How To Correctly Prep Exterior Trim For Painting - Eco Paint, Inc. (2022)

Knowing how to correctly prepare exterior trim for painting, will ensure final paint coating it's lasting protection & quality. Listing all acceptable steps preparing trim for upcoming paint coatings, which benefit outside trim in many ways.

Understanding paint on wood trim is the first thing to fail, it's proper prep is the utmost importance, for lasting adhesion, & paint protection.

Special care needs to be dealt concerning trim boards, laying out what you need to be aware of, so that paint lasts longest time possible.

Most outside wood trim is found around windows, doors, fascias, & corner boards. Also exterior trim is found with skirting boards, bats. Typically painted a contrasting color, different than main field color.

How To Paint Exterior Trim Like A Pro

Outlining proper preparedness, painting your exterior trim like a Pro

To professionally paint trim outside sufficiently, first steps listed below must be followed.

Guiding you to clean, inspect, scrape, caulk, fill, and prime all areas needing your attention.

  • Pressure wash exterior siding & trim
  • Inspect exterior trim
  • Scrape outside trim showing failure
  • Caulk all exposed trim outside
  • Fill all holes, gouges, intentions
  • Prime, scraped trim, or bare wood

Pressure Wash Exterior Trim

First, let me say pressure washing should not be trying to peel paint. Thinking you can skip an important next step, as I will explain further in article.

. keeping spray tip at least 2' away from surfaces, you are only trying to remove any dust, dirt, or grime. No telling how many birds have bombarded your siding over the years. All of which needs to be cleaned.

Pressure washing is probably the most enjoyable, easiest step preparing your exterior trim. Similar to washing your new car or truck in a driveway. Never having to worry breaking a sweat. Also fun, but besides not getting too close, you'll want to work from the top down.

If You Don't Have A Pressure Washer, Can Always Rent One

Even if you cannot see this dust, dirt, or bird droppings, it's there. As giving you a prime example. Have you ever gone to the car wash, rinsing off your fairly clean car or truck, seeing all the dirt coming off? Same goes for your exterior siding & trim.

Giving your outside surfaces a quick rinse, is like having a clean slate or canvas to work with. Similar to an artist's cleaned canvas, but only on a grandeur scale.

Inspecting Exterior Trim

Well, you've been actually inspecting trim, while you've been pressure washing. Seeing any troubled areas. Where paint is really peeling off, or worse, visibly witnessing decay, mold, or mildew.

(Video) How to Stop Peeling Paint? Fix Peeling Paint and Save Money on Replacing Doors and Trim!

Visibly Inspect Trim For Problem Areas

Key tip is allowing exterior to properly dry, 24 - 48 hours before any hand scraping begins.

Reason for this wait is dried paint is much easier to scrape than wet. Less likely to damage trim even more, scraping, or wire brushing old paint, when wood has dried back out.

Using a 5 Way painter's tool, you can go around as many areas as you can, tapping on paint. If hearing a hollow sound under paint surface, even though paint is still intact, chances are, you have air pockets. And this leads to the next step, preparing your trim like a Pro.

Scraping Old, Failed Paint

Do I really need to scrape paint before painting trim?

Generally speaking No, you don't. Only remove all old paint that is showing signs of failing. These signs again are paints not properly adhering, cracked, bubbled, blistered, or peeling. As this is one of the main reasons paint fails.

I know scraping paint is not on your highest priority of things to do, but it is at the utmost importance, if you want your new paint coating to last. Matter of fact, paint that is currently lifting up, or will lift up in the next 6 months, will continue to do exactly that.

Basic Hand Scrapers Work Well

Scraping off old, cracked, failed paint off of exterior trim is a must. Just as it is, hearing air pockets underneath where you've inspected, testing painted surfaces.

As you scrape paint off your trim, just imagine it could be worse. Thinking you could be scraping paint off of a ship, with insurmountable areas to scrape. So scraping paint off of your trim is a lot less, but has to be done, just the same.

Whether or not you have a fresh new paint coat. Even does not matter what grade or quality of paint you're using. Old failed paint can cause even the best lifetime paints to fail, if failed paint not properly removed.

Using a wire brush works well in many areas of trim. Hard to reach surfaces, or grooved trim pieces, a wire brush is the answer.

Painting Exterior Trim That Is Currently Peeling

One of the main reasons you've decided painting exterior trim that is currently peeling, knowing it's only going to get worse, not better. Not only does all failed paint need to be scraped, but is good rule of thumb to ascertain the reason causing it in the first place!

