How to Paint Stained Trim

10 Materials
1 Day

Seems like everyone is loving the farmhouse style right now so painting trim is a priority in room remodels!
how to paint stained trim
Stained trim has an oil based sealer on it (polyurethane). For the same reason oil and water don't mix, latex paint cannot be painted on stained trim. It will stick for a while but eventually flake and peal off.
how to paint stained trim
To begin, tape off any areas you don't want painted. (walls, carpet, glass, etc). Use 120 grit sandpaper to scuff the surface and remove any sheen. Wipe surfaces down with a damp cloth.
how to paint stained trim
Next, use a disposable brush to paint on a coat of oil based primer. Allow to dry.
how to paint stained trim
Add a couple coats of paint.
how to paint stained trim
When you go from stained to painted, you will see gaps in some areas.
how to paint stained trim
Use latex painters caulk to seal the gaps.
how to paint stained trim
Run your finger over the caulk to smooth it. Wipe off any excess. Allow to dry. Most caulk says paintable in 30 minutes but it takes an hour or 2. Touch up to caulked areas with paint.
how to paint stained trim
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Lisa Laker Interior Design

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 5 questions
  • Michelle Dodson
    on Jan 7, 2018

    The ceiling is confusing me. Is it just a play of the light or ... ?

  • Carol
    on Jan 8, 2018

    You said to use an oil based primer, but you didn't say what kind of paint you used??? Was it oil based as well? Thank you ahead of time for your answer!

    • When you use an oil based primer, you can paint with latex (waterbase paint) over it. I typically use Sherwin Williams Proclassic paint satin finish because of it's smooth hard finish but it's $72/gallon when it's not on sale. In my opinion, it's worth every penny but any latex paint would work fine.

  • Susie Milefchik
    on Jan 8, 2019

    I don't use an oil based product if I can help it and I hate to sand. What do you think of the products I see called de-glossers? Could I de-gloss the trim and then paint it with latex? Thanks for any hints or thoughts.

Join the conversation

2 of 15 comments
  • Nia4802183
    on Jan 18, 2018

    Also this project is right on. My whole house was very old and everything was stained brown (very depressing). Clean stained surfaces with a degreaser (like in the kitchen). Sand only to scuff the sheen of the poly. Then you can prime and paint.
    I did 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint.

  • Sherry Cody
    on Feb 12, 2018

    Wish I would of known just spent hours painting trim I hope it doesn't peel

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