To paint or not to pain original stained woodwork?

orbitybabyMay 26, 2013

I recently bought a 1930's colonial and there are two rooms on the first floor that still have what appears to be the original (restained) oak trim woodwork, while all of the upstairs second floor rooms and the two additional rooms on the downstairs first floor have all been painted white by the previous owners.
I plan to stain all of the floors with ZAR brand stain in mocha color with a satin poly finish (which is on the dark side) and wondering if I should keep the stained wood trim downstairs, or also paint it.

The walls in these two rooms will be painted from the current green and beige to a medium gray paint color (probably Benjamin Moore Stonington or Coventry Gray) in these downstairs rooms. Seems like restaining to a compatible color to the new floors may be a lot of work, but If we opt to restain rather than paint, what color should we go with? Also, does anyone know what stain color appears to currently be on this woodwork?

Thoughts and/or suggestions?

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More pictures.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 11:31AM
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Another picture.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 11:33AM
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Sophie Wheeler

No, don't paint that wood! And leave the floors alone too. It's beautiful as is. Restore the other woodwork by stripping all of the paint off of it. It was a sin to paint it in the first place.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 9:35PM
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The trim may not be stained, just varnished. I would not paint the trim, or stain the floors either.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 9:48PM
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From what I can see the trim looks in good condition - what are you hoping to accomplish by painting it?. Get wall colors that work with the color of your wood, instead of vice versa. (there are an infinite variety of greys so you should be able to find something that will bring out its beauty while still being something that you like). Colors are all about how they relate to other colors.

Once you start on the slippery slope of painting woodwork it goes downhill pretty fast. The first coat looks pretty for a while but eventually it starts peeling,chipping, getting stained & discolored, getting re-coated with more layers of paint that starts looking like a lumpy mess. Paint layered on window sashes eventually starts messing up the functioning of the windows. If it's you who ends up having to remove multiple layers of paint (which eventually needs to be done even if you are just repainting it) you will regret the day you ever went down that path!

I would stain the trim before I'd stain the floor just because its a more manageable job and dark floors are a PITA to keep clean. What kind of wood are we talking about, oak? There are products that would really beautify and enrich the color of oak without being a heavy pigment stain that obscures the grain - look into shellac, waterlox finish, or even a dye stain for first coat under the finish coat. When you put a dark pigment stain on it obscures the grain but also goes deep into the grain which can only be removed by deep sanding (bear in mind there are only so many sandings a floor can take before it has to be replaced.)

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 10:15AM
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