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Painting Stained Trim

Recently Paragon Painting was contracted to convert all the trim and doors from stain to paint in a house located in Mt. Pleasant. I’m always on the hunt for good blog post topics and this is one area I haven’t covered here before, so why not. As a disclaimer to the DIYers, converting stained trim to painted trim is VERY labor intensive and for a nice looking outcome it is best left to a professional.

As a wood lover, I normally have a weird sense of guilt going into this kind of project. Covering up beautiful stain grade trim and doors is a tough pill to swallow for me because I actually like the look of natural wood. That said I’m not one to pass up on a job because of my personal preference, everyone has their own taste and right now stained trim is out and painted trim is in. I can see why too, it’s way easier to pick colors that go with white trim as opposed to stained. Stained trim can really clash with certain wall colors while white pretty much goes with everything. Stained trim has also been out of style for so long it can also make your house look dated which is never a good thing for resale purposes.

It’s All in The Prep

The prep work is a big reason why converting stained trim to painted is so labor intensive. The very first thing you need to do is clean everything, for that, I use Krud Kutter. If you’ve never tried Krud Kutter you don’t know what you’re missing. Every painter uses it because it is one the best cleaners/degreasers you could use prior to painting. After cleaning you need to sand everything. We use our Festool dustless sanding system for as much of that as we possibly can but smaller, more detailed, areas still require some hand sanding. Of course, after sanding you need to dust it all off, even the dustless system could leave a little behind so dusting is crucial if you want the paint to adhere properly. After all that cleaning and sanding every single nail hole needs to be filled and every single crack needs to be caulked. On this job, we used Elmer’s Wood Putty to fill all the nail holes and Sherwin Williams 950a caulk for the cracks.

Choosing the Right Primer

As you may know, there are a lot of different primers on the market, from latex to oil, stain killers to adhesion, there’s plenty to choose from. And whatever you do, please do not go to a big box store and fall for the paint and primer in one marketing ploy. It’s not real if it were no one would sell primers anymore yet they do. Read more about that here, Paint and Primer in One Fact or Fiction.

A fantastic choice for a primer would be Zinsser CoverStain but it’s not without drawbacks, the biggest of which is the smell. That stuff straight up stinks! It gets the job done 99.9% of the time but in an occupied home, the smell of it leaves little to be desired. So even though it’s a no fail primer I’m looking for more eco-friendly options. When converting from stained trim to painted trim you’re looking for two things in a primer, adhesion and stain blocking. This trim was previously polyurethaned which normally helps hold back tannin bleed so I decided to do a test spot with Sherwin Williams Extreme Bonding Primer. I tested it on a Friday and on Monday I didn’t see anything bleeding through the primer and I couldn’t scratch it off. It’s latex which means it’s WAY less stinky and somewhat easier to work with. So the Extreme Bonding primer passed the test and we went with that on this particular job. Had it not passed the test I would have had to bite the smelly bullet and gone with CoverStain.

Painting the Trim

On a job like this spraying isn’t really an option. The house is lived in and we weren’t painting the walls so the amount of covering, taping, and dealing with the dust spraying creates wasn’t justifiable so we brushed it all by hand with the exception of the doors. The doors were rolled with a 3/8 nap 4-inch microfiber mini roller. To eliminate as much brush marks as possible I decided to use Sherwin Williams Latex ProClassic. The ProClassic is designed specifically to be used on trim because of its durability and self-leveling properties. ProClassic also has a steep learning curve so you must continuously go back over your work to look for any runs. No matter what you do it will run because that is basically what it is designed to do, level and level on a vertical surface means runs. It isn’t a big deal as long you’re mindful of it, if you’re not you’ll spend the next day sanding out all the runs from the previous day which is not a fun way to spend the day.

The Final Result

All in all the job went exactly how I planned and the look of the house was completely transformed. Jobs like this are particularly rewarding for me. I love a big transformation and after all the tedious hard work it took to get there I was truly proud of the product we were able to deliver to our customer.

Mt Pleasant Foyer

Mt Pleasant Painted Foyer

Dining Room Before

Dining Room After

Family Room Before Paint

family room painted after

Mt Pleasant Painter

Mt Pleasant Painters

Give Us A Call

If you’re in the market to paint your dated stained trim give Paragon Painting in Mt. Pleasant a call 843-695-9450 . I’ll meet with you personally discuss your needs and provide you with a no hassle free quote.

Contact Us

If you are looking for an experienced trim painter, give us a call at 843-695-9450 or complete our online request form.