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Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

Posted by naptimerocks (My Page) on
Thu, Dec 3, 09 at 14:27

I really need help in this decision! We purchased our current house almost a year ago and the entire house has oak trim, oak doors and all oak cabinetry. The stain is supposed to be almost a cherry finish, but it has alot of orange tones to it.

I hate oak...honestly. I have wanted to paint it BM Linen White since we bought the house but I agreed to live with it for a little while to see if I would start to like it. A year later, I still firmly do not like oak. One of my reasons for feeling okay with painting the trim is that previous owners were not very careful when they painted rooms and the trim has alot of paint splatters, scuff marks and some doors have scratch marks from their dog.

I feel like it looks dated throughout the house, but when I mentioned my intentions to my neighbor she almost passed out at the thought I would paint "gorgeous" oak. We don't want to stay in this house forever, so is it a mistake?

I should also mention that the entire house is painted with white walls right now, so before I make decisions about wall color, I want to know if I am painting the trim. Oak is so limiting in color choices.

It is a gloomy day or I would take some pics and post now.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

Since you hate the oak you should paint it. It's your house, not your neighbors. I think that you will find many people who like the crisp clean look of white painted woodwork.


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

You're going to get VERY strong opinions in both directions on this one, just like the very strong opinions voiced about whether to paint brick. My own opinion: paint it! It's your house; you've given the oak a decent trial and still hate it; it's not stained a color you like and it's not in good condition; and finally, crisp white trim with strong colored walls are popular right now, and that can only help resale. A potential buyer coming in will only see the lovely painted woodwork and won't have the mental impression of the oak to compare it to.

All that being said, my daughter just bought a condo in a Victorian house that has all natural gumwood moldings, and if she ever paints it I'll be very sad. But all of us LIKE her woodwork. I visited a friend who is renting a very similar apartment where the wood has been painted, and she was very happy for it, felt it made the place much brighter.


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

I'd paint it if I were you, especially since you don't like it. I love oak furniture though, but not as a trim or on cabinets, because you're right, it IS limiting on how to add other colors because in large quantities it does gives off an orange color.

If you can afford to paint it all white/cream then you have the world in your hands to paint the wall with colors you like, and not have to settle.

I'm so happy with our new white kitchen, beadboard, bookcases and trim. We did leave the front door mahogany though. What's nice about white/cream, is you can always change colors in a room when you want new furniture! lol


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

If you don't like it, I say paint. Lots of people where I live LOOOOVVVE oak and when I painted my oak spindles white I was told I "ruined them" by quite a few people. Oh well, as they don't have to live there. When you sell they'll be someone that likes white trim!


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rere

I don't know if you're one that is leary to paint wood in general but I am so I wanted to add.... Even though you don't like it I'd be here questioning too. My laundry room floor cabinet was oak. New and nothing wrong with it but we were installing white cabinets on the wall and it needed painted. For some reason I was very hesitant to make that first stroke! I did and am very glad. :)

And you're right you'll have more paint color options.


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

My brother's house is just like that--oak with wall paper. It has that country charm that was popular about 15-years ago--now it just looks worn and dated and would be a big turn off to me as a potential buyer. His windows also have black framing--what are yours? That would be my only hesitation with painting the window trim--is how it would look next to the windows. I aso do not care for that 70's style oak and would paint it in a heartbeat--now that dark craftman style moulding (is it pine?) I agree it would be a shame to paint over it.


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

I am leaning towards painting. The house was built in 1993 and oak trim, doors, cabinets, etc. is VERY popular in this area. We relocated here and I have always had white trim, so this was a shock.

Before we even bought the house, my husband and I agreed we would paint, but then got cold feet. It just seemed everyone has oak - I mean we looked at nearly 50 houses and only 2 had painted woodwork. So, for that reason, I decided to wait and see if it grew on me. No luck.

I have considered leaving the door stained....bad idea with painted trim?


