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How to repaint your home’s trim

Painting the exterior trim of your home not only refreshes its appearance, but also helps protect it from the elements. Though well worth it, painting your home’s trim is a time-consuming project that is best done in spring or fall, when temperatures are comfortable and conditions are better for helping your paint dry properly. Taking your time is the key to success. If done properly, your work will pay off for a long time to come.

Woman painting trimStep 1: Begin your painting prep work.

If you’ve replaced the caulking around doors, windows and joints, make sure that it is dry before painting over it. Mask window panes, the siding next to trim, and even porch surfaces under railings. Remove screens and storm windows.

Step 2: Decide on a color scheme.

Choose a color scheme that expresses your personality and your home’s style. This is a great way to bring the feel of the interior outside, for a beautifully cohesive look. Whether you choose colors that complement your siding or a monochromatic look, semigloss or gloss paint is a good choice for trim. It offers sheen that really pops.

Step 3: Keep it clean.

Rinse the trim with a garden hose to make sure that the surface is dirt- and debris-free. And allow plenty of time for the trim to dry after rinsing. Cover plants and bushes with a dropcloth to protect them from rogue drips of paint.

Step 4: Prepare surfaces with primer.

Use a tinted primer in a shade close to the paint color to achieve even coverage and minimize the number of coats you’ll need to apply. Choose an oil-based primer if you’re using an oil-based paint and a latex primer with a latex paint.

Step 5: Paint from top to bottom.

Start at the top and work your way down. For the best results and clean lines, remove tape as you finish painting, rather than waiting for the paint to dry. Use the largest size brush that fits your trim to minimize brush strokes. Nylon and polyester brushes work best with latex paints, while natural bristles work best with oil-based paints. For ultimate coverage and protection from insects and the elements, paint at least two coats, allowing ample dry-time between them.

Tell us

Share your home painting experiences below. Would you repaint the exterior of your home again, or would you hire a contractor next time?

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