Should I Paint My Wood Trim White? (Pros and Cons)

Paint Wood Trim White

Painting your house is always a big deal.

If you’re considering painting your wood trim white, you’ll want to make sure this is the right decision for you.

Though every house is different, there are a number of factors you should keep in mind before going through with the decision to paint (or repaint) your house.

Typically, you should consider painting your wood trim white, if you want to make your small room look larger, neat, and more modern.

However, if your walls are already painted white you should not opt for white, but try different shades (such as off-white, cream, or light brown) that match well with your room decor.

In this guide, we’ll go over the pros and cons of painting your finished wood trim white so that you can make the decision that’s right for you.

With this in mind, let’s jump right in!

Why Paint Wood Trim White? (The Pros)

Loving the idea of white trim?

Perhaps these pros will be able to enforce your decision:

1- Enhances Size

White trim around windows and doorways is a great way for you to make those aspects of the room look larger.

What’s more, it makes your ceilings appear taller.

This is a great way for you to make a smaller room appear larger than it is.

If you wish to create the illusion of space, you may want to consider trying out this easy trick.

2- Creates Calmness

White trim helps produce a feeling of serenity in your rooms while giving them a bit more modern comfort.

Compared to standard wood trims, these trims have a bright, positive effect that can make your room more uplifting.

This is great for family rooms or studies where you wish to create a more productive atmosphere.

3- Feels Cleaner and are Easy to Clean

White color is generally associated with purity and cleanliness.

And by painting your wood trims white you can create a feeling of tidiness, sanitation, and good hygiene.

Dealing with dirt and grime is also not very hard when you have white-colored trims for your windows and doors.

Depending on how dirty or abraded your painted trims are, you can use products like wet cleaning wipes, warm soapy water, or even Mr. Clean Magic Erasers to take of them.

Why Do Not Paint Wood Trim White? (The Cons)

With all this being said, there are some cons to painting your wood trims white.

Let’s take a look at a few:

1- Covers Naturally-Beautiful Wood

If your home is antique, painting your wood trims could end up being a massive no-no.

That’s because older homes typically have a beautiful natural wood design that is not only charming but is also rare to see in modern construction.

This means that painting over your oak trim could reduce the beauty of your home in a way you simply cannot take back.

2- Potentially Reduces Resale Value

Building on, this could also end up hurting the resale value of your home.

If you’re looking to sell in the future, you may be better off just leaving your house as it is.

This will help you maintain the historic charm of your home and leave the hard decisions up to a future buyer.

Even if you do not intend on selling your home, it’s a good idea to leave your possibilities open, as you never really know what you’ll do in the future.

3- Doesn’t Matches Well with White Walls

If the walls in your room are already painted white in color, white trim isn’t your best option – unless you want to place a white-on-white color scheme that looks more like a hospital or your doctor’s clinic.

The amount of bright natural light you get in your room can also make a significant difference.

Because, the rooms with white walls mixed with natural light, it can create a feeling of being blown out.

Paint wood trim white

How to Paint Wood Trim White without Sanding?

After knowing the advantages and disadvantages of painting your wood trim white, maybe you are looking to paint your wood trim white the easy way.

Next, we will tell you exactly how to paint your wood trim white without sanding.

Keep these tips in mind to get your room looking the best it ever has!

What Do You Need to Paint?

In order to paint over your stained wood trim without sanding, you’ll need:

  • Primer: You can use VOC or no-VOC primer, but know what you are getting.
  • Abrasive Hand Pad: You’ll use this for light “sanding” to help the primer stick to your wood.
  • Paint Cup: This will help keep your paintbrush clean and your wood looking seamless.
  • Paint Brush: A wide brush generally works best for more even painting.
  • Paint: We recommend semi-gloss. Again, be sure to check whether it is VOC or no-VOC.
  • Paint Trim Guard: This guard will protect your surfaces from unwanted paint.
  • Drop Cloth: Drop cloths are critical to maintaining the integrity of your floor.
  • Paint Tray: The paint tray will make your life easier and keep your paint smooth and clear.
  • Painter’s Tape: You’ll want to use this to section off your room and keep paint only where it needs to be.

