature of the wood trim look. If I had my druthers I would replace oak spindles with custom turned poplar spindles and paint those.

I can’t stress enough that you should always do an entire section and not just a quick touch up. It’s my opinion that it will look just as bad as a ding or dent in the paint. But if I change my mind again or let someone convince me to not paint my trim, I at least have some wall color options to go with now that aren’t yellow. In some cases it may be necessary to scuff the trim if it remains too glossy after cleaning. Most modern wood is southern maple or southern pine because these are fast-growing trees harvested for this purpose.