I am on (what feels like) an eternal quest of painting the endless miles of trim in this house. So far, the main floor, hallway, bathroom, guest room and craft room trim has been done, leaving the master bedroom and the two basement floors. I was talking about trim painting with someone (hi Lindsey!) and thought I should layout a tutorial in case any of you are into painting trim/would love to spend days of your life hunched over your baseboards with claw hands.
To begin with, our trim is dark. So dark it sucks your soul. I know there are many people (ahem, Dad) that are in the “but that’s perfectly good wood” camp, and that’s fine to think that. I also know the trend of slathering paint on any surface/wood/metal/plastic/furniture/soup can/top hat we can find is going to end at some point, and we are going to be lamenting that we shouldn’t have painted everything the light touches, but this wood is not included in that group. The trim is old, thin, dry, and dated. This trim can only be saved the abysmal darkness by four coats of paint. This house is indescribably better with white painted trim. Here is the proof in the pudding, so to speak:
I was also researching paint for this post, and I came upon a very interesting article about primers, which was confirmed at the paint store. If the varnish/polyurethane on your trim is water based, it will be re-activated with water based primer, essentially pulling the poly through the primer and latex paint, yellowing it or at least making you put two more coats on than you should have to. UNLESS you prime the trim and wait 24 hours for the primer to harden to form a impenetrable shield the poly can not bleed through. Who has time for that??? Instead, you can use an oil-based primer, and while that can activate oil-base varnish, if you use it under a latex coat of paint it will not bleed through since latex is water based! Hallelujah! I cut my coats from five to three, which my claw hand is thanking me for. Pretty neato-burrito, right?
So, to begin. You can see the window trim is dark, but can you also see that janky caulk job someone did?
That is on ALL the windows and makes a mess of my paint job. The caulk was applied before staining, so there is bare wood color under it, and it wasn’t smoothed out, so it is uneven and bumpy. Calking is notorious for repelling paint which will bead up and peel right off. On this window, I decided I would tape it off and just see what happens; it couldn’t look much worse than it already did.
I went with this primer (oil-based) Ben Moore Advance paint (I’ve tried a bunch of others, this one hardens the most over time and gives the smoothest finish. It’s also the most expensive, of course), a bristle brush, and weather over 50 degrees. The primer is stiiiiinky, so at least try to crack a window from time to time. My usual process is: two coats of primer, three coats of paint, with a fourth probably needed but I give up because it’s close enough and I don’t care anymore at that point.
Here is my priming job, I decided to do two coats on the left and only one coat on the right to see if there was a difference after I painted. The paint might’ve gone on a little smoother on the left, but it took two coats of paint regardless of how many coats of primer. Which meant I only needed one coat of primer! So again, that knocked down the needed coats from potentially six to solidly three. Which also reduces build up in the corners, unseen drips, and overall just looks better.
No need to worry about all those wall anchors at the top, I added the top window trim to this window covering it all up. Here is the final result!
Turns out it’s actually kind of difficult to photograph dark window trim on sunny days, but you get the idea. It’s been so nice to have the light pour in and bounce off that clean, white trim. The shade that came with the house was an unflattering sage-olive color, and made everything look a little sickly. I got new curtains as well, and they really lighten and brighten.
I love seeing the trim peek out the top.
This room is getting quite the whirlwind treatment; up next is bedding (so I can show off our new bed!) closet door-to-French door makeover, and nightstands. You guys, nightstands. This year. It is happening!!
Also, I found this on the camera, so I will leave you with this:
5 thoughts on “Paint it, Paint it real good”
You are a wonderful humorist. Nice job on the painting.
Thank you! It is much better in real life, I think the whole room is going to change when I paint those closet doors!
I think painting the trim really improved the look. That dark, dark wood does nothing for the room. Good job!
Thank you! Some day this house fill feel 100x lighter with all the wood painted it white, it makes such an impact when it is updated!
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