Painting Trim, Windows and DoorsFebruary 23, 2019
General Brushwork Procedures
For painting trim work, including most doors and windows, I use a professional-quality 2 ½ inch angled sash brush. The quality of the paintbrush really determines the quality of the paint job.
When painting any trim or windows, I tend to first make a clean, straight cut-in along the edges where the trim meets flatwork with a loaded brush. Then it’s a matter of filling in the other areas of the trim with the brush. I always finish with one long stroke of the brush along the piece of trim I just painted. This will remove any brush or lap marks made when filling in.
Nylon Sash Brush
When loading the paint on your brush, try to keep the paint only about a 1 inch from the tip of the brush – you don’t want to overload it. Gently tap the brush on the inside “sides” of the can and don’t use the can’s lip to remove paint. This allows the paint to get into the bristles and prevents drips.
Paint in sections and keep the last painted area wet to prevent lap marks. Always try to paint back into the previous area/section before moving on to the next one.
Paint Trim Guard
When painting trim or baseboards, I tend to make use of a paint trim guide that can be found in most hardware and paint stores. They come in different lengths. Simply place the guard between the bottom of the baseboard and the floor surface (could be carpet). After finishing with the section, always wipe the guard off with a clean rag to prevent getting paint on the floor or carpet in the next section.
Use of Masking Tape (Painter’s Tape)
“Cutting in”, simply means painting the edges of your surface up to the next adjacent flatwork or surface (i.e. trim meets wall, wall meets ceiling, etc.). When cutting into sections where the same paint won’t be continuing into the next, the use of painter’s tape is most people’s preference.
There are a few types and brands of painter’s tape on the market now-a-days. Some are intended to be used outside and have a UV protection to them. Some have less adhesion that will allow you to apply to walls, or wallpaper and can be removed easily without harming the surface.
Personally, I don’t like using painter’s tape when painting trim, except in certain situations where I might be creating stripes on walls for effects or along the top of the baseboards or chair rails to get a nice crisp edge. I put trust in a deep breath, a steady hand and of course a high quality brush.
Why? In my experience, I’ve found that some types of tape absorb some of the paint when painting trim and if not applied to the surface properly, allows the paint to seep under it and you not only end up with a crooked line, but when you try to remove the tape, you’re likely to pull off some of your new paint along with it.
If using tape, always keep a small putty knife with you. I’ve found that after applying the tape, running the putty knife along the taped edge will help make a tighter seal. Also, when you come to a corner, butt the putty knife up to the tape against the next wall/corner and rip off the tape. This creates a nice straight edge at the end of the tape line.
Basically, I follow the rule of thumb when painting trim is to work horizontally first, then vertically, and to proceed from the inside toward the outside.
In the case of windows, I follow the pattern as shown in the diagrams above. Work on the vertical grills first, then move outwards and paint the sashes. Lastly, paint the outer window frame.
Don’t apply too much paint to the window frame; also open and close the window a number of times during the drying period so that it doesn’t dry shut.
To avoid getting paint on the window panes, you can mask the glass with painter’s tape or just use a razor blade scraper once the paint has dried.
When painting any type of door, I always start with the edges as done when painting trim.
If the door is a different color on each side, follow this rule to determine the color of each edge: The edge that’s visible from a room should be the same color as that room.
Doors with flat surfaces (Flush Doors)
Painting Flush Doors
Flush doors are best painted with a large foam roller. Foam rollers will leave a smoother finish than a regular nylon roller.
First, remove the door handle and any locks and start with rolling the top half of the door. Dip the roller in the tray for more paint and continue to roll the bottom half of the door. Finish by rolling the full length of the door with light pressure strokes (don’t re-dip for more paint).
If needed, apply a second coat in the same manner once the first coat is dry.
Painting Paneled Doors
Start by painting at the top of the door, panels first, then rails (horizontals), and then stiles (verticals). Here, less paint is better to prevent drips; two coats lightly applied are better than one heavy coat.
Be sure to keep the paint’s leading edge wet to prevent brush marks. A final light stroke across the panel faces and along the intersections of rails and styles will remove sags and brush marks.