Hopefully, you don't have a lot of paint to scrape, but every home is different.

Trim is notorious finding failed paint for a number of reasons. Painting exterior trim that is currently peeling will not last the duration of paint's warranty. Removing failed paint is extremely important for new paint's proper adhesion.

(Video) How to Paint Chalky Siding! The Secret to Get Great Paint Aherence!

Caulking All 90 Degree Cracks

Just about homeowner's primary consideration of exterior's proper preparation for painting trim, is caulk and sealants. 9 times out of 10 every exterior paint job includes some amount of caulk, especially for trim.

All You Need Is A Good Tube Of Paint-able Caulk & Caulking Gun

Removing old dried, cracked out caulk is your first step. Following by caulking with a high grade caulking sealant. Caulk all cracks, 90 degrees, where trim board meets another. This keeps out water penetration, as paint just wont bridge these gaps.

Using a high grade latex paintable silicone sealant, we either use Sherwin-Williams® 1050 orSherMax Urethanized Elastomeric Sealant is designed for masonry, but works well on trim & siding, where any movement might take place later.

Filling Holes, Gouges, Indentations

If you have holes from woodpeckers, gouges from a lawnmower hitting bottom edge of trim board, or a golf ball making a dent on the side of your house, listen up.

These imperfections must be cared differently than filling with caulk. What best fills gouges, or indentations is Crawfords® Exterior Spackle.

Reason for this is not only does it dry quickly, but dries a flat finish. Putting on a new satin exterior paint will eventually go to a flat finish. Crawfords® Exterior Spackle will never show or stand out being a different finish years to come, as finish coats age.

Allowing Exterior Spackle to dry, normally within an hour or less, sanding is very easy, with a medium to fine sanding block. After sanding, all your exterior trim is ready for the final step in preparation.

Prime Bare Wood Trim

You're almost done preparing exterior wood trim for painting. Applying a high bonding latex primer will do several good things for wood trim.

Have A High Bonding Exterior Primer?

Not only will primer appropriately seal wood trim, but allow final paint have a better surface to grab, for proper adhesion.

Top Exterior Primers For Trim

Sherwin-Williams™ Extreme Bond Primer

(Video) Paint Window Trim in 3 Minutes

For surfaces that require a greater degree of adhesion than our standard primers can offer, Extreme Bond Interior/Exterior Primer is up to the challenge. Designed for coating hard, glossy surfaces like tile, glass panels and plastic piping with minimal surface preparation. Can be tinted and is compatible with a full range of finish coat products.

KILZ® General Purpose Primer

KILZ® GENERAL PURPOSE EXTERIOR is a fast-drying latex primer and sealer, specifically formulated for outdoor use. It minimizes problems caused by surface texture and porosity differences. It’s ready to brush, roll or spray and can be topcoated after one hour with latex or oil-based paint.

Glidden™ Gripper Primer

Gripper Interior/Exterior Primer & Sealer is a premium acrylic primer and sealer designed to meet the variety of challenges experienced in the residential, commercial and multi-family markets for a multi-purpose primer. This fast-drying, all-purpose, bonding primer and sealer is suitable for interior or exterior application with its excellent adhesion to a variety of surfaces. Ideal for use on properly prepared interior or exterior wood, masonry, plaster, wallboard, cement, brick and stucco.

PPG™ Pittsburgh Primers

Choose from a range of professional-quality interior and exterior acrylic latex primers that are quick-drying, feature excellent adhesion and have great hiding and sealing qualities.

Simply, any bare wood requires primer first. Reason is exterior primers bond to wood much better than typical exterior paint coatings. Also understanding your standard exterior paints grabs to primers much better than to bare wood.

Knowing how to paint exterior trim like a Pro, requires following tips listed above. Preparing your surfaces withstanding any weather comes it's way.

Masking Trim

Masking certain surfaces outside before painting exteriors is indeed a step, but not for trim. Reason masking trim is not a suggested step prepping your wood for painting, is how an exterior painting job is actually completed.

Have a 3M hand masker?

When painting exteriors, masking windows, roof, & concrete, spraying field or body first, it's not only good, but quicker to over-spray on trim boards themselves. Painting sides of trim the field or main color, coming back, front facing trim with it's different color.

Therefore, not only this saves time, but giving your fascia trim an additional coat during this overall process.

