How to Paint Trim

Along with painting the walls and cabinets, painters most often work on the trim. It is possible to make a room look more elegant and brightened by painting your trim.

Many of the houses I have been in have their trim brushed out, sprayed, and painted by me.

With my advice, you will get a beautiful, long-lasting finish for your trim and save you time while painting and make your painting process go smoothly.

You can paint the trim in several ways. Depending on your circumstance, you can either brush or spray the trim after installation, or there is the option to pre-finish it first.

How to Paint Trim

Spraying vs Brushing Trim

Spraying your trim is always better because it will result in a smoother finish. Your trim will look fantastic after spraying. I spray my trim as soon as new construction is begun.

In reality, spraying a home’s trim is more work than brushing, and the results may be better than brushing. Still, the difference won’t be enough for 95% of people, and overspray may remain on your furniture or cause additional odor.

As well, you won’t find anyone walking on their hands and knees looking at the baseboard close enough to see brush strokes. Regardless of whether you can see brush strokes on your door and window trim, I like the look since it adds character.

As a homeowner, I paint all of my trim with a brush. The results are excellent, and I am happy with them. It didn’t seem worth the extra work to me to use spray vs brush.

Painting Trim Or Walls First?

People often ask me: paint the walls or paint the trim?.

My answer is painting the trim first is the best way to accomplish this.

It will save you time and effort later on if you paint the trim first to be painted and then easily taped.

This is because if the walls are painting last, you are able to caulk the trim to the walls once you are painting it, allowing the paint to flow from the trim over the caulk and onto the wall.

The tape you use later on will be nice and clean since the trim paint dries extra hard.

Painting your walls first makes painting the trim extremely difficult, as taping is complicating, and wall paint is rarely as hard drying as trim paint, so it pulls right off when you pull the tape. Removing the tape can also pull the paper and paint from your drywall, which is a disaster!

Painting Supplies and Tool

Simple tools and materials are need to paint trim:

  • Painter’s tape – Used to tape off windows and floors.
  • Five-in-one Painter’s Tool – Add it to the list of things you use when pressing tape, cutting tape, filling holes, and more.
  • Cloths for dropping
  • 2.5-Inch Paint Brush
  • Three types of sanding sponges are available-one for each stage of trim painting.
  • For caulking gaps and cracks, use caulk and caulk guns.
  • Fill in nail holes in trim with spackling paste

How to Paint Trim- step by step painting

Step-1: Prepare the area

how to paint trim
Source: FrogTape

Use sandpaper to prepare your trim. When you see dents, holes, or cracks, patch and fill them up. You can use heavy grip paper to smooth things out. Don’t forget to clean the trim with a damp sponge.

If there’s a gap between your wall and trim after sanding and patching it, fill it in. Fill any gaps in the trim with a caulk bead.

Step-2: Apply Painter’s tape

how to paint trim
Source: FrogTape

Make sure the paint lines are sharp by applying painter’s tape between the trim and the wall. Use tape while painting over delicate surfaces, such as wood floors and wallpapers. Tape your edge tight across the carpet and tuck it between the carpet fibers and the trim if you are painting near a carpet.

Step-3: Apply prime

how to paint trim
Source: FrogTape

First, apply a layer of primer. Apply a second coat if the darker wood or spackle can still see. It would help to let the primer dry for at least 24 hours before you lightly sand the trim to remove brush strokes or drips.

Step-4: Cleaning the trim

how to paint trim
Source: FrogTape

Use your tack cloth or microfiber duster to remove any dust.

Step-5: Paint your trim

how to paint trim
Source: FrogTape

In low-traffic areas, choose semi-gloss finishes. Their less reflective properties tend to hide imperfections. For high traffic areas, high gloss surfaces are the best because they’re easy to clean and durable. For this reason, you should take your time. Paint at a small section at a time.

For the first few strokes, I like to avoid dripping. Afterward, I used a foam roller to apply the paint while still wet, without adding any more paint. A professional paint job comes out this way because the paint is appling evenly.

Continue to the next few feet once you’ve finished a section. Be sure to leave a wet edge around the small sections. It ensures seamless blending of the small sections.

Step-6: Remove Painter’s Tape

how to paint trim
Source: FrogTape

When the paint is still wet, remove the painter’s tape. It’s that easy. The trim is done. A well-done trim can transform a room.


Should you paint trim with a brush or roller?

You can use a roller to apply the paint if you want a quick and easy process. The brush works better if you’re looking for a high-quality final product. You will spend longer finishing the trim, but it will ensure that it is covering perfectly and smoothly.

Is it hard to paint trim?

It is tough to tape walls to paint the trim after you have painted them, and the paint tends to dry quite quickly, so you can easily pull off the color when you pull the tape off.

What kind of paint do you use on the trim?

A water-based or acrylic-alkyd hybrid paint with a semi-gloss finish is usually the best paint for painting trim.

Is it cheaper to paint trim white or replace it?

Professionals may paint the trim for some homeowners, while others might remove the old crown molding or wood trim. It is much more expensive to install new white trim than to paint your trim in good condition.

Are foam rollers better for painting?

A foam roller glides over a smooth flat surface with ease, dispensing paint evenly on the surfaces. The lifespan of a foam roller is shorter than that of a traditional roller. A painter who doesn’t do regular painting jobs will benefit from these tools.


Trim paint takes longer than you might think to paint your window or door trim, whether the base trim or window trim. Even an inexperienced homeowner can quickly complete the project if they are patient and pay attention to detail.

Painting trim is a far less complex task than you may imagine with all these tips and simple steps.

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