Tips For Painting Exterior Trim

Painting exterior trim will renew, protect, and boost home curb appeal. However, achieving a professional finish involves more than a brush and a paint bucket. Detailed exterior trim painting requires precision, attention to detail, and proper technique.

The process, paint type, painter, or your ability and experience using a paintbrush, roller, or sprayer will significantly influence the result. We provide tips, techniques, paint preparation, and application processes that are helpful for seasoned DIYs and painters.

Our painting professionals bring decades of combined experience to every job we undertake. By reading our tips, you can ensure your job gets done correctly when approaching the process of painting exterior trim!

The Entire House vs. Just Painting Trim

While many local contractors may focus on the siding conditions, exterior trim requires equal, if not more, attention. Home trim is the structural component that ties different aspects of exterior décor together. Without corner boards, fascia, soffit, windows, doors, and exterior porches, your home would be pretty basic.

However, in some cases, it is best to paint the entire home. A report on USA Today reports that the quality of a home painting can determine the market value.


The Importance of Detailed Trim Painting

The exterior trim of your home plays a crucial role in its overall aesthetic. It showcases and wraps around windows, doors, and other architectural features, adding definition and character to the facade.

A well-executed trim painting job can transform the entire look of your home, making it appear more modern, polished, and visually appealing. However, the importance of exterior trim paint goes beyond mere aesthetics. It also serves as a protective barrier against the elements, safeguarding the underlying materials from moisture, UV rays, and other environmental factors that can cause deterioration over time.

Painting exterior trim is usually the final phase of home repainting projects. Understandably, most want to complete the project as expeditiously as possible. However, painting trim requires patience, persistence, and attention to detail.

Attention to detail gives the impression of professionalism and quality. So, painting exterior trim should not be rushed. If you rush it, you risk ruining the entire project.

Exterior House Trim Painting Steps

1) Check the weather:

The weather is an important consideration when painting outdoors.

  • Painting when rain is forecasted will affect outdoor painting or preparation efforts.
  • Avoid painting in hot temperatures. It can cause bubbling or the paint to dry too quickly, resulting in unsightly brush marks.
  • Painting in mild weather is more effortless for application and paint performance. Avoid temperatures too cold to paint in or when approaching freezing.
  • Windy weather can blow dirt and debris onto the paint before it dries.

2) Lead-Based Paint & Paint Safety:

    Learn and confirm the EPA regulations for lead-safe practices in your area. The regulations apply to homes built before 1978 and aim to protect you and your neighbors from airborne lead particles.

    3) Washing Exterior Trim:

      The first step in painting is pressure washing all exterior surfaces with an exterior-grade cleaning solution. Exterior paints should never be applied over dirt, debris, or organic growth, including mold, mildew, algae, fungi, or moss.

      4) Inspecting and Preparing the Surface:

        Look for trim damages or other issues around doors, windows, and joints requiring repairs.

        5) Trim & Wood Replacement:

          Never paint over wood damage, rot, decay, or severe wood splits. Degrading PVC and other composite materials should also be replaced before exterior painting preparations begin.

          6) Scraping, Sanding, & Removing Loose Paint:

            Paint preparations include ensuring all surfaces are dry and removing loose, flaking, blistered, or bubbling paint. Sanding all rough edges where all loose paint has been removed ensures a smoother paint finish.

            7) Caulking Cracks, Puttying Nail Holes, & Fillers:

              Caulk is a filler and sealant that eliminates gaps and cracks in or around doors and windows, corner boards, soffits, fascia boards, wooden railings, and any wood or PVC trim outdoors.

              Painter putty is used for minor nail holes, and wood fillers are used to patch minor wood damages.

              • Thoroughly seal the surface from moisture using the best exterior caulking.
              • Allow all caulking to dry first before priming or painting.

              8) Priming the Surfaces:

                All bare wood requires priming to promote an adequate bond before painting. Shellac-based primers are best at blocking stains.

                • Always use exterior-specific primers.
                • Use a bonding primer type that matches the existing paint type. Acrylic paints require acrylic primers.

                9) Choosing the Best Paint:

                  Water-based acrylic latex is the best exterior house paint, providing durability under various weather conditions. Exterior acrylic paint applies easily, dries quickly, and cleans up with soap and water. 

                  Are you worried about painting during the pollen season? There’s no need to worry. Acrylic paint dries fast, and falling pollen has no effect.

                  10) Your Ability and Skills:

                    Your skills should be assessed in each area if you are going to paint exterior trim. 

                    Cutting in/ brushwork: Straight lines, no paint drips, and uniform brush strokes are critical indicators of professional painting. Painting detailed trim requires a steady hand, a good paintbrush, and not overloading the brush with paint.

                    Spraying: Spraying requires a powerful machine, various spray tips, and covering areas with tape, paper, and plastic to prevent unwanted overspray.

                    Height, Ladders, & Tools

                      Large extension and step ladders are needed to access exterior home trim. Taller homes will require longer ladders. The most common step ladder is 6ft, while the average-sized extension ladder is 24ft. If you are afraid of heights or unfamiliar with using a ladder, you should not use them to paint your home. 

                      Additional Tools Needed:

                      • Sander
                      • Drop Cord
                      • Sanding Block
                      • Drill
                      • Hammer
                      • Caulking Gun
                      • Paint Can Hanger
                      • Putty Knife
                      • Painter Tool
                      • Wire Brush
                      • Paintbrush Comb
                      • Rags
                      • Ladder Mitts
                      • Drop Cloths

                      Exterior Trim Painting Tips & Techniques

                        It’s best to work from the top to the bottom when painting exterior trim. Start with the gables, dormers, eaves, and gutters before painting doors and windows. Proceed to the porch rails and other remaining trim.

                        Exterior Window Painting: Work from the sashes to the frames when repainting exterior windows, sashes, sills, and jambs. Window sills should receive close attention as they suffer exposure to the elements. Older windows may require window glaze.

                        Exterior Door Painting: If you are not steady using a paintbrush, remove the knobs, latch plates, and door knocker. You can also remove the door from its frame and paint it on sawhorses.

                        Shutters, Storm Windows, and Doors: To ensure the best results in painting shutters, remove them from exterior wall spaces and paint on sawhorses. After the paint dries, rehang the shutters using gloves or damp cloths to handle them. Cloths and gloves will eliminate handprints.

                        Can You DIY Home Exterior Painting

                        Exterior house painting costs are reduced when you do it yourself, effectively giving your home protection and a new look. However, painting the exterior trim on your home requires skills and time and is too much work for one person. Then, it would help if you had the equipment, know-how, and nerve to climb tall ladders.

                        Asking if painting exterior trim is a DIY project is almost the same as asking if you are a painter. It requires everything a skilled painter has and needs.

                        Do you live in Raleigh and need your home painted? Your exterior painting services include our professional expertise, and you don’t have to take the risk of doing it yourself. Call us at 919-426-4928 today!

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