Properly Painting Trim: Step-by-Step

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Continuing on from our previous article, today we're going to go over step eight in the Ann Arbor home painting process "How To Paint Your House In 10 Steps", and that's painting the trim. Now, when I talk about the trim, I'm talking about the fascia boards, the gutter runs, the corner boards on the corners of a house, any doors or door jams, and of course any wooden windows if you have those.

Just a quick note that Sherwin-Williams has some great step by step lists as well.

The equipment that you're going to need, you're going to want a three and a half inch latex brush, and this is leftover from when I was painting the soffits. You're going to want of course, a four inch roller, and this is a three quarter inch nap, and mostly this is for rolling the corner boards, works really well, cuts a straight line down the edge. You're going to want a little roller ramp in there, this costs about a buck, it's plastic, and of course, cutting pot.

You're probably going to want the masker and the tape along with you for taping along ... you know, if you need to tape off some glass on the windows, I'm going to show you how to do that in a quick and easy way, or maybe taping under door jams. Of course, you're going to want your five-way, and your one inch putty knife, wherever it is, and a damp rag, because you're going to be in a lot of situations where you're going to need a damp rag wrapped around your finger to straighten out your paint lines, okay? I'm going to show you how to do that too.

All right, let's go paint some trim. The one thing I want to emphasize, before you start putting the ladder up against the side of your house to paint the trim, now, you got to put some ladder pads on the ends of it, okay? You don't want to be marking up that freshly painted siding, so get a couple clean rags or towels, wrap some tape around them, and then you'll be good to go.

Now, I already painted all the fascia when I was going around spraying the soffits, but if you still need to paint the fascia, you just got to get up on the extension ladder, make sure you got your ladder pads on, and just lean out over the edge, and paint it down.

If you have gutter runs that need to be painted, if you aren't able to spray them and you're doing the soffit, and at this point, you'll have to get up on a ladder and just brush them out. Now, for these corner boards, the first thing you're going to want to do is make sure they're cut in up against the soffit.

Come down maybe six inches. All right. Now, once you got it cut in up there, you take your four inch roller, and of course you're going to want to drag a drop cloth along with you while you're doing this, and you just roll them up. When you get to this edge over here, where you're cutting up against the siding, just let that roller run a hair over the edge, and then it will cut a perfectly straight line naturally. Just like that.

Of course, after you lay the paint on, always give it a nice smooth layoff back into your wet edge. When you're doing this part out here, and you're cutting it against the siding out here, and you want to keep this nice, straight line along your edge, just let your bristles hang a hair over the edge. If you do that, they'll end up ... they'll naturally cut a perfectly straight line. Bring it back up. Looks sharp.

Okay, now if you have any wooden windows, you're going to have to paint them, and the way I paint a window is similar to how I did that door frame. You start on the inside, and move toward the outside, okay? Do this whole leg, then the top leg, then this leg, and then the bottom leg, and I like to get it on really thick down on the window sill.

Now, if you have the kind of windows that need window putty, and that window putty is cracked and failing, see the video in my website about replacing cracked and failing window putty. Just like that, see how they just barely hand over the edge? Very nice. You know if you're painting a window, and you get a fat edge there right on the corner, or you accidentally get some paint around the corner? It's not a big deal. Take your damp rag, wrap it around your finger, and then by pressing your finger right on that 90 degree angle like that, you can clean it off, and usually create a pretty nice looking straight edge.

Okay, so now you know the basic procedures involved in painting the trim. It's not too difficult, in fact, I find it downright enjoyable. The best part is, you're getting near the end. There's only two videos left in this series, and you got to stain the deck, and then you got to do some touch up, putting stuff up, and cleaning up. Of course, those videos are found on my website,, along with a lot of other helpful information that I've put together to help you paint your house right.