Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Show & Tell: The Power of Adding and Painting Trim


We are working hard on Ugly House. One the best ways to make a huge change is paint. We had some other work to do before we could start painting the upstairs, but paint sure made a change when I finally got around to it. I painted both our trim and our walls. I use the word "I" because my husband is hopeless when it comes to paint. He gets it everywhere....on the ceiling, floor, furniture, himself, kids and dogs. He also loves to stop after a few minutes so I have a haphazard half finished wall. His painting privileges were revoked two houses ago. It was probably part of a master plan to avoid all future painting projects. I only wish I would have thought of it...

Prep Work

First of all, we added a cap to the trim around the baseboards and window trim. We brought in our current trim and worked with a very helpful lady at Lowes to find pieces that would properly fit our current style of trim.

Since we didn't use real wood, it was a fairly small investment for such a large space. (Entire upstairs was less than $200.00) The change is most noticeable around our windows. I would prefer the larger craftsman style trim (and real wood), and we might upgrade to that type of trim in the future when we replace all the windows and flooring on the first floor. Having a nail gun made this project pretty fast moving. We don't have a miter saw (yet...I have one on my Christmas list) so we just used a hand saw and miter box to cut each piece. My husband put the trim up, and I followed behind filling in holes and gaps with wood filler. I also had some nail heads still sticking up, so I used a nail set and hammer to get them recessed below the surface of the wood.

Baseboards Before

Baseboards After

Doors/Windows Before

Doors/Windows After

If you're adding a cap to your trim like us, you'll want to go through all the trim pieces with paintable caulk to fill in any gap between the new and old trim. We made the mistake of doing this after I primed. Don't do that! Make sure you do the caulk before you start sanding so you don't sand off your primer and have to start over.

To paint trim that has been stained and sealed, you'll need to give the paint something to stick to. It may be easier for you to remove your trim to paint, especially if you're putting new floors in. I struggled with this decision. Our timeline is all screwed up due to the ugly wall still being up between the kitchen and living room. Ideally, we would remove trim, put new floors in, paint trim while it's off, paint wall while trim is off, attach trim, fill holes, and touch up paint. We can't do flooring until the ugly wall is down. So I decided to go through with painting, leaving the trim intact, but holding off on finishing the trim with caulk until after the flooring is done.

The wall that is going to be removed (including the scifi doorway).

To get your trim ready for paint, you will want to give it some roughness. Since we were adding trim, I needed to sand in all the tiny nail holes I filled in with wood filler and anywhere the caulk had created a rough finish. While I was sanding, I made sure to do a couple of swipes on the trim. After lightly sanding, I did do a bit of taping. I used painters tape with an Exacto knife to cover hinges. It's not exactly perfect, but any paint generally gets off with my fingernail or a bit of steel wool

I coated the wood with a good primer. If you can handle the smell, this is a good place to spring for the heavy duty oil based primer. Trim does, after all, take a good beating. I decided to stick with water based, because I'd rather deal with flaking paint than the clean up oil based paint. (Doesn't make any sense, and it's a sure fire way to hate myself in a couple of months or years).

Trim with Primer


There isn't much to painting the trim. I use my Purdy 2 inch brush. I also use a paint shield on the floor since taping is pretty much the devil. I found that I got pretty good with cutting in with my Purdy brush, so I didn't need to use the shield once I started with my wall color. (For all my painting tips, click here). The grey color is "Grey Frost" by Olympic One at Lowes. I love that brand of paint and the color.

We first painted our trim and then moved on to the walls. If we were painting the ceiling (we have a different treatment in mind), we would have done that before painting the walls.

I am still working on finishing up all the upstairs paint and then I'll move on to the bathroom, then family room and basement bathroom. Eventually I'll finish up our bedroom and my office. I hate painting so much, but the result is instant gratification!

The Living Room right after moving in.

Living Room after trim and walls were painted.

The entryway after moving in.

The entryway after painting banister and starting trim. I still have to finish the trim and paint the wall grey. Don't you love the beat up gate at the top of our stairs? Our son is old enough to go down the stairs, but the dogs aren't smart enough to avoid knock him down them, so it stays...for now.

The kitchen window after moving in (mid kitchen renovation).

The kitchen after cabinets and window trim being painted. I still need to finish the back splash, finish soffet and add in some shelves next to the window.


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