How to Paint Trim With High Gloss Paint


Trim adds an enormous amount of architectural detail to the interior of a house. On some new and inexpensive homes, a buyer might be surprised by an absence of trim. They may see baseboards only in bathrooms and kitchens, small and plain trim around the doors and no trim at the windows beyond windowsills. At first glance, the rooms may look clean and modern, but trim doesn't make a home less modern. In a sense, the eye is tricked into thinking less is more when, in this case, less is less. Trim is actually a valuable asset to a house and all of the trim in the house should be well maintained. One way to emphasize your trim is by painting the trim with a high-gloss paint. The only thing to remember is that a higher gloss will reveal more defects, so your trim needs to be in excellent condition to look good at a high gloss.

Things You'll Need

  • Soap and water
  • Soft brush
  • Towel
  • 2 inch painter's low-tack tape
  • Sandpaper
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Primer
  • 2-inch angled paint brush
  • High-gloss paint
  • Clean your trim. If you have existing trim that is being re-painted, it is important to remove all dust and dirt. High-gloss paint will show most defects. Wash your trim with soap and water and dry the trim immediately. Use a soft, small brush if your trim has lots of contours.

  • Tape off your trim from surrounding walls, cabinets, floors or other house features. Use a low-tack painter's tape and press the tape down securely along the edge of the trim to prevent paint from oozing under the edge of the tape.

  • Sand pre-painted trim to remove the glossy finish. High-gloss paint needs a slightly abraded surface for best adhesion. Vacuum the trim to remove any sawdust.

  • Prime unfinished trim and any trim that has been repaired. If your trim is new, it is necessary to prime the wood. If your wood has knots, you should use a primer that seals the knots, otherwise you may have discoloration through your finished paint. Trim that has been painted before and is being repainted often does not need priming.

  • Paint the trim using an angled 2- or 3-inch paint brush. Mix the paint well so that the paint is smooth. Dip 1 inch of the paint brush into the paint and wipe excess off each side. Pull the paintbrush along the trim, leading with the shorter side of the brush. The brush should create a bead of paint immediately to the outside of the brush hairs. This bead is fed from the paint inside the brush and is called the leading edge of the paint. Pull the brush toward the tape and maintain the bead for a smooth, finished edge. When the brush becomes empty, refill by dipping the brush and wiping off the sides.

  • Allow the paint 12 hours to dry. If the paint coverage is not exactly what you desire, you may need to lightly sand the finish with a very fine sandpaper, wipe with a tack cloth and apply a second coat.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep the area being painted quiet and dust free. It is often a good idea to clean the room before painting and restrict access during painting to keep dust reduced as much as possible.

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