Trim cost

lily5January 20, 2011

Please explain the difference in cost for high quality stain vs painted trim. My builder has different painters that stain the trim than paint it and says cost will be much higher with white trim--i would think that stained would be more expensive. We want white but he wants us to use stained because it is within our budget. Does this sound right? Just want to make sure.


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In my area stained trim is much higher. It was my understanding a lesser quality wood or MDF can be used for painted trim. For stained trim round here, Oak is the most common, but Cherry, Alder, and Maple are also used. We are going with "rustic" Cherry stained a medium dark brown, but I originally wanted knotty alder. It's a little higher so I settled for Cherry.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 7:33PM
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Our builder said painted was quite a bit more. Initially we were going to do a combination of painted and stained, but ended up going with stained oak in most areas. Saved quite a bit of money. There are several posts on this subject, and many differing opinions/responses. I think it's important to compare apples to apples. Ask lots of questions before making your decision.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 7:55PM
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What part of the country are you in??? I want to move there b/c I love stained woodwork and here in central Texas we paid a HUGE premium to get it.

I assume you're talking about interior trim like window and door moldings, baseboards, chair-rails, and crown molding.

Around here stain-grade pine mouldings run about 50% more than paint-grade (finger-jointed) pine. Staingrade oak and poplar are quite a bit more expensive than pine. And, once you get into cherry, maple, and other "exotic" hardwood mouldings, you REALLY blow the budget.

On the other hand, for paint grade, everyone around here uses MDF which costs about the same as paint grade pine but is easier to paint and is harder than pine so it doesn't get dinged up as easily.

I'm wondering if maybe your builder has a stash of left-over stain-grade moldings from some other job that he wants to use up. If so, he is not going to want to give you any choice of profiles for your moldings. And, you ought to have at least some choice!

Ask your builder what kind of stain-grade wood he is talking about using and what kind of paint grade material. And, ask him what molding profiles he was planning to use and in what widths. Then go to your local hardware store and ask for the linear price (price per foot) of those profiles both materials. The price quotes you get will be higher than your builder will have to pay because he'll get a builder discount - but you can still tell which will be more expensive.

Additionally, painted mouldings don't have to be cut and installed nearly as carefully. You can fill gaps and nailholes with putty and paint over them. With stained mouldings, if your builder cuts a piece 1/16th of an inch too short, or at an angle that is 2 degrees off, IT SHOWS and the only way to fix it is to cut a new piece that is right.

Here is a link that might be useful: one online moulding supplier where you can learn more...

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 8:16PM
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Paint cheaper here. It is just hard to imagine otherwise unless the comparable is really bad stained trim.

I just did my basement. Painting trim for 1500 sq ft was $200 labor ($40 or so in paint), the actual trim was $1000. The paint grade trim was far cheaper than stain grade. Enough to pay for the paint by a lot and you still would have to stain the wood.

I think a stair rail I was looking at was $40 for paint grade and $120 for stain grade. That would have to be some incredibly expensive paint.

Maybe painters in some part of the country get paid a premium? Or is the comparable some sort of pre-stained cheap wood? Another data point is that it was the same cost to stain vs paint our porch roofs. It was paint grade pine but looks fine stained on roof.

So at least around here paint cost = stain cost. And paint grade trim is much cheaper than stain grade.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 8:20PM
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I have a 2 story house AND i AM LOOKING FOR A PAINTER TO PAINT THE FASCIA , AND SOFFITS , but they have been giving me astronomical prices, is there a standard per lineal foot cost for that sort of jib

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 6:42PM
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