how to paint exterior door trim

how to paint exterior door trim
Tools Needed
1 Tarp
2 Sandpaper
3 Paint can opener
4 Painter tape
5 Paint stir stick
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Materials Needed
1 Ladder
2 Paint tray or bucket
3 Putty knife
4 2-inch paintbrush
Total Cost
$25-$50
Find a handyman
Estimated Time
2-3 Hours
Skill Level: Beginner
The total cost and duration may vary when hiring a handyman!

Project Overview

exterior door trim

Door trims usually surround your exterior and interior doors and openings to entryways or hallways. When you prepare your exterior door trim for paint, ensure that you have gathered all of the supplies or tools and readied them before painting. Although painting a door trim will not consume a lot of time, it often requires plenty of tedious preparation that relies heavily on the condition of the door trim; it will help ensure your paint job looks great. Follow the steps outlined below to ensure your trim looks smooth, fresh and crisp and you get professional results.

Step-By-Step Instructions

1

Clean The Trim

painting of an exterior door trim

Arrange two scrub sponges and two buckets (you may use a Scotch-Brite scrub). Keep one for washing solution and the other for clear water rinsing. Avoid washing the trim with a cloth or rag, because it might dull a lustrous surface or shine a flat one. The objective is to get rid of the grime and prevent you from pushing it into the wooden surface during sanding.

You should clean only a single section at a given time; this will ensure the wood will not dry before rinsing off the cleaner. To rinse properly, dip your sponge in clean water then wring it, wiping the wooden surface clean in a single pass. When you start washing a new area, begin within the clean region to avoid the risk of streaking.

2

Prime The Trim

exterior door trim colors

Try a heavy-duty cleaner on stubborn stains, or you can cover them using a stain-blocking primer. In case marker or ink stains resist initial cleaning, try to remove them using a special cleaner like Goof Off. Or, they will bleed through your new paint. Sand all the woodwork till it becomes smooth; use a180-grit sandpaper to remove all the shine. Do not use coarser-grit papers as they may remove more than required. If the exterior layer of paint is gummy, smooth it with self-lubricating or clog-resistant sandpapers (like SandBlaster paper by 3M). It uses an anti-load coating that prevents the sandpaper from clogging.

To figure out if the new coat of paint will hold well, scribe an “A” gently in the paint layer using a sharp razor blade. Firmly cover the mark with a duct tape then yank it swiftly. If the paint sticks to the duct tape, it is unsound, and you must remove it immediately. Using a 2-inch carbide-blade scraper, eliminate all areas that have hardened grime, chipped paint, flaking and thick globs of paint. Buy a scraper that nicely fits in your hand and has replaceable carbide blades. Pulling your scraper toward the wood grain, use elbow grease and finesse to rake the paint but avoid gouging the wood. Keep scraping until you get crisp (not sharp), nice edges in the wood and the remaining paint will not budge.

3

Paint The Trim

person painting an exterior door trim

When you finish scraping and sanding step, use an old paintbrush to dust off all the areas then vacuum the woodwork using a brush attachment. Scrape tight and small areas with a 1-1/2 inch putty knife. With a pushing motion, go under the surface of the paint and work from areas of loose paint to areas where the paint tightly adheres, which will help bevel the remaining layers of paint and make a good transition between undamaged and damaged areas. It will also renew the details in the woodwork.

Position a light source, like a hand-held bulb, that shines across the wooden surface to check for loose paint, blemishes and rough edges on the wood surface to see what you need to fill. Using a pencil, lightly circle or mark the spots that require work. Fix depressions, cracks and other defects before painting. If you fill holes with several layers or a heavy coat of paint, initially they may look nice. However, the results will not last long. When the paint dries, the filled areas will usually reopen. It is ideal to fill all holes, chips, and cracks with a spackling compound. Use one that dries quickly and does not shrink.

Apply a little more filler than required to every hole using a putty knife, then smooth it by gently pressing down. Then use a wide putty knife to feather out and spread the filler, keeping sanding to a bare minimum. With a two-part filler fix all the damaged corners. Wood fillers such as Minwax or Bondo are ideal as they will not shrink, are tough and stick well. Open the canister of paint, using a paint-mixing stick, thoroughly stir the paint and mix it as per the directions on the canister. Pour the paint carefully in a paint bucket or tray. Run the brush firmly along the edges of the door trim that touch the wall.  Start from the top and slowly work downwards. Paint the side edges of your door trim first and then paint the front part of your trim.

Conclusion

Once you finish painting the exterior door trim, allow it to dry completely.  Then wipe down the trim using a damp cloth if you have used water-based paint and a tack cloth in case you have used oil-based paint.

How To Paint Exterior Door Trim

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Questions And Answers

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How do you paint new trim?

There are several steps to complete when painting new trim for the first time but most of all be sure to use a top-quality tinted primer and paint to ensure a long-lasting paint job. To begin, wipe the dust and dirt off the trim using a clean, damp cloth. Then carefully apply a bead of painter's caulk to the gap between the trim and the wall. Once this has set up, apply a strip of painter’s tape to each of the surfaces next to the trim that you don’t want to get paint on. Next, you’ll begin with a coat of primer to the unfinished wood trim. Start at the top of door and window trim and work down. Allow the primer to dry for the time recommended by the manufacturer. Lightly sand the primed trim so the trim is smooth. Remove sanding dust using a clean, damp cloth. Once the primer is completely dried, apply a coat of paint to the primed trim using a clean 2-inch angled paintbrush. Again, begin at the top of door and window trim and work down. Allow the paint to dry for 24 hours. Apply a second coat of paint if necessary. Remove the painter's tape from the floor and walls.

How do you paint jambs, casings and trim?

Start by painting the jamb (these are the two upright sides of the doorway), beginning at the top on the inside corner and working your way down one side and then paint the other side. Next, you’ll start on the casing and paint across the top of the entryway. Once these steps are finished, you’ll paint the door trim, both the edges and face, in similar manner starting at the top corner and working your way down the side of the trim. Use long smooth strokes to completely cover this space. Remember to re-load the brush whenever necessary so you have a continuous wet edge giving you a smooth look when dry.

What kind of paint to use on exterior door trim?

Because paint comes in so many varieties be sure to find a gloss or semi-gloss paint that is all acrylic that will withstand years of harsh weather. Flat paints are generally used for siding because it doesn’t show all of the imperfections but gives a dull look to your trim. Glossy paint creates a hard, shiny, durable finish that is easy to clean so it’s perfect for areas like the door trim where people will often grab it. Glossy paint brings out details, so it is usually preferred for trim and doors.

How do you prepare exterior trim for painting?

When it’s time to paint the exterior trim, begin by scrubbing off any dirt or marks with a scrub brush and a little soap and water. Be sure to completely rinse the trim and let it dry thoroughly. If there are any portions with gouges or other deformities, fill them with a little wood putty and let it dry completely. Once this has dried, apply a coat of tinted primer and then the coat of paint after the primer has dried.

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