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

Naptime, I can soooooo relate to your exact situation. Do you live in the upper midwest, by chance? We relocated here about 2 years ago - everything is stained trim. I've always had painted white and I cannot get used to it. For us, it isn't oak, but maple. A light, orangey stained maple. I want to paint it to, but the task just seems so daunting. I plan on starting after the holidays though. New year, new plan. I just can't stand it anymore! LOL

I think you could leave the doors stained with trim if you like. We have pine doors, also stained to match the trim. I'm trying to decide on whether or not to paint them too. I have 6 panel doors, which will be difficult to do with a brush. I might leave them for now and hire it out later. The one thing I *do* like is that all my doors are solid wood. In my previous painted trim and door homes, the doors were all hollow core.


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

I like the look of white trim and a wood door - at least you could start with painting only the trim and see how you like it with the stained doors.

My only concern with painting oak would be whether or not the wood grain would still show through. I don't know if I'd like seeing the oak woodgrain through my white trim. Other than that, I think if you truly hate your trim you should paint it.

My house is poplar trim, so no wood grain, but it's a medium toned stain and I'm so tired of it. I would love to paint the trim, but I just get overwhelmed when I think about even starting! My other concern is I love the look of wider white baseboards and trim, and my stained trim is on 3" on the baseboards and doors. I don't know if I'd like it painted with the trim being so narrow, so I just keep thinking about it.

What I'd love to do is replace all the trim with wider baseboards - but my DH gets a stricken look on his face when I suggest it! He thinks I'm nuts - and probably I am!

Goodluck with your decision making process! Post some photos - that always helps people make a decision.


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

Okay - Here are some pics! Please ignore the big oak light fixture in the kitchen, it is coming down next week. I have white sheers hanging on the windows for now in the family room until I make some decisions and have treatments made. From far away, it looks fine, but I included just SOME of the issues I have....

****hopefully my link will work. This is my first time posting.

Here is a link that might be useful: Oak Trim


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

Hi,

Paint it...

If this isn't an old Victorian with substantial (and very pretty!) oak woodwork? PAINT. If this is your typical builder trimwork with a bad stain, go for it...PAINT.

Funny how people mention the "trend" of white woodwork. I had never seen anything else until I moved from New England 30 yrs ago. Painted white/cream woodwork is the norm here unless you have the incredible tudor, victorian "etc" older home where the incredibly detailed and hefty woodwork is FAR beyond the normal 2 l/2" sprayed-on-stain stuff.


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

Yes. Paint it. Paint it all.

And enjoy YOUR home!

Do post Before and After photos please! :)

Jan at Rosemary Cottage


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

Will you be painting the windows too?


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

Yes, I will be painting the windows too.


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

Apparently I'm in the minority here.. but I guess it depends on what kind of look you're going for. I prefer warm Earth tones in a home, so I really like natural wood, and absolutely cannot stand white trim. I think it looks cheap. Oak is not my favorite type of wood, but what you have is not really what I was expecting. I was expecting more yellowy or orange, and yours isn't really. I actually really like it.


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

I'm also casting my vote for painting the trim and doors; it will look fresh, imo..


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

Another vote for painting!!
Do you plan on painting your kitchen cabs, too? Or leaving them?


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

Have to agree, your oak trim and its coloring looks very nice, and very nice with your earthy furnishings.

I've been noticing a lot of dark trim recently. Not oak, maybe more of a black. But a move to darker trimwork; on windows at least. I really like it. Have always loved painted woodwork, too.

Has anyone else in the neighborhood painted theirs out? Maybe you could take a look at what they've done before taking the plunge.


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

Take the plunge if it's what you really want!! I only wish I had the courage. We live in the midwest where oak is popular & I would love a second vacation house without painted woodwork. My husband would kill me if I painted the woodwork in this house white. We built it in the 90's and it's what everyone used. This is probably our forever house so I'll just live with it. Besides it's more practical in our rural area to have oak vs. white which would show more dust & dirt. I'm trying to figure out how to downplay the oak but it's a challenge.

