Tips For Preparing Exterior Trim For Painting

Painting the exterior of your home isn't complete until the trim is done. This includes window frames, the roof fascia boards, and any decorative trim work on the home. Unlike the siding, which can be painted quickly with a paint sprayer, trim is typically painted by hand. The following tips can help you prepare it for painting so that the process goes as smoothly as possible.

Tip #1: Replace damaged trim

Trim with major damage will need to be replaced prior to damage. This is usually only necessary with rotten trim, as other damage is typically repairable. You can verify that a piece of trim is rotten by probing it gently with a flat head screwdriver. If it feels soft, it will need to be replaced.

Tip #2: Repair minor damage

The next step is to repair any minor damage on the trim. Cracks, gaps, and nail holes are the main culprits here. Use a paintable wood putty to fix cracks and holes. Using a putty knife, force putty into the damaged area and then scrape it smooth. Once dry, sand it gently so that the repair blends in with the surrounding wood. Gaps between trim pieces can be filled with a bead of paintable caulk.

Tip #3: Sand and scrape

Paint adheres best to a slightly roughened surface, but you don't want to attempt to paint over blistered or peeling paint. Using a paint scraper, scrape off any loose or blistered paint. You can use a heat gun to help soften the paint for easier scraping. Follow the scraping with a medium grit sandpaper. You want to sand enough so that the wood feels slightly rough, but not enough to remove much from the surface of the wood trim.

Tip #4: Use a primer

The final step before paint application is to prime the trim for painting. You will need a water-based primer if you are using a water-based latex paint, or an oil-based primer if you are using an oil-based exterior paint. Opt for a light gray or white primer if you will be painting the trim a lighter color, and a dark gray primer for darker colors. This will help ensure even coverage. As a general rule, you will only need to apply one coat of the primer. Just let it dry completely before painting.

For more help with the entire process, contact house painters in your area.