Painting Exterior Trim Like a Pro

Meta: Painting exterior trim doesn’t have to be difficult, though it can be made much easier by following a few basic guidelines and pointers from the pros.

Painting Exterior Trim Like a Pro

To underestimate the importance of (properly) painting exterior trim is to make a big mistake. Though technically one of the smaller aspects of a wider exterior paint job, touching up trim is something that should be taken seriously.

This is for two reasons – the first of which being how shoddy trim can really do a number on your home’s exterior aesthetic. If you’re going to take the time to give your exteriors a fresh coat of paint, it simply makes sense to do the same for your


Secondly, high-quality paint provides an important layer of protection for your exterior surfaces. Just as is the case with your walls in general, you need to keep the paint on your trim in good condition to subsequently keep your trim in good condition.

Still, it’s understandable that painting these hard-to-reach spots and awkward corners is routinely avoided by most DIYers. Despite the fact that once you get started, it’s not actually a particularly difficult job.

With this in mind, here’s a brief rundown of just a few tips and guidelines from the pros, on how to paint your exterior trim properly:

1.    Avoid low-grade paint

First and foremost, don’t even think about tackling the job with substandard paint. Doing so will not only make the job more difficult than it needs to be, but will also result in the whole thing needing to be done again a few months down the line. Paint your exterior trim with quality paint, or don’t bother painting it at all!

2.    Work from the Top Down

This is a useful tip to follow with all aspects of exterior painting, given the way in which gravity doesn’t always work in your favor. Start out with all the bits and pieces towards the top of your home – gutters, gables, eaves etc. – before working your way down towards stairs, porches and so on.

3.    Prepare the Trim

Under no circumstances should you attempt to simply paint over the existing coat of paint, without first prepping it appropriately. This means giving it a thorough clean to get rid of as much residual dirt and debris as possible, before taking to the surface with some relatively fine sandpaper. You’ll want to create a very slightly rough surface for the subsequent coat of paint to adhere to.

4.    Inspect for Damage

While going about this initial prep, you may as well also note for any damage that could do with being repaired. Cracks, splits, rot, decay and so on – anything that could compromise both the appearance and the structural integrity of your trim. Take to any minor issues you come across with some appropriate filler and give it plenty of time to dry.

5. Choose the Right Paint

Along with exclusively using the highest quality paint you can lay your hands on, it’s also important to choose an appropriate type of paint for outdoor trim. In the vast majority of instances, this means opting for water-based acrylic latex, which along with creating a durable finish also dries relatively quickly.

6.   Prime the Surfaces

If you are painting bare or exposed wood at any point in the process, you will need to apply a thin and even layer of primer before. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter and give the primer plenty of time to dry, before going ahead and painting the surface.

7.   Remove Shutters and Screens

In fact, it’s worth taking the time to remove any exterior features that can be taken down and replaced with relative ease. It’s so much easier to paint things like screens and shutters after you remove them, as opposed to doing so while they are still attached to your home.

8. Prioritize Your Health and Safety

Last but not least, keeping tabs on your health and safety means prioritizing three things. Those being, the quality and safety of the ladder you use, ensuring you have the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and having at least one other person on standby to lend a hand.

Of course, the alternatives to all of the above is to have the pros take care of everything on your behalf. Particularly if you don’t already have all the high-end equipment and top-shelf paint needed to get the job done, you may find hiring a contractor quicker, easier, safer and cheaper than going about it yourself.

Contact a member of the team at Homm CPS anytime for an obligation-free consultation, or to arrange a quotation on your exterior home painting project this fall.