Why I’ll Never Paint Our Wood Trim

In most design magazines these days you see beautiful white shiny trim, doors, and molding. Stucco is an ancient exterior wall cladding material, but is most often associated with the early twentieth century, when the material was widely used as an exterior finish in several typical early modern house styles, including Tudor Revival, Mission Revival and Arts & Crafts, or Craftsman, architecture. Condensation problems in cold climates are best prevented by installation of a continuous 6 mil polyethylene vapor barrier on the warm side of all exterior walls and ceilings.

Spalling is a word used to describe a form of masonry or brick deterioration in which exterior portions of the material break away from the surface. If you paint the trim white, your entire house will then be unrelievedly colorless…. a fact not improved on by the beige-y furniture, rugs, and tile. This is super-helpful, Annie, and is a link I might send to clients who balk at any trim color other than white.

What’s absolutely ridiculous is that anyone would be so dogmatic that they should leave rude comments on someone’s blog about whether they should paint trim in their own home. In paint investigation, dirt on the surface of paint layers; as seen under the microscope, can be very useful in suggesting the length of time a given paint layer remained exposed, and in distinguishing a finish layer from a prime or undercoat layer. I am totally convinced that I want to paint it. My husband doesnt agree but im over ruling him.

If you live in a hotter climate, like Spain, for example, don’t decorate in the hottest summer months between June and September because it will be much harder work and, also the paint will not give you a good effect because it may dry too quickly. Good adaptive use projects not only find a new use for old structures, but also find a compatible use that allows a building’s original fabric and significant elements to be retained. Priming is necessary because it helps prevent dark wood stain from peeking through white paint, and it keeps your paint from peeling off the wood.

To avoid problems, it is best to lightly sand with 50 to 80 grit sandpaper before painting smooth siding. Removal of artificial siding can be done by a trash removal contractor and should always precede any consultation with a contractor about restoring original siding and trim. Removing finish from trim is more time consuming and expensive than finishing/replacing it. Usually most of the spaces will be filled in by pulling the paint down and then up the line. As for the windows, I would probably leave those and see how it looks after the areas mentioned are taken care of. They look brand new, and just need to eliminate competing with the other wood toned mill work.

Except for the rare, scholarly restorations of historic interiors, most repainting jobs done today will employ modern paint formulations. Using small samples of wood taken from framing members of the house, dates can be determined for the felling of the timber used in the house construction, thereby ascertaining a date before which the house could not have been constructed.

Sure, you need to clean up the old paint residue and dispose of it according to your state’s regulations (my apologies to those of you in California) but you also need to neutralize the chemical stripper. I know that white trim is extremely popular at the moment, but styles change and wood trim is pretty classic. Once the caulk has dried, the outbuilding can be given a good rinsing with a garden hose and scrub brush to knock off dirt, sawdust and other debris that may prevent paint from properly adhering. Get an old paint brush or some disposable chip brushes and start brushing on the stripper. When homes were built decades ago, they didn’t paint the trim, they left it natural.