Can I mix white and oak trim?

tristar76March 14, 2011

We moved into a house that is totally trimmed in oak. To me it looks outdated, but I realize it would be a herculean effort to replace all the trim and door casings. That being said, I have white interior doors and of course white windows. Would it look strange to slowly replace trim (window first, followed by floor and doors) with white? This would in effect mean we'd have a mixture in the house. It wouldn't matter to me, but there is a chance with my job that we'd have to sell in the middle. Thoughts?

Of course there is the debate of paint vs. replace with white. If I'm going to have to sand, prime, and paint the oak, I'd almost rather buy new pre-primed white, paint it, and put it on. Almost seems easier, plus it'd be totally new wood (the oak is about 8 years old).

Whichever way I go, I just know I can't do it all at once...wondering what a hybrid would look like. I could even complete some rooms before others, which would mean some rooms would be trimmed in white and some in oak.

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The trim that's there now is probably a better grade wood than the paint-quality wood that is used for trim that will be painted. Sanding, priming, painting that trim is likely to be less work, less disruptive and less damaging to your house than replacing it. If you are planning to replace it with more substantial trim, then that's another story.

But to answer your question, I've seen houses with a mix of wood and painted trim. It would look better if it were all the same, but this happens. If in the middle of it all you have to put the house up for sale, you go on overdrive with the painting and get it done.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 9:18AM
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First of all, are you going to do the work yourself or hire it out? Measuring, cutting, mitering corners, etc takes some skill and time.

Sometimes it is difficult to remove old trim without dinging/denting the drywall, which calls for another repair. It just depends on how the trim was nailed up. I have found that to be the case when prying trim loose.

Painting old trim can take a lot of time, but you can break it down in small jobs. Base trim is the most difficult next to the floor. Just work on a room at a time.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 10:28AM
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Eight years is not old for wood trim, it should last forever. I would also paint the existing trim. What kind of finish is the wood? If it is satin, Id be tempted to try a deglosser rather than sanding. I know that isn't the " right" way but have seen it work before.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 10:34AM
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I just wrote a long thing and lost it all. Ack.

I would paint the existing trim and live with the mix of for a while.

If it were me, I'd use Zinsser's 123 primer. One of the things is says right on the front of the can,"Sticks to all surfaces without sanding" I've used this for a bunch of different projects now and have never had any problems. Very happy with it. Online it does recommend light sanding if you're getting ready to paint something with an existing glossy finish.
So I'd clean it (don't use a solvent cleaner), only sand if I really felt like it (I have on occasion but it doesn't seem to make a difference), prime and paint.

If you're ever wanting to paint anything that's pine, I highly recommend Zinsser's BIN shellac based primer as it seals knot holes.

Here is a link that might be useful: Zinsser

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 11:14AM
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I've done this in my house. I've been painting dark wood trim one room at a time. While I would like it all done at once, something is better than nothing. And each room that gets done makes me happier and happier. Right now all rooms on the main level are painted (with the exception of DH's office and not sure that will ever get done because painting that room will be almost impossible with all that stuff he has in there). Upstairs is still wood with the exception of DS's room that was professionally painted before he was born.

I think it looks fine that some is not done yet. If you need to sell the house you can always just finish the main floor and leave other floor(s) wood.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 2:35PM
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