How to Paint Trim and Window Frames White

7 Easy Tips for Painting Baseboards and Window Frames White:

Installing new baseboards, painting them, and painting all of the door and window frames in the entire main floor of our ranch house was a daunting task.  We took it one room at a time week at a time, and did not move onto the next room until we had completed and tidied up.  Then we could appreciate way the paint transformed the room and that inspired us to keep going.  We definitely did not think too much about how we will probably want to keep going in the basement when the main floor is complete 🙂

Tips for painting trim and baseboards

Painting tape1. Use good quality painters tape

In previous projects, I had used 1″ painters tape and I am a big fan of using tape to get a clean line.

This painting project was the first time I had used the 1.88″ 3M blue tape and I won’t go back!

(** Affiliate link: you can find the tape I used here: 3M Scotch Blue Painter’s Tape for Multi-Surfaces, 2 Inch x 60 Yard – 6 Pack)

Getting paint tape to adhere to windows2. Seal the edge firmly

I run my finger along the inside seam to ensure it is firmly in place.  I understand there are tools that can be used for this (for example a wallpaper seam roller).  Without this step you might find the paint can seep in behind the tape which would require a touch-up of the wall paint.

3. Cut inside corners and tear outside corners

Paint Tape Inside Corner201506 Paint Tape 1

The outside corners don’t need to be neat so I tear them, but it is important on the inside corner of windows to cut with scissors or a knife to get the best finish.

Removing Painting Tape4. Use a hobby knife to break the seam between trim and tape

Now that we have used tape, pushed it firmly in place and painted, now we need to remove the tape. To get the straightest line, and to simplify tape removal, I like to run a hobby knife along the edge of the trim. These blades are, of course, extremely sharp – handle carefully and keep out of reach of children.


Use tweezers to remove tape after painting5. Use tweezers to remove any leftover tape

Even with the scalpel technique mentioned above, I still find spots where the tape has not come off in nice clean strips, leaving blue bits behind. I find tweezers to be a good tool for picking up these last bits, without ruining our nails.

201506 Paint for trim6. Use good quality oil based paint

In my first house, I had not discovered the benefits of good quality oil based trim paint, but I am a convert. I know the water based paints have come a long way in terms of quality, and they are definitely easier to clean-up with a faster drying time. I still prefer the oil based products for baseboards.  Oil based products seem to go on smoother, provide better coverage and dry to a super hard and glossy finish.  The oil based paints are a bit trickier to apply, but when you have a whole house to do, like we did, you will soon get the hang of it. I have been using Benjamin Moore Cloud White in a semi-gloss finish for years and it has never let me down.

7. Use paint (yes paint) or flexible wood filler to fill cracks

Use Paint to Fill Small GapsThere are 2 types of cracks: those that can be filled with just paint, and those that need a filler product. For thin cracks, using good quality oil based paint (see tip #6) enables you to fill in thin cracks just through the regular painting process, maybe being a little more heavy-handed with the paint where a small crack exists. For thicker cracks, use flexible wood filler (or caulk), and wipe excess with a cloth, allow to dry, then apply paint.


See the before and after pictures of the family room and breakfast nook.

Painting Trim - Use lots of good quality tap

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