4 Easy Mistakes To Avoid When Painting Wood Trim

Today I’m sharing 4 common mistakes people make when painting wood trim, paneling, or moulding. Painting trim can make a big different in your home’s look and feel. Avoiding these mistakes will ensure your trim will look great for years to come.

Our Green Bathroom with White Ceiling Shiplap
Our Green Bathroom with White Ceiling Shiplap

Mistake 1: Don’t prime

Priming is your bff when it comes to painting wood. It’s the secret sauce to getting your paint to really stick well. Without it, you run the risk of your paint peeling or easily scraping off in a few months. Do yourself a favor and prep the wood with a good coat of primer first.

Primer is a bond-maker between the wood and the paint. This gives your paint something more to cling to and stay put long-term.

Brand new trim sometimes comes pre-primed, so you can skip right to painting. But if you’re repainting old trim, priming is an essential step.

Mistake 2: Don’t sand

If you’re repainting trim or wood that’s already been painted, you NEED to give it a sand. This will help the primer and paint bond appropriately to the wood. Ensuring your paint won’t peel off in few months.

Sand enough to get the top finish off before priming.

Mistake 3: Use regular wall paint

Wall paint is engineered to adhere to drywall. But wood is a completely different material that requires a different chemical make up of paint. Save yourself time and money (and a giant headache later) and choose the right paint beforehand.

Look for paint that says “for cabinets, trim, and wood”. My go-to is Urethane Alykd from Behr. I’ve heard amazing things about the Benjamin Moore Advance line for painting cabinets. I’m planning to try it soon too!

Blue floral patterned floor tile in our pink bathroom DIY remodel
Our Pink Bathroom with Blue Floral Floor Tile

Tip: you can get your wood trim paint color-matched to your wall paint for a high quality, color drenched look. I use a glossier sheen for trim.

Mistake 4: Use a stiff old paint brush

Make brush marks your enemy. Paint made for wood (like urethane alkyd paint) is designed to dry slowly so it levels out brush marks well. But it’s still possible to end up with a bad paint finish if you’re not using the right tool.

A soft paint brush, a flocked foam roller, or even a paint sprayer will give you a better chance for a smooth finish in the end.

My Favorite Trim Painting Tools

All my painting tool and brand recommendations for painting wood trim are linked in my LTK shop today.

  • Flocked foam roller
  • My fav soft paint brush
  • My go-to paint type/brand
  • and more!

Be sure to follow me on LTK for mood board links, rug roundups, and so much DIY design goodness too.

We’re making good progress in our hall bathroom project. What started as a floor repair has turned into a mini-refresh. I decided to add some affordable beadboard on a whim and to repaint the trim around the room. I’m loving this mustard yellow and pink wall paint combo.

Follow me on Instagram for the final reveal of this project!

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