How To Paint Moldings and Trim

Do-It-Yourself

The doors and trim in your home act as accents. It is important to keep moldings and trim well maintained. Follow these 10 steps for precise, clean and professional looking results:


Use a damp sponge or cloth to clean dirt and grime from trim. 

PRO TIP: frequently wipe off sponge or cloth to ensure you do not reapply dirt onto the surface

Sand the surface with a grit fine small area sanding sponge. After the trim has been sanded, use a damp sponge or cloth to wipe away any dust.

PRO TIP: frequently wipe off sponge or cloth to ensure you do not reapply dirt onto the surface

Shine a light across the woodwork and circle flaws to detect loose paint, rough edges and other blemishes in the surface to determine what needs to be filled.

Apply painter’s tape to walls and ceilings surrounding the trim, being careful not to stick the tape to the trim itself.

PRO TIP: Use long strips of tape versus small pieces to prevent paint from bleeding through the tape. Rest the long strip of tape along the trim and secure the piece using your nail

Press the tape’s edges with a clean spackling or putty knife to ensure adhesion.

PRO TIP: angle the spackling or putty knife away from the wall to prevent damaging the wall. The tip of the spackling or putty knife should glide along the edge of tape that meets the trim or molding

Apply primer to trim, covering any bare wood and spackled areas. Allow primer to dry for 24 hours.

PRO TIP: scrape off excess paint on the side of the paint can to prevent streaks and globs of paint on surface

After the primer dries, lightly sand the trim to eliminate brush strokes or paint drips.

PRO TIP: angle sander so that the corners of the sander may reach details on the trim and molding

To paint trim, start at the corner and brush the paint onto the trim area. Apply paint to the trim using short, horizontal brush strokes. It is recommended to use a 2″-2 1/2″ paint brush for this.

Reload the brush approximately every twelve inches. Repeat these steps until all the trim area is complete.

Before paint dries, carefully and slowly pull tape off of the wall on an angle.


Find more How-To Guides!

How to pick the right paint brush (Read Now)

How to clean paint brushes (Read Now)

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