Should I paint my trim & doors?

barbcollinsFebruary 4, 2011

I am going to start some painting projects on our house. We don't have any plans to sell soon, but I think we might in a couple years (We need to downsize).

Our house was built in 1979, and has hardwood floors, and all of the mouldings & doors are stained dark to match the floor. While I don't mind that myself, I know it kind of looks dated.

Do you think it would be a good idea to paint them all white? Of leave it as is, and see what the trends are when it's time to sell.

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ottawavalleygardener

Personally, I'd paint them. Especially if you're already doing other paint jobs, now's a good time. I assume the wood isn't anything special, since the house was built in 1979.

While I can't imagine that dark trim will be trendy again, I suppose it is a possibility!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 6:51AM
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LuAnn_in_PA

Depends on what is popular in YOUR area, and what people expect.

PLUS, what do YOU like? Might as well have what you want for the next several years....

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 8:35AM
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Fori is not pleased

I'd leave it until you're ready to sell (or would rather have it white). It'll need to be touched up again then. Stained wood is great because it wears so well. White paint on the other hand shows every offense.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 12:07PM
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barbcollins

Yes that's why I liked them with kids. Didn't have to be worried about little grubby hands leaving fingerprints.

All the kids are grown and have left the nest, so that's less of a worry now.

I am leaning towards painting them now because if something comes up and we decide to sell, I would rather be "touching up" then starting from scratch.

Looking thru pics of other houses in the area, I very rarely see stained moulding.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 9:13PM
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jenes

I would go ahead with the painting. To me, white painted trim is a classic look that's unlikely to be completely out of style any time soon. Be aware, however, that there are people who consider painting wood to be a mistake. If the wood could be stripped and restained in something not so dark, that might please more people -- or rather displease fewer people -- but I have no idea if that's practical.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 9:24AM
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barbcollins

The is not a quality wood. It is builder grade trim that was stained instead of painted. It does not even have a finish on it.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 12:54PM
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jane__ny

Paint!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 4:06PM
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organic_rosefaerie

You could always replace the trim and then paint the new trim before you hang it.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 6:33PM
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cat_ky

If I looked at your house and you had painted the woodwork, it would be a deal breaker for me. There is nothing nicer than stained woodwork, and in any case, it is nice for the buyer to make that choice on their own.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 4:06PM
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Happyladi

If you think you would prefer painted trim then go ahead and paint. I suggest you put some paint in a small glass jar to have on hand for touch ups.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 5:13PM
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nini804

I love painted trim! I think stained trim looks dark.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 5:45PM
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Fori is not pleased

If you want 'em white, paint 'em! While I have found even wood from the 70s can be spectacular, you say yours isn't, so there won't be any crime against woodwork (like the painted oak and mahogany in my 50s ranch house).

If you go with a color that is one of the standards stocked by your local store, future touch ups will be easy even if you lose the can.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 6:55PM
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barbcollins

organic_rosefaerie - No, I don't want to replace it all. Would be costly and a lot of work. The trim that there is good condition, just dark.

cat_ky - How would you know if you had not seen the trim was stained before? A dealbreaker? You won't buy a house with painted baseboards & trim?

happyladi - Yes, I always save extra paint. In every house we have sold, I have left the extra paint and marked the cans by the room.

I've decided it's time to paint them. I'll be doing one room and a time, and I've got some drywall work to do first.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 8:31AM
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cat_ky

Barb, we sold our house a yr and half ago, to buy a house with less land, due to my husbands health. There were not many houses for sale, in our area at the time, especially a house with enough room for us and all our belongings. We also only had 10 days after our closing, to locate a house, and pay for it and get moved, without many choices. We found a house, that meets all our requirements and did get moved. Someone has painted the trim in the bedrooms, and baths and utility rooms. We managed to buy, before they got to the dining room, kitchen and den, so, I do have some painted trim and also some stained trim. I have also had painted trim, in a couple of other houses throughout the years. One house, we replaced every single bit of it, at great expense. I am already so tired of taking care of this painted trim, and touching it up constantly, that I would love to rip it all out, and haul it away, except, that with my husbands health, that is not easy to do anymore. Yes, if I were to buy today, painted trim, would definitely be a deal breaker.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 9:51AM
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badgergrrl

Given the fact that your house was built in 1978, and it's builder grade trim, paint it.

Now, if it were a 1930 bungalow with original shellac on oak and you wanted to paint it.........there'd probably be a big ol' line of people wanting to hurt you :P

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 12:49PM
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jane__ny

You want the room to appeal to the buyers. Its a 'whole picture' not single entities. Painting the trim will bring the trim into the 'picture.' Dark trim stands out and screams old, dingy, and spoils the feel of the room. You want the room to look fresh and feel fresh.

Hard to explain, but when you look at staged rooms - before/after shots, you understand better. Buyers won't focus on your trim, they will react to the 'feel' of the room. Don't break the room down in pieces. You don't want people to see 'pieces.'

Its a whole experience you are going for. Painting the trim will do that.

Jane

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 9:07PM
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kateg1214_yahoo_com

Can I throw a wrench in the mix?? I have a house that was built in the 1940's where I plan on paiting the trim white. The previous owners didn't tape when painting and, for example, in my daughter's room, the top edge of the trim is pink, the dining room is green, etc... I plan on doing the trim all white. Having the original trim looks great, but I also need to replace a few pieces of the moulding, and matching the stain would be very difficult. My question is do I HAVE to paint the doors and door jams white, or can those stay the original stained color? Should I do the baseboards white and then see how it looks and decide from there? Anythoughts and ideas would be great.

