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Painting Trim

The Right Way to Paint Exterior Trim

Any do-it-yourself homeowner knows that painting an exterior can be tricky. We don’t want to be tackling this project again until we get sick of the color. The majority of your home’s exterior trim is wood, which expands and contracts with temperature extremes and retains moisture once the paint film is broken. Unfortunately, this may cause yourexterior paint to peel. One of Color Guild’s members shared some stellar tips to make sure you have the least amount of maintenance as possible.



All standard painting rules apply. The surface needs to be clean, dull and dry. We always recommend scraping any loose paint off and sanding the surface and prime any bare spots.



The most effective primer will be a traditional oil-based primer. The oil base primer offers superior penetration and adhesion and may be coated with a high quality 100% acrylic latex paint. Preferably something with a sheen as the additional sheen offers a slightly smoother more durable finish. However if you are sensitive to solvents in paint, are somewhat of an environmentalist and green, or just prefer to use water based primer, be sure to get a high quality primer. This isn’t somewhere to skimp!

Using a bonding primer is a great solution for trim that traditionally has peeling problems, especially on the horizontal bottom surfaces exposed more to moisture and sun.

Always use two coats of paint over either the oil base primer or bonding primer. This gives a thicker paint film and will always be more durable and longer lasting than one coat.

Even if you do everything perfectly, still expect to do some maintenance every few years on your exterior trim. So don’t get discouraged because just like us, our houses take some serious abuse from the great outdoors.


~This post inspired/contributed by ColorGuild. ColorGuild, the global paint and color authority, is a member based organization serves as a definitive resource on color and coatings.  As a member of ColorGuild, we welcome their contributions.