Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Punishing Work: Trim Painting

I've decided there's a special place in hell where really bad people have to paint trim for eternity. Window trim, to be specific. When I say "really bad people" I'm thinking of folks who confuse they're/there/their all the time. Get it right, folks, and you'll be spared such torture.

What trim am I talking about? The living room windows and baseboards, of course.


Without the "period" window treatments.
Three coats of stain blocking primer and two coats of thick paint later (Glidden Duo in Crisp Linen White), and we're just about done.  I think we still have a little touching up to do, and then there's the painter's tape removal, which will require a knife so I don't peel off a layer of paint.

Notice how the walls look so much more attractive with the white trim.

Almost finished.

That dark picture is with our new moody Cayman Bay paint!  

Just kidding. We had a power outage last night, and this is the living room with no lights on in the morning.  Cave, even with light paint on the walls.

We also painted in the dining room, including the door to the master bedroom.  

Door to the upstairs. BEFORE.

I had been railing on the doors recently, demanding we find new ones.  But with a fresh white, I can live with what we've got...for now (P.S. looks yellow in the photo--it's bright white in real life).

And here I shall address the naysayers who are screaming at their screens, "How DARE you paint over that beautiful dark trim!"

I hate to break it to you this way, over the internets and all instead of face-to-face, but the trim was in sad shape.  It had been refinished at some point by a well-meaning amateur.  You know how you're supposed to apply stain and then wipe it off?  There was no wipeage to be seen.  You can see the brush strokes from the stain on every last window and door in the house.  Then Cousin Larry applied shiny varnish to enhance the lovely (strange) strokes of brown.  Beautiful from afar and ugly as you approach.

Anyway, the dark stain was bringing our house down.  The white trim has lightened the feel of the two rooms so much that I could almost live with the color on the walls except that now I have spackle and paint samples all over them.  So there shall be new paint.

To conclude I will give you a few tips on painting trim:

1) Do it first before painting the walls, that way you'll use less tape.
2) For the windows, if you have those little panes, start with a totally fresh brush. If it's a used brush, cut off any crazy bristles.
3) Use as little paint as possible for those tiny pieces.  Drips will be a problem when you're putting coat after coat, so the less paint the better.  At the same time, use enough that you get decent coverage.  
4) Start with the little crevices first and end with the long strokes on the larger trim.  It's so satisfying to put in those long strokes after needling into those corners and nooks and crannies.  Consider it a stretch after doing 100 leg lifts.  
5) If the wood is very dark, buy the thickest and nicest stain blocking primer you can afford.  Last year, I tried out the "green" Kilz and honestly, it sucked.  We used the Kilz Premium this time, and it's a much better product.
6) If you have more money than I, outsource this work to a professional. Or buy new windows that don't have the intricate detail!

Still left in the living room: Wall paint, ceiling installation, crown molding, and finding a large piece of art.


  1. I enjoyed your tips and cheer your painting of the dark wood. There are very few places I ever think it looks good. The new lighter feel is wonderful!

  2. Hooray for white trim!! To all the naysayers, dark trim can look gloomy. I'm so glad we painted our icky oak trim, but after we refinished our wood floors, I need to touch them up, one day, lol

  3. The white trim makes such a difference in your home. Great work!


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