We’ve spent a lot of time around here talking about the best way to paint the walls in your home - be it tips and tricks for how to DIY the project or the colors that you can consider for the walls. But there’s more to a home painting project than just walls. Many Jacksonville, FL homes have trim to consider, as well. Whether it’s baseboards, door frames, or window frames, you need to make sure you are putting the proper time and care into painting those features, as well. Today we are going to look at some of the best ways to achieve smooth, perfect results when painting the trim in your home.

Top Trim Painting Tips

  • Before you can determine the best way to paint the trim in your home, you need to assess the existing trim for any damage or imperfections. The best way to do this is to position a handheld lightbulb (or flashlight) across the wood surface to help you see areas where there may be loose paint, blemishes, or rough edges. This will help you determine what needs to be filled and addressed before you paint. It’s a good idea to take a pencil and lightly circle the areas of imperfection so you can easily find them later.
  • The right sanding block is going to be your best friend throughout this process. Depending on the amount of damage or imperfection, you have a few options for sanding. A folded sheet of sanding paper will work perfectly for most of the easier areas. A rubber sanding block will have a more comfortable grip and allows you to apply an evener pressure on difficult areas like window sills. A sanding sponge is ideal for sanding curves and crevices since it conforms easily to irregular spaces.
  • You may find some tighter areas in the trim in your home that need some more attention. You can clean out tight areas with a flexible putty knife - about 1 ½ inch. Using the putty knife allows you to remove thick paint in order to renew the wood details in the trim. Simply use a pushing motion to go under the paint and work from an area of loose paint inward to where it more firmly adheres. Doing this will bevel the remaining paint layers to make a smoother transition between the different areas of your trim.
  • Once you have cleaned the trim to your satisfaction, you need to make sure that it’s clean and ready for the next steps. Using the brush attachment on your vacuum hose, clean up any of the residue left behind from your sanding and scraping. This will ensure a clean finish to the paint when you continue on with your DIY project.
  • If you needed to fill any damaged areas in the trim, you also need to ensure that those areas are prepared for painting. Use 320-grit sandpaper to flatten and feather out your filled areas. You’ll want to dust and vacuum these areas after you are finished, as well. Wipe the wood down with a damp cloth. Once it has dried, you’ll need to spot prime the filled-in areas, so it does not have a duller finish than the rest of the trim.
  • While not incredibly common in newer Jacksonville, FL homes, lead-based paint was a popular feature in some older homes. If your home was built before 1960, check the paint for lead using a lead test kit. They are available at most hardware stores and can save you a lot of hassle moving forward. If you do find lead paint in your home, you should contact your local health department before trying to tackle the issue yourself.
  • Of course, you should use painter’s tape to create the perfect edge on your trim - this is especially true if you are not painting the walls, as well. Once you have finished painting the trim in your home, you need to carefully remove the painter’s tape. Paint can form a film between the wall and the tape, so you need to use caution - otherwise, you can end up with paint being torn off of your freshly painted trim. So once the paint is completely dry, use a sharp utility knife to slice through the trim. Then pull up the tape at a 45-degree angle for the perfect finish.
  • It should go without saying that one coat of paint likely won’t hide the imperfections, underlying color, or sheen on the trim in your home. You will need to apply more than one coat of paint. But if you don’t sand the surface between coats, the finish may have a grainy texture - and this is a less-than-appealing result. If you want to achieve a smooth finish, sand the trim before applying each coat of paint by using a fine-grit sanding sponge. After each round of painting and sanding, vacuum the trim and wipe it down with a tack cloth to remove any excess dust.
  • Professional painters generally follow a certain order when painting the interior of a home. And we’re about to tell you the secret! Paint the trim first, then the ceiling, then the walls. Why? Because it’s easier - and faster - to tape off the trim than it is to tape off walls. This way, when you are painting the trim, you don’t have to worry too much about being neat - you can simply concentrate on getting the perfect finish to the wood. You’ll ultimately cover up any imperfections when you paint the walls.

With these tips and tricks in mind, you should be able to achieve the perfect trim in your Jacksonville, FL home. It’s not always easy to jump into a big DIY project like this, but having done some interior painting work yourself is truly satisfying - especially when you have the knowledge to do it right the first time!

Tags in this article: painting, painting tips, paint trim, diy, how to,

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