So masking trim is not a preparation step painting exterior trim, but is a very integral part painting complete exterior. In that painting trim is typically done by brush & roll.

Caring For Your Exterior Trim

(Video) How To Paint & Maintain Your T1-11 Siding

These important steps preparing exterior trim coincide, painting complete exterior homes as well. Keep this in mind though; If trim is showing age, probably your entire house needs a fresh coat also. Additional information can be found as to, most exteriors painted, trim also siding is painted same time.

Need To Replace Trim?

Summarizing how to correctly prep your exterior trim for painting involves a few key steps or processes. Cleaning off all surfaces, gives you a clean slate to work with.

Trim Replacement

If fascia, corner boards, skirting boards, or bats too damages to repair, guess what? It's much easier just to replace them.

Followed by giving a good bird-eye view of wood trim's integrity, having a good, solid substrate. If any areas need attention, either replace trim boards, or scrape old flaking paint off, filling any mil thickness differences.

To Summarize Prepping Exterior Trim For Paint

Sanding filler, caulking edges where trim meets another substrate, allowing to dry. Another key step preparing trim for paint is priming.

Priming all bare wood, caulking, fillers, sealing trim, allowing primer to properly dry. Once primer has dried, trim is ready repainting exterior trim, looking brand new.

However, in most cases trim does not need replacement. Peeling paint will give the appearance trim boards are baked and done with. So giving careful attention to your trim on an ongoing basis is the first important step, caring for your exterior trim.

Hope this helps you with your exterior trim, & if so please like, share, comment, and/or ping below!

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FAQs

How do you prepare exterior trim for painting? ›

At the very least, preparing exterior trim and siding for painting involves thoroughly cleaning, lightly sanding, and priming the surface. It may also require scraping, stripping, reglazing, wire brushing, filling, and caulking.

Should exterior trim be primed before painting? ›

It's important to prime bare exterior wood prior to painting because it seals the grain, prevents bleed-through and improves paint adhesion. It's just as important to prime other materials, such as stucco, metal and concrete, for similar reasons. It seems like extra work, but it can save you time and paint.

How do you sand and paint exterior trim? ›

That is peeling away from the area then it's a good idea to take either sandpaper or sanding sponge.

Do you need to sand painted trim before repainting? ›

One coat of paint usually won't hide the underlying color and sheen on trim. And if you don't sand the surface smooth between coats, the finish may have a grainy texture. For a smooth finish, sand the trim before applying each coat of paint. Sand the trim with a fine-grit sanding sponge.

What is the best type of paint to use on exterior trim? ›

But despite the shade you ultimately select to heighten your home's curb appeal, there's only one real option for the finish. It has to be semigloss. The same goes for exterior trim. Semigloss paint gives you a smoother surface than lower-sheen finishes and has a degree of shine, providing a visual contrast.

Can I paint over old exterior paint? ›

If the existing paint is of the same type and the wall is in good condition, you can go ahead and paint without sanding. However, when it comes to wood, you may have to sand for proper adhesion. However, you can also skip the sanding process and make do with a primer.

How do you prepare exterior trim? ›

Use 150 grit sandpaper to smooth the rough edges between leftover paint and bare trim. Once you remove the rough edges, use 220 grit sandpaper to get the surface nice and smooth. If you're painting unfinished trim, you can simply use the 220 grit sandpaper to scuff the surface some so that the paint will adhere.

Do you paint the sides of exterior trim? ›

The edge you see from the outside should be painted the exterior color. If the interior of the door is being painted, simply repeat this method from the inside; any edge visible from the inside should be painted interior color.

What happens if you don't use primer before painting? ›

If you skip priming, you risk peeling paint, especially in humid conditions. Moreover, the lack of adhesion could make cleaning more difficult months after the paint has dried. You may find the paint wearing off as you're trying to wipe off dirt or fingerprints.

What kind of paint do you use for outdoor wood trim? ›

Acrylic latex paint is the gold standard for painting exterior wood trim, windows and siding (wood and metal). Acrylic paint is also great for painting garage doors and wood window shutters.

Should I use semi gloss or satin exterior trim? ›

A semi-gloss paint offers visible shine on home exteriors and is ideal for surfaces that require frequent cleaning. The glossier sheen makes semi-gloss paint more durable than satin, so it's easier to clean. Semi-gloss paint can also endure harsh weather conditions and withstand excess moisture.