Let us know what you decide. Your oak does look nice so from a practical standpoint it's worth keeping but from a design or aesthetic view it's for you to decide. Show us before and after pics if you paint.


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

Jan will paint anything that will stand still (or even slow down) long enough for her to aim a paintbrush at it. :-)

You've already made up your mind that you hate it, and clearly set that opinion in concrete, so I'm not entirely certain why you're even asking this question...? Speaking as a "wood person", I think it's looking particularly unattractive because of the unrepaired damage (which would get on anyone's nerves) but it's also being done no favors at all by the blah off-white walls (too much contrast, get the color values closer together), dull beige carpet, and overall lack of color in the rooms pictured. I don't know where the idea comes from that wood trim is so "limiting" color-wise... I have never had a problem with it, but perhaps it's because I don't have the underlying resentment against wood that so many people do. There are people on this forum who would be perfectly thrilled not to have a single square inch of woodgrain showing in their entire house - painted trim and cabinets, painted or opaque-stained furniture, floors anything but wood, you name it! Normally I'd suggest taking the back of a door in a little-used room, or the back of a cabinet door for kitchen cabinets, and trying out some gel stains (preferably something good like General Finishes or Bartley rather than Minwax) to change the color tones in the trim, minimize the orange-red and bring it closer to a neutral brown.

Someone did make the point earlier about the grain showing through the paint, and that is a distinct problem you're going to have to take into consideration. The pocked surface is extremely unattractive to many people, and may be a resale consideration - that's something that does have to be in the back of your mind because you say this is not the "forever house" for you. To get a smooth finish, you'll need to take the extra prep steps of using a product called "grain filler" (not wood filler) or "brushing putty" before priming and painting. You'll also want to go over every inch of that trim with an eagle eye and a can of wood filler because white paint will show up every preexisting nick and ding and dent, especially in a semi-gloss or gloss finish - we had almost all the stained-pine trim in our previous house painted white for selling (since white is "in") and should have been a lot more meticulous about that. :-/

If you're considering hiring out the work, given the amount of prep necessary it might be more cost-effective to simply remove the existing trim (if you do it carefully enough, it could be donated to somewhere like Habitat for Humanity for a nice little tax deduction to help offset the cost of the project) and replacing it with preprimed material. Run your numbers, you might be surprised.

However, I'd take this opportunity if you possibly can to remove the skinny little baseboards and replace them with something quite a bit taller, with more "oomph". I like a minimum of 5" tall for a typical 8'-ceiling room but you'd be surprised at how good a bigger baseboard can look. The aforementioned house was a 1994 tract Cape with 7.5' ceilings and we put almost-7" baseboards in the master suite-lette (we moved before we got the chance to change out the trim in the rest of the house) - it looked smashing if I may say so myself. The house I have now may be Victorian-ERA but it's plain as oatmeal, factory-workers' tract housing circa 1900, and the baseboards range from 10" (living room, ceilings just shy of 9') to around 8" (upstairs, slanted ceilings from 8' down to 4').


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

I do not think I would paint the kitchen cabinets, but we will be replacing the oak-wrapped, fromica countertops with granite or quartz. I am going to have the worn areas on the cabinets touched up so they look nicer, and the large center light is being removed and replaced with can lights.

Johnmari - I know my house looks very blah right now. The house was neutralized by a relocation company to the beige carpet and white walls. This was actually a good thing. The last homeowners had the kitchen painted orange, the family room was lemon yellow, not to mention the aqua carpet. So I feel it is more like a blank slate now, I just have not done anything because I have not known what to do about the trim.

We have 2 rooms in the front of the house that already had the trim painted (gray of all colors). It seems most of our neighbors still have the oak trim, but there are several that have painted the trim and all built-in cabinets to white. I would leave all cabinetry stained.


