Tips on How to Paint Your Exterior Wooden Trim
The design and the painting on the exterior wooden trim enhances the appearance and uniqueness of your house or building.
This trim is normally used in places such as at the corners, around the doors and windows, along the roof line, on gables and so on. In addition to serving as a decorative feature and providing contrast to the surrounding areas, it prevents water from penetrating into the wall around the door or window. The painting extends the wood’s life in addition to giving it a fresh look.
Even though one can simply apply a fresh coat of paint onto the wood surface, the look and life of the paint might be compromised. Whether painting part, or, the whole house, preparation is the key and the most important task. In fact, for a successful quality painting project, 90 percent work is the preparation and ten percent the painting.
The preparation of the exterior trim’s wood is required to make it gloss free, clean and smooth. The preparation may involve removing old paint, sanding, filling in the holes, cracks and finally caulking the joints.
Preparation of the wood surface
Preparation of the woodwork involves removing the layer of old paint and sanding the wood to ensure optimum adhesion of the paint and the new primer on the wood. For new wood that had not been painted before the preparation will only involve the cleaning and sanding.
Cleaning the Dust and oil
Mix water with a small amount of soap, soak the sponge and then wring it. Use the wet sponge to wipe the wood trim to remove dust and oils. Ensure you do this to all the surfaces of the accessible exposed wood, allow the wood to air dry.
Removing the old paint
- Use a small blade or a razor blade to scrape and remove the paint. Place the blade at a 45-degree angle and use little pressure as you slide the blade along the wooden trim. Ensure the applied pressure is just enough to peel off the paint without gouging the surface.
- Use the rubbing alcohol to remove any remaining paint (after using the blade). The rubbing alcohol can also be used without the blade. In either case, a small amount of alcohol is poured on a microfiber towel which is then used to rub the trim wood. You will need to apply some pressure for the alcohol to work on the paint. The paint will start to smear, some of it on the towel and the remaining on the wood. Remove all the smeared paint using a clean towel, repeating this until all the paint is removed.
- After all the paint is removed, wipe down the wooden trim with clean water.
Sanding the exterior wooden trim
Use a sanding block to sand the wooden surface and smoothen it for better adhesion. Medium or fine grit sandpapers are used on the rough edges that may have been created by scraping.
Care should be taken if the paint is lead based, since this will require extra precautions when handling the toxic waste
Filling Holes and Cracks and joints along the wooden trim
A thorough inspection of the joints, the wood service is required before the painting work begins, the holes, cracks and chips filled with sparkling compound. A lightweight compound that does not shrink and dries faster should be used. Apply excess filler into each of these holes or cracks and use the flexible putty knife to smoothen. The sanding on this area should be minimal.
Apply the paintable caulk along the joint between the wall and the wooden trim. Remove the excess caulk using the stiff putty knife.
Prime all the bare wood on the trim before painting; it is advisable to
- Coat the wooden trim with paintable water repellant. This preserves and prevents the wood from shrinking or contracting due to moisture, and therefore ensures that the paint does not crack.
- Apply the exterior primer, the oil based is recommended due to its ability to penetrate the wood more than the latex based.
The choice of the right finish and tools
Even thought the exterior wooden trim covers a small area of your house, the paint job can give your house an attractive look. This calls for high quality paint, preferably with higher sheen finish so as to contrast well with the siding. The gloss and semi gloss are suitable paints.
Since the surfaces of the wooden trim are relatively narrow. The choice of the paintbrush is important and you should use the largest size that covers the entire surface. This will allow you to cover the surface in a smooth, continuous stroke and hence cut on lap marks.
Painting the wooden trim
- Start painting the painting from the top; this avoids smudging and imprinting on already painted area. A typical sequence would be gables, eaves, dormers, gutters, second story windows, porches, stairs and lastly foundations. Ensure that you have masked the areas around the exterior wooden trims being painted; if not, you can use the paint shield and then scrape off the spatters and drips when you are finished.
- When painting the porch railings start with the spindles and then the horizontal pieces, making sure the paint does not glob or drip in the crevices or joints.
- When painting the joints, ensure that all caulking has dried before applying the paint. Apply enough paint between the external wooden trim and the siding, this is required to form a tight seal and prevent entry of insects, moisture and wind.
The main tools and materials required are
Sandpaper (course, medium and fine grit)
Acrylic latex caulk
The preparation of the surfaces and careful selection of materials an tools is important when painting the exterior wooden trim. One should also make the right choice of colors to ensure that it blends in well with the other house exterior features as well as the garden, and neighborhood.