Do You Paint the Walls or Woodwork First

Pondering whether to paint the walls or woodwork trim first is much like the infamous chicken-or-egg debate.

If you decide to paint the trim first, you may risk wall paint splattering and might need to touch it up again. On the other hand, if you paint the wall first, the woodwork trim paint could bleed over, and you would need to fix the wall paint later on. 

So what is the best thing to do?

This article will answer this hotly debated question and share some painting tips to help you get the job done right. If you’re ready, let’s get started!

Which Should You Paint First: Walls or Woodwork Trim

Woodwork trims are not just ornamentation– they give any space character, balance, and proportion. When you paint it in the correct shade, it can significantly enhance the room’s aesthetic appeal and add more style.

The walls and woodwork trims are two different surfaces and should be painted differently. Generally, the proper order of painting them depends on the situation. 

Paint the woodwork first when:

  • You’re planning on taping. After painting the woodwork trims, tape them when painting the walls.
  • You’re cutting in and don’t want to bother taping.
  • Your room is still under construction, so painting the woodwork trims first can help you save time.

Paint the walls first when:

  • You’re in a hurry to paint the room.
  • You’re not sure about the wall color. So if you paint the woodwork trims first and later decide to change the color of the walls, you may have to change the color of the woodwork too.
  • You have extra help painting the walls because the woodwork needs more attention and skill.

However, generally, painters work on the walls first and then the woodwork as it’s easier not to get trim paint on walls than it is not to get wall paint on the trims. 

Expert Tips for Painting the Woodwork Trims

The woodwork significantly impacts the overall look and feel of your space. So here are some tips for painting your woodwork trims quickly and achieving excellent results.

  • If you’re painting the woodwork of an old house, check for the presence of lead in the existing paint. If it does contain lead, remove it through chemical paint strippers or encapsulation, or replace the woodwork altogether.
  • Sand the woodwork with 150-grit sandpaper. You can use a palm sander for flat surfaces and flexible sanding blocks for curved or contoured surfaces.
  • Clean the surface with a damp cloth so the paint will stick better.
  • Fill dents, damaged areas, and nail holes with a wood filler.
  • Keep your floor clean by placing a drop cloth flush against the wall to catch drips.
  • Prime and paint the woodwork between the coats.
  • After applying the first coat, leave it to dry for the recommended duration, lightly sand, and clean it up before applying the second coat.
  • You can prevent lap marks when applying the second coat by doing it in the opposite direction.
  • Paint in long strokes along the length of the woodwork trim.

Recommended Paint and Finish for Woodwork Trims

The best types of paints for woodwork trims are oil-based and acrylic-latex paints. What’s excellent about oil-based paints is that they have a glass-like finish and few brush marks. 

Also, because of the thick consistency, you’ll find it easier to use to fill in holes and dents. However, this type of paint takes longer to dry and is harder to clean. Meanwhile, acrylic-latex paints give a good finish but don’t have that glossy appearance and hard rock-like texture.

As for the best finish for woodwork trims, gloss and semi-gloss finishes work best as they help the woodwork stand out from the walls. Another factor on the plus side is that the tight molecular structure of glossy paints makes it difficult for dirt to stick.

Choosing the Right Paint Color for Your Woodwork

Selecting the right paint color for your woodwork can make or break your project. If you want to avoid multiple trips to the supplies store or the confusion that comes with guesswork, here are some tips to help you decide.

  • The color of your woodwork trims should complement the color of your walls. For instance, warm white goes well with other warm colors such as shades of red, orange, and neutral colors. Meanwhile, neutral white pairs well with shades of green and blue.
  • You can never go wrong with white, as it is a classic color. You can go for lighter walls, and darker woodwork trims for a bolder look.
  • Trim colors don’t have to be the same, but choosing from the same color palette is recommended to achieve a more cohesive look.

Need Professional Painters for Your House Repainting Project?

Painting your home requires skill, especially for the woodwork trims that require detail-orientedness. So if you have a house repainting project you need to get done right and fast, your best course of action is to hire professional painters.

Whether you need residential or commercial painting, Soho Painters specializes in both. Get in touch with us today to discuss your project and get a free estimate.

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