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

I was imagining it a lot worse (orange). I think it looks fine, so dark it really is neutral, I don't think it's limiting your wall/carpet colors at all. It would be a lot of time/expense to properly prep and paint it, it looks like most is in good condition. I think a good cleaning with mineral spirits and steel wool would do wonders - sand and touchup some spots, the doors look like they have to be stripped, sanded and refinished from the claw marks but window trim and crown looks to be in good shape.


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

I don't think your trim looks bad. In fact, especially around the windows, it looks pretty nice. Fabulous fireplace by the way and I also like your furniture! But I think you would be happier with painted trim, maybe not white, but a more creamy shade, depending on your paint color for the walls. You will want to prime it well first and use a good quality trim paint.

I've never been fond of wood trim, and I've had it around me since I was little. Our old house south of town, (built around the 1920's probably) had a wide oak ledge and lots of wood trim, the heavy kind. To me, our home just looked old and worn out. I like antiques and I like the bones of old houses, but you have to be able to discern the difference between a valuable architectural feature and just "don't paint wood..............EVER". I vote for paint.

Red


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

I think some questions that need answered are: how long do you plan to stay here, where do you live, how many houses have painted woodwork, etc.

I live in the Midwest and we have stained woodwork. When you see painted around here you can guarantee that it is in a tract development and is probably not even wood. No solid doors as have been mentioned. I know many people who would be turned off by the look and maintenance of painted woodwork.

So, if you are planning on living here indefinitely or are someplace that painted woodwork is the norm go ahead and paint it.


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

I think it looks pretty in most of those photos, but I also really love the look of painted. So maybe pick the room you hate the most and do that one first to test the waters.


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

A previous poster mentioned maintenance...keep in mind that you WILL have to repaint, or have it repainted, periodically. My dream house would have fabulous stained wood trim, but then I'm just finishing up my second round of repainting our white trim throughout the house! I have found stained trim to be lower maintenance because it doesn't show dust/dirt (maybe you are a better housekeeper than I am, but I have better things to do than dust baseboards!) or vacuum bumps as badly.


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

I also say keep the wood. Johnmari touches on this, but if you paint the rooms a "real" color, you will be surprised at how the wood is downplayed. The light walls definitely accentuate the trim. All the other concerns voiced about painting and grain are right on target. I do, however, like your plan to lose the kitchen ceiling fixture!

Why not paint one room in a color and see what you think? I think it's much easier to change wall color than it is to change wood. And I have stripped miles of wood trim and doors to get them back to the original stain:)

To me, the #1 reason for painting wood is to cover up the fact that it's cheap pine. Since you have nice quality wood, I'd say let it show!


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

After seeing the pictures, I've changed my mind! lol. The wood is gorgeous and I don't find it to look orange at all.

But if you don't like it, then change it. And I love the wood in the kitchen, granite will really make it beautiful!


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

I wasnt expecting to like the wood trim but when I saw your pictures, I changed my mind...I like it.


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

If you don't like it you should paint it but please live w/ it first. For awhile if you can mentally manage it.

I am not a fan of oak either and all of my downstairs is heavy oak trim. For me it's only saving grace is the fact that it's stained very dark and the trim is very substantial. I wanted to paint it white so bad but DH was firm. He told me he'd give me the DR to paint the trim but nothing else (the upstairs was already painted white thank heavens). I've lived w/ it for 10 yrs. and there's no way that I could ever impagine painting it white downstairs now. Even the DR which I left alone and am happy that I did.


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2RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

I also recommended painting from your description of it but when you posted the pix? It's better looking and more substantial than the way it sounded. I really didn't see any orange tones. Obviously some doors need some re-doing but?

There was a thread not too long ago where someone's DH wouldn't let her paint and she posted pix of the whole house re-painted with the existing wood trim. I must admit it looked GOOD. And I'm not a fan of the "normal" wood stained casing. It looked fresh and updated with the colors chosen. Sooo, maybe try a room or two with color and see if you have different thoughts then? I don't think a whole house has to have matching woodwork if there are areas where you can "break" easily.


