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Today I am sharing how to paint wood trim white with step by step instructions. Painting our wood trim in our house white has been on the to-do list for years! Painting trim white is the easiest and quickest way to modernize and update a house.
Painting trim white is one of the most affordable ways to update a home. Whether you are painting wooden trim, doors or walls, a fresh coat of paint will provide a great before and after.
Painting Trim White
Many of you know that we have been considering painting all of the wood trim, doors and stairway in our house for quite some time. If you missed last weeks post about modernizing our mediterranean home with paint, be sure to get caught up and see all of the paint projects we have going on in the house. You can also see our 2023 list of house remodeling projects here.
Painting trim white, especially if you are painting over stained wood, is a simple but lengthy process as you must prepare the wood.
One of the biggest issues with stained wood is the stain color bleeding through and turning the white trim paint a dirty orange brown.
Paint prep work is the key to success so be diligent and take your time!
Best Primer for Painting Wood Trim White
We used Zinsser Cover Stain to prime all the wood trim. Cover Stain is an oil-based primer which is very smelly but does a great job at covering stained wood. We applied 2 coats of primer allowing each coat to dry for 24 hours before applying the next coat. The directions on the can are very self explanatory.
One thing to note about oil-based products, you cannot clean the brush or roller with water, you need to use paint thinner. If you prefer to use a latex (water based) primer (I think oil based covers the stain better), check out this post, how to paint over stain with latex primer.
Before we get started with the step by step instructions on how to paint wood, lets review a few common questions below about painting wood trim.
FAQs about Painting Wood Trim
What Kind of Paint Do You Use On Wood Trim
Trim Paint: The paint sheen of trim is typically semi gloss or satin. We used latex paint in a satin finish to create a cohesive seamless look from our wall color. A semi gloss sheen for trim work is popular as it’s easy to clean but satin sheen is equally easy to clean and does not have as shiny of a finish. I am not fan of super shiny trim so satin is always our go-to trim sheen.
For our trim paint color, we used Sherwin Williams Westhighland (latex paint) diluted with white by 25% to provide a slight contrast from our wall color. Our wall color is Sherwin Williams Westhighland.
White trim will give you a clean modern look and brighten up a space!
Materials you will need to paint wood trim white
You can purchase all your supplies by clicking the highlighted links above or head to our Amazon Storefront.
If you are curious what the best paint for trim is, you can use Benjamin Moore Regal (we used BM) or Sherwin Williams Emerald Interior.
How to Paint Trim Like A Pro
Step 1: Lightly Sand The Trim
Lightly sanding the trim will break any shine or sheen on the stain and help the primer adhere better to the wood trim. Be sure to vacuum and wipe clean any mess from sanding.
Step 2 – Apply Painters Tape Around Trim
When painting baseboards, window or door trim you will need to spend time taping off the trim to prevent getting primer or trim paint on the floors and walls.
This process is a bit daunting and time consuming but it will allow for the painting process to go faster and once the tape is removed (after the paint is dry), you will have a clean professional straight paint line.
Step 3 – Apply First Coat Of Primer With Brush Or Roller
Be sure to apply the primer to a clean surface and allow 24 hours to dry before applying the second coat. We applied 2 coats of primer to ensure the stain color does not bleed through.
Step 4 – Lightly Sand Any Rough Primed Areas
Depending on your wood and how thick you apply the primer, you may need to lightly sand with 120 sandpaper the dried primer to ensure a smooth application for the latex paint. We had a few primed areas that needed to be sanded.
Step 5 – Caulk Gaps Between Wood Trim & Walls
Stained wood trim is never caulked so you will most definitely have a gap/line between the trim and walls. Caulking will create a seamless transition between the trim and walls. Use wood filler for small imperfections and lightly sand filler areas to a smooth finish. Allow 24 hours for the caulking to dry before using painters tape to tape off trims.
Step 6 – Apply White Trim Latex Paint
Using a high quality 2″ angle brush, we applied 2 coats of latex white paint allowing 24 hours to dry in between coats.
Step 7 – Remove Painters Tape
Remove painters tape once the paint is dry to the touch. You may need to use a putty knife or blade first to score the painters tape along the edge to get a clean line.
Painting wood trim white is by far the easiest and most affordable ways to update your home. I can’t believe how much brighter and “newer” the house looks since painting over the stained woodwork.
Update: See My Sherwin Williams Westhighland White Paint Review + “After” Pictures
Here are the same windows before we started painting the trim white.
Here is the family room before we started painting the interior trim.
Be sure to read this post, modernizing our mediterranean house with paint, to see what the house looked like before we started painting the trims white.
Here is a look at the staircase with white primed stair risers and handrails! The staircase looks so good!
Hopefully I have answered your questions of “can I paint over stained wood?!” If you are painting over stained trim or previously painted trim yourself you will save a lot of money in labor. We ended up hiring a professional painting crew (Keitson from Rio Painting in Massachusetts).
Paint Color Review Posts You Don’t Want To Miss
- Sherwin Williams Westhighland White (a neutral white with a little warmth)
- Sherwin Williams Sea Salt (a beautiful blue green)
- Sherwin Williams Mindful Gray (the color we used in our kitchen renovation)
- Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace (a cool white we used at our lake house)
- Benjamin Moore Advance Paint (best kitchen cabinet paint)
SHOP OUR HOMES: Pssst…. did you know we have an Amazon Storefront now (read that post here)? You can shop all of our home decor & so much more! It doesn’t cost you any more or less money to shop from our Amazon Store 🙂 Any commissions we make, are paid by the brand and they help pay for monthly fees to keep the blog up and running 😀.
What started as a hobby, Jessica’s blog now has millions of people visit yearly and while many of the projects and posts look and sound perfect, life hasn’t always been easy. Read Jessica’s story and how overcoming death, divorce and dementia was one of her biggest life lessons to date.