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How to prepare and paint trim

Part 1 – Prepare the Trim

Step 1: Use the damp sponge to clean dirt and grime from trim. If needed, use the rough side of a sponge to ensure a clean starting surface. (90% of good paint job is prep work.)

Step 2: Sand the surface. After the trim has been sanded, use a damp sponge to wipe away any dust.

Sanding Tip: Hand-sand all woodwork smooth with a fine, 180-grit paper until all shine disappears. Use 80-120-grit to smooth imperfections such as heavy globs of old paint. 

Step 3: Fill in holes, dents and cracks with a lightweight spackling compound. (Follow directions on the spackling container for best results.) When the spackle dries completely, lightly sand the spackled areas using 120-grit sandpaper to smooth out the surface. Use tack cloth to remove any sanding dust from the trim.

Step 4: Dust off and vacuum the walls and ceiling around the trim to ensure painter’s tape adheres well. Apply painter’s tape to walls and ceilings surrounding the trim, being careful not to stick the tape to the trim itself.

Taping Tip: Select 3-to-4 inches of painter’s tape that is specifically made for your paint job and firmly press it to the wall. While holding this “starting spot” in place, pull out 6 inches of tape, then firmly secure it to the wall. Repeat until the tape is secured for the length of the trim. Most DIYers don’t realize how important this is for successful results. Tape is meant to protect the surface and when it is applied in one, long strip, the tape is stretched and won’t lay flat or stick properly, resulting in paint bleeding underneath the tape.

Step 5: After you have applied the tape, press the tape’s edges with a clean spackling or putty knife to ensure adhesion, as this helps prevent the paint from bleeding through the edges. 

Part 2 – Paint the Trim

Step 1: Apply primer to trim, covering any bare wood and spackled areas. (Make sure to remove tape after painting.) Allow primer to dry for 24 hours. After the drying period, if bare wood or spackle is showing, apply another coat of primer to the trim.

Priming Tip: Thoroughly mix the primer with a paint stick and pour a small amount into a paint tray. Dip an angled brush into the primer, covering no more than ½ inch to 1 inch of the brush. Use the side of the tray to wipe excess primer off the brush, helping to avoid drips while priming. 

Step 2: After the primer dries, lightly sand the trim using 120-grit sandpaper to eliminate brush strokes or paint drips. Use a damp sponge or tack cloth to remove all sanding dust.

Step 3: Apply paint to the trim using short, horizontal brush strokes. Repeat the motion until a few feet of trim (not the full length) are covered in paint. 

Painting Tip: Thoroughly mix the paint with a paint stick and then pour a small amount into a clean paint tray. Dip an angled brush into the paint, covering no more than ½ inch to 1 inch of the brush. Use the side of the tray to wipe excess paint off the brush, helping to avoid drips while painting. 

Step 4: Smooth over the series of short brush strokes with one long brush stroke. Do not add more paint to the brush — instead, drag the brush in one long motion over the freshly painted trim. Repeat if necessary, depending on the width of the trim, to create the appearance of long, smooth strokes. 

Technique Tip: Wider trim may require three or four long, parallel brush strokes. Thinner trim may only require one or two long, parallel strokes.

Step 5: Start painting the next section of trim following steps three and four. Repeat until trim is fully painted. If you are applying multiple coats remove and reapply painting tape after each coat is applied.

Step 6: Remove the tape as soon as you are done painting by slowly pulling the tape off at a 135-degree angle toward yourself. Do not allow the paint to dry, it will be more difficult to remove the tape and might even cause the paint to chip. 

Tape Removal Tip: In the cause the paint does dry use a razor blade to break the bond between the bond between the painting tape and dried paint.

5 Comments to How to prepare and paint trim:

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easyessay on Monday, November 23, 2015 1:13 PM
i found this one usefull thanks
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Richard john on Friday, March 11, 2016 9:55 PM
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admin on Sunday, December 04, 2016 6:51 AM
Nice blog post, very informative
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Erica Williams on Friday, February 24, 2017 12:13 AM
I think I owe you a lot because of this article. It really gives me a lot of tips and ideas. Thank you for sharing such valuable information.
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commercial painting  on Saturday, March 18, 2017 10:55 AM
Useful steps and quite interesting blog me finally i got the good blog with reality based stuff thanks a lot i ll visit this again for sure..
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