Holloway Painting

paint tape

How to Paint Trim, Correctly

Interior trim can mean the molding that frames household interior parts such as doors and windows.
Interior trim can also frame large surface areas such as walls and celling. Painting the trim, along with all painting, begins with proper preparation. If you want to know how to paint trim and how to do it
correctly, you will need to know how to clean trim correctly. After cleaning, comes trim repair. You’ll
also have to know what to paint first: wall or trim. After all of this, you will tape off the trim and begin

Painting Trim Summary

  • Trim prep
  • Cleaning trim
  • Repairing trim
  • What to paint first: wall or trim
  • Taping off trim
  • Painting the trim

How to Prepare Trim for Painting

As mentioned previously, painting trim begins with proper preparation. You will first have to clean and
sand the trim. After, comes repairing the trim.

Cleaning the Trim

If you want to be very carful, you can tape off the area around the trim before the cleaning begins. First, use a dry clean cloth and wipe the trim. After, you can use a product to get off any strong build-up, such as grease. An example of a product you can use is Trisodium phosphate:

  • Trisodium phosphate (TSP) is a heavy-duty cleaner. Follow the directions on the container to use TSP correctly.

Sanding the Trim

After you are done cleaning the trim, give it a good wipe down with another clean cloth. Then use a very fine grit sandpaper and give all the trim a light sanding. When you are done sanding, wipe the trim off again. You can also use a vacuum. Vacuums work great for cleaning trim around walls such as windows and doors by protecting the soft drywall.

Repairing the Trim

The most common repair you will probably need to do with trim is fill gaps between the trim and walls.
You can use caulking for doing this repair. Caulk the gaps and then use a soft 90-degree object to scrap off the excess caulking. You can also use other products such as a wood filler. Wood filler works great for small dents and holes in trim. You will probably have more damage on door trim than window trim.

Do you Paint the Trim or Wall First?

The method of what to paint first in regards to walls and trim is a highly debated practice in the painting
community. The strongest argument for painting the trim last is that the trim makes up a very small
amount of surface area. Painting interior walls is a big job, so this increases the chances of getting paint on the trim and as we mentioned, this is a small easy fix.

How to Tape Trim for Painting

First and foremost, when taping off anything to do with painting, use a good quality roll of painter’s
tape. High quality painter’s tape will not leave residue and will also not increase the chance of damage
when being removed from walls. Trim around doors and windows will be next to walls. To begin, place
tape around the trim. For difficult areas such as corners, use a flat edge and place it on the tape when
tearing. This gives the end of the tape a nice clean straight edge. When your trim paint job is complete,
slowly remove the tape by pulling it flat against the walls. This will prevent damage to your walls.

Painting the Trim

Now that all your prep work is complete, you can begin painting your trim. The trim throughout your
house will most likely be narrow, so use a narrow brush.

  • A brush around two inches wide works well for all trim.
  • A good quality brush will give you a good quality trim paint job.

Because the trim will be narrow and small, begin painting by putting only a little paint on your brush.
After you got a good first coat of paint on your trim, let it dry and then give the trim a second coat of
paint. Your home and how it looks is important. If you want a great paint job, you should always use a
painting professional.