Painting your mouldings in a period property really adds the finishing touch, and helps to properly showcase the period features you are so fond of. But if you choose to do this yourself, there is a special knack to doing it right. While painting your architrave, door frames, skirting boards and rails may not provide as dramatic an effect as painting walls or ceilings, doing it right really frames a room, smartens up your interior and can be very satisfying. And believe me, if you do it wrong you will notice and curse it every day. So painting the trim around walls, ceilings, doors and windows has to be done right, and here is how you do it.
- The golden rule
Make sure you paint the walls first and then the mouldings. It is an age-old quandary to worry about which way round to do it and which way is easier in terms of masking off areas, but undoubtedly, walls are more likely to drip when being painted than trims and mouldings, so paint the walls first.
- Which paint to use
This really depends on what kind of finish you want, and in some cases might be dictated by whether the moulding is bare wood or previously painted wood. Gloss is nice and shiny and looks great, but is a little out of fashion at the moment. Satin is less shiny and more hard-wearing, so would be particularly suitable for skirting boards. Eggshell is perhaps the closest to a matt finish and is very practical and easy to clean. They all look great on wood, so the choice is yours.
- Get your equipment together
Painting is as much about the prep and the gathering of assorted equipment as it is about the painting itself. So you will need dust sheets, new and good-quality paint brushes, masking tape, a damp cloth or sponge, some wood primer, your chosen paint, some wood filler and some sandpaper, either 80, 100 or 120 grit.
Parts of this might be a bit tedious but it is all very necessary and you will thank yourself later. So get your dust sheets down, covering all carpets, flooring and furniture where possible. Mask off the areas you need to protect to make your brush strokes much easier. Then you need to sand down the woodwork. If the wood has been painted you need to assess the quality of the finish. Is it peeling? You might need to use some paint stripper to get a good surface finish to paint on, but be careful not to damage the surface. If the surface is reasonably smooth already, use a high grit sandpaper, if it is quite rough use a low grit. Sanding down the surface will allow the paint to be absorbed better, but when you finish sanding there will be a lot of loose grains on the surface, so use a damp cloth to wipe the surface down, otherwise you’ll be painting these on and they will be visible forever. Now you need to use wood filler to smooth out any cracks, dents or screw holes.
It is important to use a layer of primer in order to create a good quality finish. This may also remove the need to paint an undercoat of your chosen colour. Make sure you wait for the primer coat to dry.
- Top coat
Now you can add your top coat colour and start to see the benefit of all your hard work. Paint along the grain where possible and practical, and if you have done all your prep correctly you might only need one coat.
- Quality tips
- Don’t overload your brush: this will result in endless painting and a poor-looking finish
- Try not to overlap your strokes: much as above, this results in the paint drying differently in some areas and will result in an uneven finish
- Avoid brushing across edges: this will cause paint to build up and drip, if you paint towards the edges you can avoid this build-up
- Use a brush that is the same width as the moulding: or as close as you can, and this might not always be possible, but it avoids the overlapping problems mentioned above and provides a more uniform and neat finish
- Be careful if using a roller: it is possible to use a high-density foam roller, and definitely much quicker if you do it this way, but you will still need to use a brush for touching-up the odd spot.