Barb- Obviously, I'm with you... paint it now while you can take your time, and touch up as needed when you look to sell later.

-Kate

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 6:45PM
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North_Andover

It's a little hard to say without seeing a photo of the woodwork you are describing. There are times when you really shouldn't paint but you seem to be describing contractor grade moldings and if that is the case painting is fine. I will say it is great to start thinking about selling even when it is years away. Start doing small projects early to keep your home relevant and updated. If you wait until you are ready to sell the projects will mount up and be overwhelming.

Here is a link that might be useful: Andover MA real estate

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 10:27AM
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sheilajoyce_gw

The white trim will make your rooms look brighter and airy. That is good for a house that you plan to sell. I have had white trim through raising kids, and I would not have it any other way. I still love it.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 11:44PM
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jane__ny

You can do either, I don't think it makes a big difference in look. Ideally, painting the door and trim the same color is best, but you can leave the door wood, paint the trim. You can leave both the trim and door alone and paint the baseboards.

I think white baseboards look nice and freshen up the room.

I had the same situation you describe and left the doors wood, painted the trim. I wasn't crazy about the look but the house sold. I had too many doors to try and paint them all so left most wood color.

Here's a shot of the ugly, oak trim on the outside of the bedroom door. We painted the trim around the bedroom windows and the baseboards, but left the door oak. My whole house was ugly, oak trim and to paint it all became an enormous job. We left the doors but did paint the trim.

In this shot, you can see the baseboard heat which (believe it or not) was stained the same color as the trim. We painted over it, white.

Jane

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 1:20AM
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lynxe

Trust your instincts. If you think it's looks dated, then it looks dated. Plus, in the absence of really fine/interesting trim, 99+++ percent of potential buyers will want it painted. Start now and you can do the job gradually and still have time to freshen it up or do touch ups as the time to sell approaches.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 10:54AM
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logic

Builder grade trim that is stianed shows as just that...stained builder grade trim. Most people who love wood stained trim love it because it is a high quality wood.

That said, IMO, regardless of decor one can't go wrong with white trim, especially as it does not call attnention to the fact that it is only builder grade.

Bear in mind that homes that look clean, fresh, bright and up to date are the homes that sell first, provided that they are priced in accordance wit what the market will bear.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 11:25AM
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barbcollins

Ok, now I have really !Stupid! question.

There is quarter-round at the base of the molding. Would you also paint this or leave it stained?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 9:13PM
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Jamie

Treat the quarter round like floor.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 10:55PM
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lynxe

Treat the quarter round like trim, which it is, and paint it.

Didn't you say you have little painting experience? If so or if you think your hand is unsteady and you fear getting paint on your floors, the easiest way to paint it is to remove it first. Gently pull it off by using a hammer -- slip the grooved thingies under the nails and gently pry up. Try not to break the molding. The longest pieces may in fact crack, but quarter round is both cheap and easy to put on, so you shouldn't be out much if you have to replace some pieces. When painting new quarter round or pieces I've removed, I've usually set the pieces off the floor, for example, lined up on paint cans or other nonstick/nonabsorbent objects, and then went at it.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 10:41AM
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logic

Or, just use Frog Tape. Works like a charm.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 4:20PM
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barbcollins

lynxe - No I did not say I had little painting experience. I actually have a lot and have gotten good at cutting in.

I don't think I will pull all the quarter round off. Most of the sites I have looked at online say the quarter round should match the floor, so I will paint around it. If I don't like it I can paint the quarter round later.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 8:50PM
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barbcollins

lynxe - No I did not say I had little painting experience. I actually have a lot and have gotten good at cutting in.

I don't think I will pull all the quarter round off. Most of the sites I have looked at online say the quarter round should match the floor, so I will paint around it. If I don't like it I can paint the quarter round later.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 9:02PM
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ottawavalleygardener

...about the the quarter rounds - mine all match the baseboards (painted white) not the floor (hardwood). I've never seen quarter rounds the colour of the floor.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 12:55PM
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kas4

When we bought our newly-built house in 2005 all of the models from our builder had the quarter round stained to match the floor with the baseboards painted white. We thought that looked terrible so we put a clause in our purchase contract to paint the quarter round white. It looks much better, imho.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 3:33PM
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randita

We had a lot of dark stained wood in the house - doors and trim. The wood was decent quality, but not great. We even had half wall paneling in a couple of rooms - talk about dated.

I always thought it made the rooms look chopped up and dark, but DH liked it. When we started prepping house for sale, realtor said to paint it white, even the half wall paneling.

Took a while to do, but it looks SO much better - clean, crisp and bright. We used SW Extra White, but you could also use a creamy white like SW Alabaster, Classic Light Buff or Dover White.

We did leave two rooms with the stained woodwork (which also included stained crown molding) - the formal dining room and formal living room. Realtor said it was okay to have just the two rooms with the stained. We'll see. We have a little time to go before we'll be putting it on the market.

In colonial style homes, I learned that often there was stained woodwork in the first floor living areas and white on the second floor.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 10:52PM
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