Wood trim also known as mill-work or molding is a decorative structure used in woodwork. Its major uses include separating areas and concealing gaps. The trim also makes the building look good. This is because it is useful for decoration. To make it achieve all those attributes, one has to paint it. Since it covers a small portion of the entire structure, it requires some perfection.

So how then does one undertake to paint it? Is it possible to paint the trim without sanding? This article is going to provide you will all that you need to know about the painting. Please read on for more information.

How to Paint Woodwork Trim


How to prepare woodwork for painting?

There are a few steps to follow. If the wood is new, you may just need to sand it to be soft and apply the paint.

For the wood which has been in use before, the following procedure is applicable.

⇒Take off any paint which is in the wood.

It is not always a good idea to apply new paint on top of the old one. This is so especially if the old paint is worn out and dirty. Use a knife and scrape off the paint. When done with scraping, there are those small pieces that remain. Those remains are removed by sanding.

⇒Fill the gaps.

If the wood has some gaps or holes, you will need to fill them for it to have an even surface. You can fill the spaces with wood putty. To make the filling hold, caulk it. Caulking leaves the filling intact without falling off.

⇒Make the surface soft.

Paint holds better when the surface is even and soft. Rough surfaces may not hold the paint well. Therefore, sand the surface of the wood by the use of the sandpaper. Ensure that the wood has an even surface once you are done with sanding.

how to prepare woodwork for painting

⇒Clean the wood.

Sanding removes small and fine dust particles that settle on the surface of the wood. Paint cannot settle on this dust. In fact, will make the final work to look irregular. Use a clean cloth to wipe off all the wood dust from the surface of the wood.


The wood is now ready for painting. However, if there are those specific parts that you do not want to apply the paint, cover them. This can be better done by the use of tape.

How to clean woodwork before painting.

Three substances can be used to clean the wood before painting. They are:

⇒Use of detergent.

With this method, you follow the following steps:

  1. Choose the detergent to use. Any detergent is good for this purpose, but it is advisable to use the dishwashing detergent.
  2. A clean cloth. A dirty cloth cannot produce some clean work. Therefore take a clean cloth and dip it to the detergent. Submerge it fully.
  3. Rub the surface of the wood with the cloth. You can circularly do this over the surface of the wood. Rub it in a circular motion.
  4. Wipe the detergent. When you have removed the dirt, take a clean cloth and wipe off the detergent on the surface of the wood.
  5. Leave it to dry. Allow it sufficient time to dry off completely before applying any paint.

⇒By use of a cleaner.

  1. Choose a cleaner which is suitable for your wood.
  2. Dust the wood to remove any loose dirt.
  3. Take a clean cloth and apply the cleaner. Rub it over the surface of the wood.
  4. Wipe off the dirt.
  5. Leave the wood to dry.

⇒By use of vinegar solution.

  1. Prepare the solution in a basin.
  2. Take a clean cloth and dip it into the solution. Immerse fully.
  3. Clean the surface of the wood with the damp cloth from the solution.
  4. Scrub it over the surface in circular movements until all the dirt is lifted out.
  5. Wipe off the dirt using a clean cloth.
  6. Leave the wood to dry before painting.

how to clean woodwork before painting

How to paint woodwork trim?

When done with preparations, the actual work begins. Here are the steps.

  • If you are doing the work from indoors, ventilate the room. Paint can be dangerous to inhale. You should, therefore, take precautions.
  • Remove any uneven portions from the wood by use of the sandpaper. If the old paint is still intact, then you do not need to remove it. Be careful when sanding not to touch the old paint.
  • Clean the surface and fill the holes using putty. Leave the putty to dry and caulk it.
  • Tape off any surface which you do not need to paint. This can be to the wall or the ceiling which is next to the wood surface to be painted.
  • Prime the wood with the primer of your choice.
  • Apply the first coat of paint and leave it to dry. It can take up to four hours to dry, depending on the weather conditions.
  • Apply the second coat of paint. Let it dry too. Do not take off the tape anytime soon. Let it remain for up to two days.
  • You are done with the work. Do not touch the paint until it is dry.

Is it possible to paint the woodwork trim without sanding?

It is possible to do the painting without sanding. The main function of sanding is to ensure that the surface is smooth before painting. If therefore the wood is smooth enough, then you do not need to sand it. However, you have to check for any dents in the wood. If there are dents, then you have to fill it with putty. Do not forget to clean the woodwork before applying the paint. All the other procedures remain the same.

painting wood trim without sanding


Woodwork painting is a job that calls for professionalism. The painting should not just be done for the sake of doing. The procedures are quite specific.

Before painting, ensure that the surface is clean and smooth. If not, the final work will not look presentable. There are three methods which can be used to do the cleaning. All the methods are efficient and are substitutes. If you are not able to do the painting, you will need to call in an experienced person to help you. It is good to do an excellent job with your woodwork.