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Old 01-22-2012, 08:56 PM   #1
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Re-painting interior wood trim


Hi All! I'm new here and looking for some help. I just bought my first house and ALL of the trim/doors are painted white. I'm actually very handy, but I've never lived in a house with painted trim/doors before. The trim is already white and in decent shape, but just kind of dirty looking, and the people who lived here before I bought the house clearly never learned how to cut in (or even use tape) when painting.

That being said, I basically have no idea where to start with this project. I'm hoping I don't need to sand down all of the trim to repaint it. As I said earlier, the trim is already white and, from the looks of it, a satin-type finish. There are some minor repairs that need to be done. Repairing nail holes/divots in the wood and caulking some small gaps between joints.

My main questions are:
1. What kind of prep work needs to be done here?
2. What do I use to fix the nail holes/divots and can I just use a regular white caulk to fill gaps, or do I need something special?
3. What is the best finish to use on the trim/doors? Is it best to use a true white or some other shade of white?

Any help would be so greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!!

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Old 01-22-2012, 10:42 PM   #2
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Re-painting interior wood trim


1. You need to degloss the surface somehow, either with a light sanding or a chemical deglosser.

2. You can fill minor nail holes and divets with drywall compound if it is handy or even caulk if you have the gun going anyhow. Just be sure and spot prime over it first. A quality interior, flexible and PAINTABLE caulk should do the trick. Silicon is not a caulk!

3. I usually used a quality paint store semi-gloss (or even high gloss if you are painting white again) latex or acrylic finish with Floetrol added. I used a nice, quality 2.5-3" angled sash brush. I liked painting nicely caulked trim first and cutting the walls in to the trim. Much easier than cutting the 1/4"-1/2" edge of trim to the wall. Others may disagree. I found it faster, in most cases, to work without tape but do what fits your comfort and skill level.

White, white can be very, very, almost startling annoying. I liked whites that were off a bit. Atrium White (think it is the same in Ben Moore and Pittsburgh sampler?) was a favorite as it went nicely with most colors and wood floors. Pick up a white color chart, or better yet borrow the white color fan from your paint store. See what goes best with your color scheme.

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Last edited by user1007; 01-22-2012 at 10:44 PM.
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:31 AM   #3
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Re-painting interior wood trim


Thank you so much! One follow up question... Caulk vs. drywall compound: Is one better than the other? Or equal in your opinion?
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:42 AM   #4
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Re-painting interior wood trim


I use painters puddy for filling nails holes, it does not shrink and does not need to dry out before painting.
I use Alex 230 for caulking, Tiny hole in nozzle, wipe it with your finger and wipe it with a damp sponge.
Before you do anything with the trim you need to clean it. I use orange clean in a spray bottle.
If you do not clean it before any sanding you will grind in the dirt and paints not going to stick.
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Old 01-23-2012, 07:10 PM   #5
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Re-painting interior wood trim


Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
I use painters puddy for filling nails holes, it does not shrink and does not need to dry out before painting.
I use Alex 230 for caulking, Tiny hole in nozzle, wipe it with your finger and wipe it with a damp sponge.
Before you do anything with the trim you need to clean it. I use orange clean in a spray bottle.
If you do not clean it before any sanding you will grind in the dirt and paints not going to stick.
Really? I've been grinding dirt into my surfaces all these years? I rarely run into pure grimy filth, but if I do I'll remember the orange clean in a spray bottle.
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Old 01-24-2012, 04:30 AM   #6
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Re-painting interior wood trim


Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
I use painters puddy for filling nails holes, it does not shrink and does not need to dry out before painting.
I use Alex 230 for caulking, Tiny hole in nozzle, wipe it with your finger and wipe it with a damp sponge.
Before you do anything with the trim you need to clean it. I use orange clean in a spray bottle.
If you do not clean it before any sanding you will grind in the dirt and paints not going to stick.
As I have alredy pointed out , this is cheap caulk, a real painter would not use this crap
Painters PUTTY, is over kill here( imo) plain old spackle or joint compound works just fine

Damn, all these years I have been grinding in the dirt, who knew?
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Old 01-24-2012, 07:11 AM   #7
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Re-painting interior wood trim


I like using lightweight vinyl spackle for filling nail holes and other trim dings. Over fill the holes then as your sanding your trim you sand it smooth and good to go. I haven't found any other way to avoid the shrinkage you have with oil base puttys. I still use oil putty to plug stuff when I'm applying finish, the stuff that I missed in the prep phase. I agree on the Alex caulk, I've never had much success with DAP. I switched from DAP putty to UGL, much easier to work with, not quite the oily, sticky mess that DAP can be.
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Old 01-24-2012, 08:22 AM   #8
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Re-painting interior wood trim


I'm at the tail end of repainting our entire first floor so I'll throw out my current thinking on some of these things:
  • Degloss the trim if necessary, cut it in to the walls, THEN do the walls. As already mentioned it's MUCH easier and faster that way although it's not something you'd ordinarily think about in advance.
  • Prime the flaws in your trim, THEN patch. You get a stronger patch and getting a well sanded flat final result is much easier.
  • Spackle is great for repairing virtually every flaw, but if you find a ding in trim in a high traffic area where there is the chance it will get hit again, patch it with something more durable, like wood filler.
  • I used Red Devil Painter's caulk where I needed caulk and it seems to be good stuff. Handles well and is easily smoothed, stays flexible but is strong, is sandable and takes paint well.
  • I used Dirtex to clean up some of my trim (in the Kitchen and around heavy traffic areas). Dissolve it in warm water and sponge with it. Amazing what came off the walls...scary even.
  • Use a hand held work light as you patch the trim and walls, holding it at an angle so the light rakes across the surface. Makes it much easier and faster to find ALL the flaws in one pass, instead of having to go around again when the light changes and reveals ones you did not see.
  • Buy good quality paint...Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore are good choices. Buying Behr at Home Depot will lead to frustration regarding hiding quality and paint handling characteristics. I gave it a chance recently since I was given a can of it. Never again. It's just plain bad.
  • Buy Purdy brushes. Seriously. Even the "Best" quality store brand brushes at Home Depot pale in comparison, and they are close in price.
  • Learn to cut in by hand instead of using tape if you're going to be doing a lot of painting. It takes some practice but once you master it it is faster than using tape and gives better results. Search "cutting in paint" on YouTube for more video tutorials than you can shake a stick at.
  • Don't use "white white" unless you live in an ultra-modern house or have a very specific decorating motif that requires it. It looks stark and cold and gets dirty easily. Lay out paint chips of what your wall colors are and look for an offwhite...usually a slightly warmer color...that works with all of them. That's one strategy. I'm sure searching on "choosing paint colors" will give you oodles of advice.
  • Two full coats. On everything. Don't skimp. It's the right thing to do.

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Last edited by Ironlight; 01-24-2012 at 08:28 AM.
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