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

I agree that in the pics I posted the trim does not look bad BUT.....it was a very cloudy day and the darker light actually makes it look warmer than on a sunny day. Also, I only posted a few pics of the type of damage I have, but there is substantial damage throughout the house.

I think I have decided to paint the trim BM Linen White in the 2 front rooms (formal LV and DR) where the trim was already painted gray. The worst of all the damage is in our master bath which we have already completed a partial remodel. I think it is a good idea to test the painted trim in a confined space, so the bathroom would be my first choice given it is confined and the damage is by far the worst.

Even with all the imperfections, I just hate the thought of painting over wood - even if I do not like it as personal taste and would prefer a soft white. I have also already painted all the bedroom walls from the icky white color you see in my pics. In the freshly painted rooms I still am not fond of the trim, but it is mostly hidden by furniture and window treatments.

For those of you who think I should keep the trim as is, do you have any suggestions for a nice neutral paint color that would complement the wood? My house does not get alot of natural light during the day, so I don't want anything too deep in tone.


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

I think from your photos your trim doesn't look like it's in horrible condition but I know how pictures can be deceiving. If your woodwork really bothers you and it sounds as though it does..paint it. I think if you keep the wood you would be "settling" because you're afraid of the work involved but if you take the plunge and just do it ultimately you will be happier. Personally, I think most paint colors look nicer with white trim, whether it's crisp white or creamy white.


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

naptimerocks - you are describing my house in your original post!
I am getting ready to undertake a kitchen remodel - demo starts first wk of January. At the same time we are removing the first floor baseboard trim, installing new hardwood throughout, and then installing new, taller white trim. We are going to be painting all our orange-y oak trim throughout the house white. YAY! It's going to be a lot of work but I think it'll be worth it in the end. The oak we have right now is more orange than yours appears in the pictures. And some pieces are quite beat up with paint slopped all over them. I think the move to white will be good. My plan is to prime the crap out of the trim and paint white. Right now, I'm trying to figure out a white I should consider for trim work. Good luck with your updating!


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

paint it, paint it! Nothing makes a place look cleaner and softer than paint. I too have a house filled with orangy/reddish stain and we are slowly getting rid of it, piece by piece. We tore out all the carpeting and found wonderful red oak floors and are getting rid of all the oak trim LOL. Funny how they did just the opposite 'back then'. Just be prepared to have it be a pain to do. There is a product called Paso that you just rub onto the wood and it deglosses it and cleans it at the same time and you wait a while to prime then you paint. You will not need to sand it if you use this deglosser. I had a 17 foot long wall with dark bookcases and 2 windows with a window seat and I did this myself to avoid a 1600. charge by a cabinet painter and they look great! Good luck. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

I think it depends on the mood of the room. The photos of your den/living area are very warm and inviting.

I have a contemporary house which had oak trim and I hated it. We painted the trim and doors in most of the rooms, but we left the family room, office and son's room oak. Those rooms have warmer tones, darker furniture, cherry bookcases, leather, etc. We painted the master and all the bathrooms, living/dining room and foyer. Those rooms are bright and airy with large windows and comtempory feel.

You don't need to change the whole house.

Jane


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

I don't think it looks bad at all, but I am not a fan of stained woodwork, in general. I have a friend who painted her trim all a very deep ochre, which sounds weird, but it's great, in her 1910 bungalow.


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

naptimerocks (love that name and 100% agree)-
Our houses and feelings about them are so similar. Our entire house that we bought last year has oak trim, floors, windows, doorwalls, some doors and even the same oak trim on the kitchen countertops like you have. I am not a fan of oak at all, but my husband is adamant that he doesn't want to paint it and I am hesitant to paint over wood as well. Ours is in good condition, so that doesn't help matters. It also is very detailed/grooved so it would be a nightmare to paint. We have painted some bedrooms upstairs and I can say the right paint does help. My trim even looks more orange than yours appears in the pics, but I understand lighting affects that.

I suggest picking a room and painting the walls (and maybe even doing window treatments while you're at it) to see if that changes your mind about the trim. That may make a difference.