You can assemble all of these must-have paint items at your local hardware store.

With this in mind, it’s time to take a look at exactly how to get your wood trim white without sanding.

7 Steps to Paint the Trim

When you have the above tools at hand, you’ll want to follow these steps to successfully get your wood trim looking great:

Step 1- Room Prep

The first step you’ll want to take is to prep your room.

Start by relocating any furniture to another room and cover your floors with drop cloths.

This will help keep you from getting loose paint on your room’s décor.

To keep everything safe and secure, be sure to tape off the floor for a bit of extra protection.

Step 2- Putty Application

The next step is to make sure that your trim is even.

Depending on the age and condition of your house, you’ll likely need to apply wood putty.

To apply, you don’t need any special tools. Simply dip your finger into the putty and rub it across any holes in your trim.

Make sure that the trim is completely even before continuing.

Step 3- Wipe Trim

Once you are done with this, you’ll want to make sure that your trim is clean.

Making a vinegar and water solution, dip a cloth in there to dampen it.

Then take the cloth and polish the wood trim until it is clean.

If you are painting the old trims, you will also need to make sure that you get the old paint off the wood without damaging it.

Depending on the condition, the denatured alcohol (for light coatings) or chemical paint strippers (for tough coatings) can be used for removing the old finishes, paint, or stain.

Step 4- Rub with Pads

While you don’t want to sand with sandpaper, you do want to use the hand pads mentioned above to give the trim a quick sanding.

These pads are abrasive and will give the honey oak trim a more adhesive surface.

Remember, you want to make sure that the trim is prepped to hold the primer.

Once you have given the trim a quick wipe down with the pads, you’ll want to wipe it again with your damp cloth to catch any remaining debris.

Step 5- Apply Paint Trim Guard

For the next step, you’ll want to tape your baseboard and apply your paint trim guard.

This will make the process easier and less messy while making sure that the surface is protected from oversprays.

Step 6- Apply Primer

When done, it’s time to apply the primer. It’s important that you apply the primer in two coats and make sure to note whether it is VOC or no-VOC.

If it is VOC, be sure to open some windows so that you can improve circulation in the room.

When buying online you can check for these two anti-mold primer options, which I think work best for interior as well as exterior wood trims.

  • Zinsser B-I-N Primer Sealer
  • Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Latex Primer
  • KILZ Premium High-Hide Stain Blocking Latex Primer

Step 7- Apply Paint

Finally, you’ll want to apply the white paint to your oak trims.

For the best results, be sure to use semi-gloss paint which can leave some shine over the wooden trims.

Semigloss is generally a good paint sheen option for trim and doors also because it leaves a classic, evergreen look.

Plus, you can easily wipe them clean which makes all the cleaning easy and fast.

You’ll need to apply the paint at least twice; depending on the condition of your wood, you may need to apply it even more than this.

In general, older and more damaged wood takes more coats than newer wood.

Also, make sure that you do not over-thin the trim paint as applying the thicker consistencies of paint will help prevent the paint sags.

IMO, by following these quick tips, you can have your wood trim painted white in no time—with absolutely no sanding!

Getting the job done is easier than you think, so be sure to stick to these steps and get your room looking better than ever!

What to Paint First The Walls or The Trim?

It’s one of those questions that so many people ask usually when they have prepared everything else and are now ready to paint.

The answer will depend on the specific situation you are in and the preferences you have when painting.

What follows are some tips on what to paint first…

When to Paint the Trim First?

You will generally need to paint your trims and baseboards first in these conditions:

1- Construction:

If there is construction work going on, then starting with the natural wood trim makes sense.

This is because of the dust and debris that are often kicked up during the construction process.

