It may look like an easy job, but painting trim is actually one of the more challenging parts of the painting process. That’s because it takes a lot of detail and fine motor skills, and can easily get botched if you’re not careful. Whether an interior or exterior job, it’s always best to hire a professional painter in San Francisco who is skilled in these delicate specialty areas.

But if you would like to make a go of it yourself, the best tip we can give you is to take your time and go step by step to ensure a professional-looking and mess-free final result. Keep in mind that the biggest mistake DIY’ers make when painting is the tendency to rush through it. Heed these tips and take the time to prepare.

Clean the Area

A lot of dust accumulates on trim areas like baseboards. If you forget to clean those areas before painting, you will notice the paint will have a bubbly, gritty look and feel. It’s worth the extra step to wipe down the baseboards and doorways before applying any paint.

Choose the Right Paint

It’s best to use oil-based paint on trim because it does not dry as fast as its water-based counterpart, and it levels out better as well. As a result, you get a smoother surface with fewer visible brush marks. However, many DIY’ers choose water-based paint because it’s more environmentally friendly, easier to clean, and doesn’t smell as much.

You may want to go with a gloss finish for your trim because it is easier to clean later, such as a satin enamel or semi-gloss finish.

Painting Baseboard with Carpet

Baseboards are tricky to paint on their own – add carpet into the mix and you have an extra challenge on your hands. First, try pulling back the carpet’s tack strip. If you are having no luck, you will have to paint the trim with the carpet in place. For added protection, use a paint shield or carpet shield. If you really want a challenge, take off the baseboard first, apply paint, let it dry, then re-attach it.

Use Quality Sandpaper

If you have to sand down any bumpy areas, use a black sandpaper that has been coated with silicon carbide rather than the standard-issue brown sandpaper you’re probably familiar with. This black kind will last longer and will not get as gunky. When cleaning corners and other hard-to-reach nooks and crannies, use a foam sanding sponge.

Paint With Care

When painting, press down very lightly with a two-inch angled brush. Apply the paint in single strokes, going in just one direction at the widest part of the trim. Take your time and go slowly to ensure an even, smooth application. Try feathering the edge into previously-painted parts by raising your brush so you’re not leaving any obvious lines between the two paths.

Use the Lay-On, Lay-Off Technique

To prevent obvious brushstrokes, load the brush with paint, then promptly unload on the surface using a few back-and-forth brushstrokes. Known as “laying on” the paint, you should repeat this method until a few feet of trim have been covered with paint. Now, without reloading the brush, start to drag the bristle tips over the paint in one stroke in order to “lay off” the paint.

Starting in the un-painted area, drag the brush into the trim you already painted. Sweep the brush off the surface as you end each stroke.

Do Touch Ups

Once the first coat is dry, touch up any uneven areas. After the final coat is on, take off the tape and let dry for at least 24 hours prior to painting your walls, if applicable.

Use Painter’s Tape

It’s a good idea to use low-tack blue painter’s tape to line the trim. That way, you can cut in right to the edge. Just don’t cross over it. Use a fully-loaded brush to paint within two inches of the painter’s tape, but as you approach the tape, start to go lighter so it doesn’t seep underneath and compromise your perfect lines.

Peel the painter’s tape only when dry but do this within the same day of your paint job. To make this process go more easily, run a blade along it first, scoring the tape’s edge with a putty knife between the wall and the tip of the baseboard.

If your trim painting project doesn’t come out the way you wanted or you’d rather not deal with the hassle in the first place, call a professional instead.

Get a Quote From Fresh Start Today

To get your free quote on interior or exterior painting of trim and doors, contact us at (415) 347-7689. Fresh Start Painting SF in Daly City CA brings an eye for detail to any paint job, large or small.