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

I agree with the other posters about it being your house and make it what you want it to be. It doesnt appear to be a vintage 1800's home so I dont think you would be ruining the homes history and painting 100 year old wood that would forever be changed. We did something similar four years ago when we purchased our house. It was a 1980s home, hollow pine doors, stained clam molding, just old, ugly and cheap. We took all the doors, trim, moldings and anything that was stained out. Replaced it with white colonial molding, six panel doors and new new windows. (Your windows already have white grills so you are ahead of the game). My only suggestion would be to have it done professionally the first time. Im sure you want it to look like its been that way forever, not like you did it yourself. There is always more there than you realize. Your base molding, window sills and casings, trim, doors, etc. You have to decide how far you want to go. IMHO, not doing it all will make it look like it was changed and some things might not fit. Good luck with it, im sure you'll love it when its done. I'll try attaching my before and after picture.

Here is a link that might be useful: Before and After


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

Linda-your link didn't work for me. I'd love to see your before and after pics!


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?!

Max, i've been trying since I posted to get it to work. If I email it to myself, it works, when I try to post it on GW, its deleted. I'll keep working on it. :(


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

Ok, I'll cheat ! LOL

Photobucket


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?! :)

"http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s251/Linda117/Old House Pictures/Livingroomafter.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket">


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

Photobucket


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

Update...well, sort of....

I had a couple people come and look at the damaged trim. I mentioned before it is all over the house, not just in the few pics I posted. I about had a heart attack! To repair all the damage to the wood in the entire house would be nearly $2000! I could never do this project myself with 3 toddlers running around! :-P

So, I have decided to start with the dining room and living room first since the trim in those rooms was already painted light gray. I am hoping once those rooms are done, I will either feel better about painting the trim in the rest of the house or have a better idea as to what paint colors will work with the trim and do my best to "hide" the damage with window treatments and furniture.

So this week, we are finishing the trim and painting at least the dining room.


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

linda-that looks beautiful. The trim all the way to the left of your pic looks like what we have everywhere, only oak. :(

naptime-GL! I hope doing your dining room gives you some direction for the rest of your house!


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

Sounds like a good plan, naptime! It will freshen up the dining room and give you time to regroup and think about how to proceed.

I have painted all our trim BM Linen White and love it. Like you, I started one room at a time, and in the end I ended up hiring a painter for the family room. I love fresh white trim/windows/doors!

Go for it...baby steps. Sounds like you've got your hands full.


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

Should I paint my oak trim?

The ~100 year old house I am renovating is full of natural woodwork. The living room & fireplace room have a nice closed-grain wood (cherry, maple or birch, not sure) and the rest of the house has oak trim. The dining room is oak, but in a darker tone. Photo link is below.

The lower & upstairs hallways are oak, but have a real super orange shellac look to them. Here's the worst part though - a misinformed contractor took a sander to some of the trim in the 2nd floor hallway!! So now some of the trim is now both orange and damaged.

What a dare ask is: what if we painted the lower & upper hallway trim, doors, stair risers and banisters white, and refinished the natural wood railings and newels (leave them natural).

I would never touch the living room, fireplace room, or dining room woodwork - but the hallway just seems ready for a possible makeover, and stripping/refinishing the woodwork would take forever or thousands $$...and, in the end it's still oak.

I look at the big arched window, and imagine it in a nice glossy white, and imagine something really classy looking.

Any votes? Of course there's two issues here: 1) painting ~100 year old natural woodwork, and 2) having different kinds of trim in different parts of the house.

Here is a link that might be useful: Woodwork Photos


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RE: Should I Paint My Oak Trim?

motoq - why don't you start a new thread here and call out for Casey, and/or post on Woodworking?

The pics of that sanded staircase almost made me cry - while I agreed with white balusters and risers b4 I saw the pictures, now I want to see if someone can help you restore the balusters, newels and railing.

I love the craftman style casings and that leaded-glass built in is to die for!


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