How do you paint trim around an exterior door? ›

How to Paint Exteriors: Trim-Fascia-Doors [9/10] - YouTube

Do I need to clean trim before painting? ›

The best way to paint trim is to begin with a clean surface. Use a damp sponge to remove dirt that has accumulated on trim in most rooms. In kitchens, use a sponge and soapy water to remove grease buildup from the trim. Scuff-sand the surface of the trim.

How much do you have to sand trim before painting? ›

Sanding Tip: If the trim is new or already smooth, lightly sand using 120-grit sandpaper until all shine disappears from the trim. If the trim is rough and worn, start by sanding with coarse, 80-grit sandpaper. Then, move to less-coarse sandpaper such as 100- or 120-grit to smooth the surface.

Is it better to paint trim with a roller or brush? ›

If you're looking for a quick and easy application process, you can opt to use a roller to get the job done. However, if you want to achieve a high-quality final product, you'll want to use a brush instead. It will take more time to finish, but you'll be able to guarantee complete and smooth coverage of your trim.

What sheen should exterior trim be? ›

Semigloss: This shinier sheen is easier to clean, more durable, and more moisture resistant than a satin or eggshell paint. Best for trim, particularly on windowsills, which take the brunt of the weather.

What sheen should exterior trim paint be? ›

Normally, semi-gloss paint is the best choice for trim work, since high-gloss paints are so shiny that they highlight imperfections. For large areas of the home covered by siding, less glossy paints are a better choice.

Should exterior trim be lighter or darker? ›

Typically the trim will be a lighter color than the siding, as it helps the home stand out more. Often, homeowners will choose exterior corner boards that match the trim, as you can't tell the difference between the two a lot of the time.

What is the best time to paint house exterior? ›

Generally, this means that the spring or fall, when the temperatures are more moderate, will be the best time to paint your house exterior. A new paint project also requires dry weather.

How many coats of exterior paint are needed? ›

So, How Many Coats of Exterior Paint Should You Apply? Two coats is typically all that's needed, if you're painting over a well-prepped, primed surface. This is particularly true if you are painting a dark color over a lighter, existing one, as you're guaranteed to have good coverage.

Do I need primer if I am painting over paint? ›

You probably don't need a primer. If the current wall is smooth, clean and covered with the same type of paint (both are oil-based for example), you can head straight for the paint. You need to fill holes, spackle and sand*, maybe even cut a new piece of drywall in to the existing wall.

How do you treat exterior wood before painting? ›

For the best protection of the underlying wood and the longest lasting finishes, bare wood should be sealed with a water-repellent preservative (WRP) before priming and painting or staining. WRPs contain a small amount of wax or other water repellent and a mildewcide, fungicide, or both, usually in a solvent base.

How do you clean exterior wood before painting? ›

Even the most thorough scraping and sanding won't dislodge mold and mildew in old wood, but a cleaning solution containing a cup of bleach and a cup of trisodium phosphate in two gallons of water should do the trick. Spray the house's surface while scrubbing with a stiff-bristled brush.

How do you caulk exterior trim before painting? ›

Painting a house ALONE! Caulking The Exterior. - YouTube

When painting an exterior door do you paint the edges? ›

The edges of your door should be painted first so they have the longest time to dry. If you are only painting the outside of your door, you only want to paint the edge that will be visible when the door is open. Leave the other edge unpainted so it matches the inside of the door.

What is the trim on the outside of a house called? ›

Fascia and trim are both exterior elements of a home that help contribute to moisture prevention and curb appeal. Loosely defined, trim is used as fascia and some may refer to it as “fascia trim,” showing that these two terms are often confused due to their similar purposes.

How much does it cost to paint the exterior trim of a house? ›

Painting trim can cost up to $6 per linear foot for larger and hard-to-access places like dormers, soffits, and fascia. For a standard 1,500-square-foot home, painting interior trim will cost an average of $500 to $1,500 and exterior trim will cost $1,000 to $2,500.

Do I need two coats of paint if I use primer? ›

Typically, contractors use a primer, then two coats of paint—the primer to seal the surface and improve paint adhesion and the paint to provide color and protection.

Do I need 2 coats of primer? ›

You will want to use 2-3 coats of primer to ensure there is a good bond between the new paint and the wall, and also to cover up any previous colors, especially if they are red, orange, or a strange outdated color. In short, you will typically need 2 coats of primer for most painting projects.

