Should I paint the wall or the trim first?

Getting ready to paint my bathroom should I paint the walls or trim first?
  30 answers
  • I would paint the wall first and then the trim.
  • Denise G Denise G on Feb 22, 2012
    If the trim is not up yet, paint them. After installation, do touch ups. Other wise I've always painted the trim last. That Blue painters tape makes it easy
  • I've been a professional painter for almost 20 years and I still find that it is much easier to do it this way: fix/apply any caulking you need to and then paint the trim first before you paint the rest of the wall. It is easier to make a nice line on the wall than to paint in the little top lip of many trim boards. Once the trim paint is totally dry, mask it all off with blue painter's tape (1 1/2 or 2 inches wide). Do a very nice, straight job of laying this tape down and make sure the edges of the tape are well secured so wall paint will not "leak" under it. That part is sort of critical. Now paint the rest of the wall. The tape should block any roller spray as well as any paint you get on it from the brush. Once the wall has become mostly dry, pull up the tape on the baseboards. If you did a good tape job, it will leave behind a nice, darn near perfectly straight line. You may need to do just a few touch-ups here and there once the wall paint is totally dry. If you are just looking to paint the trim, you can buy a little brush/paint shield that you can lay along the trim/wall joint and brush up against it.
  • Michelle M Michelle M on Feb 22, 2012
  • Michelle M Michelle M on Feb 22, 2012
  • Michelle M Michelle M on Feb 22, 2012
    Thanks for all the great tips! I think I will paint the trim first. I must have painted the walls last time I painted because it was a nightmare trying to paint the crown molding. Thanks again!
  • No problem Michelle, let us know how it goes for you. Good luck!
  • Marguerite S Marguerite S on Feb 22, 2012
    I always paint the wall first.
  • Lee W Lee W on Feb 22, 2012
    I never have a problem either way, guess it depends on the mood, or type of trim.
  • Peace Painting Co., Inc. Peace Painting Co., Inc. on Feb 22, 2012
    It is easier to paint the trim first like Dan explains. We don't use tape because we learn to make straight lines and good paint and rollers don't leave overspray, except on the baseboard. All pros use this method because it works best for them. If you need to use tape, try the 3M EdgeLock for no bleeding. Good question Michelle. Best, Charles
  • Project Style, LLC Project Style, LLC on Feb 22, 2012
    We prefer the green tape to the blue
  • Peace Painting Co., Inc. Peace Painting Co., Inc. on Feb 22, 2012
    By green, do you mean Frogtape?
  • Sheila G Sheila G on Feb 22, 2012
    Always trim out first, so then you will not see brush marks
  • Carol Carol on Feb 22, 2012
    I learn so much here. Thanks to the pros who share information. I have always done walls first - no reason - but will try doing the trim first.
  • Pensacola Accents Pensacola Accents on Feb 22, 2012
    Trim first, then walls. After doing this for almost 20 years, I don't use tape. With practice you will find that your brush allows you to apply just the right pressure to make a perfect line.
  • Myself and every pro I know does the trim first, then the walls
  • 3po3 3po3 on Feb 22, 2012
    I've always painted the walls first because I'm kinda sloppy and drip on the baseboards, but the pros here make some great points in favor of painting trim first. I'm convinced.
  • Crystal - 29 Rue House Crystal - 29 Rue House on Feb 22, 2012
    I like the "paint the trim first" advice because I always paint the walls first and never get around to or want to paint the trim so it never gets done. :)
  • I think it is just a matter of personal preference. I've painted professionally for over 25 years now and always paint walls first then trim. For a homeowner who may not be as good with a brush, doing the trim first might make sense. I never tape anything off. Always use premium brushes like Purdy...and good rollers like Purdy White Dove if you can find them. NEVER use the pre-packed roller, brush tray deal or cheap rollers/brushes....
  • Peace Painting Co., Inc. Peace Painting Co., Inc. on Feb 23, 2012
    Steve, you can leave the base for last. CP
  • Angela G Angela G on Feb 23, 2012
    I am just about to start painting the molding because I am having tile installed. ty its good to know I am doing it the right way. Next question. Do I paint the ceiling first or the walls? I have been told to paint the ceiling first then the walls. However, my ceiling and walls are the same color because they are cathedral. The walls with flat ceilings I am painting first because I am keeping them white and the walls have a color on them. I am also adding decorative molding to those flat ceilings. Bedrooms, hallways etc. So with the moldings on do I paint the ceiling first or the moldings. Geeze this is so confusing. lol
  • Keith B Keith B on Feb 23, 2012
    paint the trim first. it is easier to paint up to the trim than paint the trim without touching the wall use a straitedge shield if needed.
  • Peace Painting Co., Inc. Peace Painting Co., Inc. on Feb 23, 2012
    Ceilings always paint first Angela, then trim then walls. And you can save the baseboard for last. CP
  • Angela - if you are installing tile...remove the base at the floor first. Let them set their underlayment & the tile...and then reinstall the baseboards. We see so many tile job where the base was left in place and is now "shorter" than the rest of the house and just looks, if a piece is ever damaged, it will be a nightmare to repair.
  • @ Peace and others, yeah I rarely use tape myself. After 20 years I can cut in a pretty darn straight line. By the time I finish taping things off, I could have had it painted with just the brush anyhow. But for the non-pro, using the tape will make a great line. The only time I do use the tape is when (for whatever reason) the client only wants the walls painted and not the trim.
  • Michelle M Michelle M on Feb 23, 2012
    You must have a great paint brush to cut in a straight line. I have tried to find a slanted brush that's stiff enough to cut a nice line but they are hard to find. Do you mind me asking where you get yours?
  • I'm pretty sure that every professional painter has their own favorite brush. The Purdy ones are popular, available at Sherwin-Williams or Lowes/Home Depot. Personally I like the Corona brand better, in my opinion they are superior to the Purdy ones. At least around here the only place I can find them are at Color Wheel (a paint store like Sherwin-Williams). They are pretty expensive though. The brushes I buy cost around $35 each. Of course, 20 years of practice with literally tens of thousands of gallons of paint doesn't hurt either. :)
  • Peace Painting Co., Inc. Peace Painting Co., Inc. on Feb 23, 2012
    Michelle, Purdy has a nice polyester/nylon blend that is both stiff and supple that you can pick up at Sher-Wms, The Depot, etc. Best, Charles
  • Project Style, LLC Project Style, LLC on Mar 04, 2012
    @Peace, yes frog tape. When we tape, that is. The girls at Project Style have pretty steady painting hands! Lots of practice!
  • Peace Painting Co., Inc. Peace Painting Co., Inc. on Mar 04, 2012
    There's nothing like hands on.
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