how to extreme

Tips for How to Paint Trim

Decorating, Painting, Remodeling, Trim Carpentry September 6, 2012 Sonia

On this project I used Kilz 2 brand primer that I had tinted with a small amount of black color. Kliz 2 is white, and after the addition of a little black it becomes battleship gray. The purpose behind doing this is to keep water spots and other stains from bleeding through the finish coat. Much like painting a car, battleship gray or primer gray makes it harder for a discoloration to bleed through the finished product. Since I was painting over a very dark brown stain, the use of a primer that was tinted gray allowed me to use fewer coats of paint than if I had used a white primer.



With the sanding behind me and everything primed, all that was left was to apply the finish color. Depending upon the paint, this can take one to three coats for complete coverage. When applying paint, it is usually best to use two thinner coats than to try and apply one thick coat. Thick coats of paint are much more likely to have runs or fill up ornamental detail unnecessarily.

Trim work is always painted with a brush. Paint brushes come in all shapes, sizes and price ranges. I avoid the really inexpensive brushes and high-end brushes alike. My philosophy is to stick with middle-of-the-road paint brushes and buy a new packet of them for each new job. This may seem a little wasteful, but it doesn’t take too much use to wear out a paint brush. The bristles often begin to stiffen slightly or spread out even after a minimal amount of use. Trying to paint with a stiff brush or one that is the wrong size for the job is a common problem for neophyte painters.

I prefer a 3-in.brush with straight bristles and use it almost exclusively for interior work. My wife, on the other hand, prefers a 2-in. brush that has the bristles cut at an angle. For tedious jobs I will alternate between a new, 1-in. brush and an artist’s brush that has a flat, wide tip and not the traditional teardrop shape.

It is a good idea to wash out your brush halfway through the project or if it becomes over-loaded with paint. Any painting experience will go better with a clean brush that is not holding a bunch of excess paint. On hot days, it is often necessary to rinse brushes more often so the paint doesn’t dry out and stiffen the bristles. When using latex paint, make sure the brushes are placed in a cup or bucket of water during any breaks or while eating lunch. If your painting will continue the following day, thoroughly rinse out the brushes and then leave them in water over-night until the next day. This helps to ensure that they do not stiffen up.

The best technique for applying paint is long, slow strokes. Never dunk more than half the length of the bristles into the paint. The deeper it is submerged into the paint, the faster that paint gets into the base of the brush where it will dry, hardening the bristles. It is also just messier.

Blue painter’s tape is handy if you need to paint along an edge or otherwise cut-in something. I personally don’t use it anymore because I have a steady hand and have had more practice painting than I care to remember. For those without a steady hand, I highly recommend the use of painter’s tape because it will save a lot of time by eliminating the touch-up work. Another option for cutting-in is a painter’s shield. They work well for larger items, but do not try to use one on anything tedious or if the surface that you are working on is not completely level. Paint shields are handy, but they are not infallible.

To complete my project all that remained was to scrape the paint off the panes of glass on three French doors. I like to use a 4-in. wide wallpaper scraper for this type of work.

Be sure to always use a new blade. A dull blade will do the job, but it will take a lot more effort and time than a razor-sharp one.

By taking just a few precautionary steps it is very easy to have a successful, and I dare say, pleasurable painting experience. A new coat of paint can simply freshen up a room or it can transform a room into something totally new. There is no other more cost-effective home improvement technique for the do-in-yourselfer. The cost of paint and brushes are minimal, but the impact is monumental.


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