Does primer need to be perfect? ›

The primer coat doesn't have to be perfect, but it should cover the surface (no bare spots) and it shouldn't be so blotchy that you get drips or visible unevenness.

How do you prepare exterior trim? ›

Use 150 grit sandpaper to smooth the rough edges between leftover paint and bare trim. Once you remove the rough edges, use 220 grit sandpaper to get the surface nice and smooth. If you're painting unfinished trim, you can simply use the 220 grit sandpaper to scuff the surface some so that the paint will adhere.

How do you treat exterior wood before painting? ›

For the best protection of the underlying wood and the longest lasting finishes, bare wood should be sealed with a water-repellent preservative (WRP) before priming and painting or staining. WRPs contain a small amount of wax or other water repellent and a mildewcide, fungicide, or both, usually in a solvent base.

How do you clean exterior wood before painting? ›

Even the most thorough scraping and sanding won't dislodge mold and mildew in old wood, but a cleaning solution containing a cup of bleach and a cup of trisodium phosphate in two gallons of water should do the trick. Spray the house's surface while scrubbing with a stiff-bristled brush.

How do you caulk exterior trim before painting? ›

Painting a house ALONE! Caulking The Exterior. - YouTube

Do you paint the sides of exterior trim? ›

The edge you see from the outside should be painted the exterior color. If the interior of the door is being painted, simply repeat this method from the inside; any edge visible from the inside should be painted interior color.

Should I use semi gloss or satin exterior trim? ›

A semi-gloss paint offers visible shine on home exteriors and is ideal for surfaces that require frequent cleaning. The glossier sheen makes semi-gloss paint more durable than satin, so it's easier to clean. Semi-gloss paint can also endure harsh weather conditions and withstand excess moisture.

What kind of paint do you use for outdoor wood trim? ›

Acrylic latex paint is the gold standard for painting exterior wood trim, windows and siding (wood and metal). Acrylic paint is also great for painting garage doors and wood window shutters.

Should I seal outdoor wood before painting? ›

If you need to paint outdoor furniture, then sealing your work is essential. The right sealant can protect it from moisture and stains. If you've been searching for a way to waterproof your outdoor paints, then you've come to the right place. This guide will help you choose the right product for your project.

Should I seal exterior wood before painting? ›

Sealing or sizing a piece of wood greatly reduces the chance of stains, warping and rotting wood from your paint. Yes, this can happen! You should apply two coats of sealer and let it dry thoroughly in-between each layer. Sealing also provides an easier surface to apply subsequent paint layers starting with a primer.

Do I need to seal exterior wood before painting? ›

Protect your wood panel by applying a sealant to it prior to painting. The natural chemicals that wood contains can break down a painting over time, but sealing protects wood from this. Sealants smooth the surface and provides an even exterior to wood.

How do you clean exterior wood trim? ›

  1. Mix warm water and 1 tsp. of dish detergent in a bucket. Video of the Day.
  2. Soak a sponge or scrub brush in the cleaning solution and scrub at the wooden surface to remove dirt and grime.
  3. Dry with a clean towel, or allow it to air dry.

Do you need primer for exterior paint? ›

Exterior surfaces such as wood and metal require a primer for proper adhesion and blocking power. Vinyl and aluminum siding for adhesion purposes and stucco/block may need a specialty primer to handle the PH level.

What primer should I use for exterior wood? ›

Acrylic Primer: Acrylic primer, or latex primer, has become the standard and is used much more frequently than its oil-based alternative. Acrylic primer is water-based, and is used to prime most wood siding and trim, galvanized metal, and T-111 and Hardie board siding.

Do you prime then caulk or caulk then prime? ›

Caulking First

Under normal circumstances, you can apply caulk before priming; however, if you're working on certain surfaces, the caulk will not stick without a primer base coat. Caulk adheres very well to clean, bare wood and vinyl. Unfortunately, it will not stick well to stained surfaces.

Do you caulk trim before or after painting? ›

Yes, caulking trim before painting is usually best, as any imperfections will be filled in by caulk. Then, once painted, the surface should look perfect. Caulking your trim after painting is still possible, but you'll need to use more caution to not damage your recently completed painting project.

Do I need to caulk exterior trim? ›

Exterior caulking can also help to keep heating and cooling bills down by helping prevent heat loss around doors and windows. In addition, caulking used on the exterior of the house can seal up cracks in the home's foundation and driveway that could lead to expensive repair bills if left unchecked.

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