Trim, also called molding is any material used to aesthetically cover joints between different surfaces and materials to prevent pests, other elements, and time from damaging these vulnerable areas, and/or as decoration to frame out areas. The majority of trim is made of wood. However trim is made today from all of the following materials:
*A combination of materials
Trim itself is such a broad category of things types of trim are broken down into different subcategories. A home may or may not have all of types of trim.
The types of trim include:
Baseboard trim- This is trim that covers the intersection of flooring and walls. Baseboard trim is usually accompanied by base shoe, which is a thinner, rounder trim that fits onto the floor side of the baseboard trim that is attached to the wall.
Ceiling moulding or Crown moulding- This type of trim covers the intersection of the ceiling and walls.
Door and Window casings- These are also considered trim and cover the wall gap around windows and doors.
Chair rail- This is a strip of material at chair back level that prevents wall scuffs.
Picture moulding- This is a strip of material higher on the ceiling where pictures would commonly be hung. It is used to hang hooks so that wall holes from nails and pins can be avoided
All trim can be painted and painting trim is a simple process that can update, improve, and personalize the look of a home. This easy to follow guide on how to paint trim will cover the basics of the project so your imagination can do the rest.
Painting trim requires many of the tools of the trade so to speak for painting projects. These tools are commonly called a Painter’s Kit. You may not need all of the tools included, but then again you might, so they are good to have.
Painter’s kit tools:
Utility knife and/or multipurpose knife
Scrub pad and bucket (in case of walls a sponge mop is also helpful.)
Sanding pad or sanding block
Dust mask and eye protection.
Masking tape dispenser
If you choose to remove your trim, which is a good idea if you plan on re-doing your flooring or walls while painting your trim, you will also need a hammer, pry bar and something to remove left over nails such as pincer pliers.
Depending on the type of trim as well as the age and condition you may not need all of the following either.
Materials you may need to paint trim:
*Trisodium phosphate cleaning solution
Masking paper and masking tape
80-grit and 120-grit sandpaper.
Siliconized Acrylic caulk
Wood filler and lightweight spackle
Painting is often 90% preparation and 10% actual painting. This is because prep work matters to a proper job. How to prepare your trim for painting will depend on the material it is made of and the condition of the trim.
If your trim is fairly new and in good shape you can just clean it with a bit of deglosser so the paint sticks better. In more damaged trim or trim that has been painted you’ll want to first use your putty knife to remove loose paint, then sand the trim (in the case of wood. See How to Paint Wood for more information on wood painting preparations.) and make any repairs using wood filler and spackle. Once repaired clean the trim using a trisodium phosphate cleaning solution to remove any oil or dirt. When the trim is clean allow to dry.
Next, you need to protect the area around the trim. You are welcome to do this step before repairs and sanding if needed. Tape off the edges around the trim on the wall side, in the case of floor trim lay masking paper or cloth on the floor and tape in place.
Finally remove all caulking if damaged and replace.
The last and easiest step is to actually paint the trim. Simply dip your brush 1/3 of the way into your chosen paint and tap. Brush in one direction spreading the paint smooth. When finished and the paint has dried check for spots you may have missed. If the color seems too light paint a second coat. Remove your masking tape and you are done.
A note on previously painted trim:
If your trim has been painted previously and you are not sure the type of paint that was used, you will need to test to be sure it was not oil based paint. Latex and acrylic paints won’t stick well to a surface that has been previously painted with an oil based paint whether it has been sanded or not. To test the paint choose a rag that will show the paint color well. Dip the rag in denatured alcohol and wipe a small section of the trim. If the paint begins to soften or comes off on the rag you can paint with latex or acrylic paint as oil based paints are resistant to denatured alcohol. If you determine the paint is oil based, paint the trim with an oil based paint to avoid peeling and flaking.
You may also enjoy:
Painting Wood Surfaces
How to Paint Ceilings
How to Paint Cabinets