By starting with the trim, you can minimize any possible spots it may cause.

Once the trim is done, you can wait for the construction to complete before getting to the walls.

2- Tape:

If you are using tape, then you should use them to edge off the areas around the trim.

This is because it is easier to apply the tape to the trim instead of the walls.

This is particularly true if the walls are textured.

3- No Tape:

If you are not using tape, then you should start with the trim if you are better at freehand painting.

To get that edge, you can cut in when applying the paint.

So, you can simply follow the trim first when you paint with a free hand.

When to Paint the Walls First?

If you want to know quickly what the paint will look like, then starting with the walls will give you the best option.

Or, if you cannot stand the look of the walls right now, then painting them over first makes considerable sense.

Other reasons include the following;

1- Less Skill:

If you or the people that are helping you are not skilled painters, then starting on the wall makes considerable sense.

Walls are more forgiving when it comes to painting as compared to trim.

You can always correct some of the paint on the walls with a dry brush, but the trim is a little more difficult.

2- Questionable Wall Color:

Sometimes people do not know what they want until they see it.

If you are not sure of the wall color, then you can change it fairly quickly.

This is better than painting the trim first, then the walls, and discovering you do not like the color and have to repaint the trim as well.

If you follow your own common sense, then that can help you decide on which to paint first.

What To Look for When Buying a Good Trim Paint?

When painting or staining the trims and baseboards, you should not use your regular wall paint.

Instead, you should buy the best paint that is designed for interior wood trim.

Or if painting exterior wood trims, check that it is designed to withstand the exterior conditions.

When buying online, a few important things you may look for in the white trim paint are:

1- Gloss

As mentioned earlier, semigloss white paint is an ideal paint when you want to paint the interior trims and baseboards.

Not only does it attract lesser dirt but also it avoids the brush marks from appearing after drying.

If you want you can also choose finishes such as satin, gloss, and high gloss.

Make sure you do not choose white flat or matte paint finishes as they can attract more dirt and debris over time due to their inbuilt properties.

2- Types

Trim paint usually comes in two varieties i.e. oil-based and acrylic-latex.

Alkyd/Oil-based trim paints can offer you superior finishing with lesser brush marks.

However, they may be slow at drying and can emit fumes or odor for some time.

Also, these trim paints need solvent-based cleaners just in case you need to clean them afterward.

Water-based trim paints also provide good finishing but with some visible brush marks.

These do not emit any fumes and are also easier to clean by using just soap and water.  

3- Brands

Once you are in the market to choose a good trim paint, you will find numerous brands available.

You will need to keep in mind that not all of them offer good results.

When picking, you should check for the consumer reviews and ratings.

Also, check if they have titled the paint as “trim paint” as many companies label them appropriately to make it easier for consumers to identify.

Some of my most favorite and reliable brands are:

  • Behr
  • Glidden
  • Valspar
  • Dutch Boy
  • Benjamin Moore
  • Sherwin-Williams

All of these brands manufacture classic white paints for trim (interior and exterior), available in perfect semigloss finishes.

Plus, they are easier to clean.

Some of these pre-tinted white trim paints also come with non-yellowing properties which means they do not turn yellow very fast, even when exposed to sunlight.

Final Thoughts: Natural wood trim vs painted?

So what does all this mean for you?

Simply put, it means that wood trims aren’t outdated yet.

In fact, I see them more in the new houses as it’s the most durable and affordable option.

However, the decision to keep a natural look, or paint your wood trim white is totally up to you.

There are both benefits and also disadvantages to the practice, though many of these disadvantages come to those individuals with historic or architecturally important homes.

For this reason, you may not face many negative consequences if you paint your natural wood trim white.

Whatever you decide, make sure you are confident in your decision and use the information in this guide to help you make the right choice.

Also, if your trim or baseboards are showing significant signs of wear and tear, painting may not be always the best idea.

Especially if they are water damaged or warped, replacing them should be your option.

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