Semi-gloss and satin finishes are best for painting trim because they are durable, easy to clean—and provide a subtle sheen that highlights the trim.
When it comes to interior design, even the most minor details can make a significant impact.
The trim that frames your walls, doors, and windows defines your living space.
Choosing the right paint can dramatically affect how your home looks. The variety of available choices can be overwhelming for even experienced homeowners.
In this article, I discuss different paint finishes and how they affect your home’s interior. Let me explain why choosing the right type of finish for your trim is essential—so your house will always look great!
Types of Paint Finishes
There are many different types of paint finishes, but only a few can be used when it comes down to trim.
The most popular finish for trim is flat/matte.
This type of finish has no sheen and looks like it’s been painted with an eggshell-like paint.
It’s easy to wipe clean and doesn’t show scratches easily because there isn’t much contrast between the surface of your trim and its surroundings–a big plus if you have children or pets!
Eggshell is another good option if you want something similar but not quite as flat as matte (it still has some sheen). Satin would also work well here; it gives off a bit more shine than eggshell but still maintains its low-key vibe.
Semi-gloss and high gloss aren’t recommended because they tend not to last long before chipping or peeling off over time due to their higher level of shine compared with other finishes.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Finish for Trim
When choosing a finish for trim, there are several factors to consider. Durability, ease of cleaning, and impact on the room’s overall aesthetic are all essential considerations. But perhaps most importantly: color choices!
The right paint finish can make all the difference in how your home looks and feels. Here are some tips for choosing the best one for your trim work:
Top Paint Finish Recommendations for Trim
Regarding paint finishes, there are four main options: semi-gloss, satin, high-gloss, and eggshell. Each of these has its pros and cons based on your specific needs. Here’s what you need to know about each type of finish:
- Semi-gloss – This is a good choice if you want something that looks like an oil or acrylic painting without being too shiny or glossy. It’s also great for trim because it offers good protection from dirt and grime while allowing light through the paint (which can help brighten up dark rooms). Semi-gloss is also easy to clean off with soap and water if something gets spilled during installation–wipe away!
- Satin – This finish gives off more sheen than semi-gloss but not quite as much shine as high gloss does; however, it still provides excellent protection against dirt and grime, so there won’t be any unsightly smudges after the installation. If possible, try using this type of finish when painting trim because it will make things look nicer overall while still giving them enough protection against everyday wear and tear.
Application Tips for Painting Trim
- Preparing the Surface
Before you begin painting trim, preparing the surface properly is essential. This includes cleaning and sanding any existing paint on your trim and removing any loose or peeling pieces of wood that could cause problems later on. If you have a lot of old paint on your trim and don’t want to remove it all at once, try using an electric sander with fine-grit sandpaper (80-120). This will help smooth out rough patches while preserving some of the existing finish so you don’t end up with bare wood behind them when they’re gone.
- Choosing Your Brush
If you’re going for a glossy finish like high gloss enamel or varnish, choose an angled brush with soft bristles that can reach into corners without getting clogged up by excess paint build-up along its length–this will ensure an even application every time!
Related article: Best Paint Brushes For Your Painting Projects
Do I need to prime the trim before painting?
Yes, priming the trim helps the paint adhere better and ensures even coverage.
Especially if you don’t know what the previous paint was. Oil or water-based, for example.
Oil-based primers such as Zinsser Coverstain or water-based products such as Stix will ensure your paint will not peel or chip.
This also prevents stains or discoloration from bleeding through when later coats of paint are applied.
We have related articles that will teach you How To Paint Over Gloss Paint.
Can I paint the trim without sanding?
To ensure that the primer and paint will adhere properly too, and look good on, a piece of trim it is generally best to sand lightly before painting.
If you want to skip the sanding, try a deglosser.
We have everything you need to know about How To Apply Deglosser.
How do I choose the right color for my trim?
When choosing a trim color, it’s best to consider the colors used throughout your room. A classic approach is to use white or off-white—which complements most wall hues—but contrasting shades are another viable way of making things pop.
Should I paint the trim or the walls first?
It is generally easier to paint the trim first, as it allows for more precise application and reduces the risk of accidentally painting the walls while working on the trim.
You can also read more about How Long Does It Take To Paint A Room?
Can I use a roller to paint the trim?
Answer: While a roller can be used for larger, flat trim surfaces, it is recommended to use an angled sash brush for most trim painting projects. This type of brush provides better control and precision when painting trim.
How long should I wait before applying a second coat?
The drying time for paint can vary depending on humidity, temperature, and paint type. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended drying time. Generally, it is best to wait at least 4 hours between coats.
How do I ensure clean lines when painting trim?
To achieve clean lines when painting trim, use painter’s tape to protect adjacent surfaces such as walls and floors. Press the tape firmly to create a tight seal and prevent paint from bleeding underneath.
Related article: How To Paint Straight Lines And Stripes On Walls
How do I clean the painted trim?
If you want to clean painted trim without causing any damage to the paint or the trim itself, it’s important to use appropriate materials and techniques. Follow these steps to ensure optimal results:
- Start by dusting the trim with a soft, dry cloth or using a vacuum brush attachment to remove any loose dirt or debris.
- If there are any stains or marks on the trim, try wiping them away with a damp cloth or sponge. Avoid using abrasive materials like steel wool or scrub brushes, as these can scratch the paint.
- For tougher stains, you can try using a mild soap solution. Mix a few drops of dish soap with warm water, then dip a soft cloth or sponge into the solution and gently scrub the affected area. Rinse the area with clean water and dry it thoroughly afterward.
- You may use a more robust cleaning solution for stubborn stains or mildew. A mixture of equal parts vinegar and water can effectively remove mold, while a commercial cleaner like TSP (trisodium phosphate) can help remove heavier stains. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and wear gloves and protective eyewear when using these products.
- Once you’ve finished cleaning the trim, use a clean, dry cloth to wipe away any excess water and leave the surface to air dry. Avoid using a hair dryer or other heat source to speed up the drying process, as this can cause the paint to crack or peel.
By following these steps, you should be able to keep your painted trim looking clean and fresh for years to come. Just be sure to test any cleaning solutions on a small, inconspicuous area first to make sure they don’t damage the paint or the