Household trimwork - the wife wants it white...

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Forum topic by AAANDRRREW posted 06-21-2016 05:28 PM 862 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View AAANDRRREW's profile


82 posts in 592 days

06-21-2016 05:28 PM

So, before I get picked on, I’d like to state for the record I am not a fan of painting wood trim or cabinets (oak in the case) in your home, but, like the title states, the wife wants it that way….

So, we moving to a new home soon and the place has a golden oak colored trim and cabinets. She has these grand plans and wishes to have white trim (I thought that fad happened in the 90’s and was out, but apparently its back). She says she has researched it and its as simple as painting it. Now, sure, I can paint it, but I have some thoughts on how it’d look if it go at it with a paint brush and a can of interior paint… Probabaly ok from afar, but not the best up close, nor would it be that resistant to dirt/dust/marks etc.

Anyone here have any advice on how to tackle this if I cannot diffuse her first? :)

I’m thinking sanding it, painting it, then maybe a coat of water based poly to help protect against damage and dirt?

27 replies so far

View ClayandNancy's profile


511 posts in 2435 days

#1 posted 06-21-2016 06:22 PM

I think it’ against nature to paint any wood. Might be a sin, better check the Bible.

View trialrun's profile


6 posts in 227 days

#2 posted 06-21-2016 07:04 PM

the misses pulled the same crap on me. I had to sand/scuff all the exisiting oak trim, just a glue like primer (i.e Kilz) and then two coats of trim paint. She did one bathroom w/o sanding / primer and the paint is starting to peel so prep is key

View DalyArcher's profile


68 posts in 539 days

#3 posted 06-21-2016 07:22 PM

In my house, if she wants it painted, she can paint it. I’ll build her anything she wants. I’ll paint it if its mdf, or pine or some such material, but hardwood! Nope, nope, nope. Will not have my hand in that.

View AAANDRRREW's profile


82 posts in 592 days

#4 posted 06-21-2016 07:26 PM

haha I feel the same way guys. Especially because I have a sneaking suspicion that this white trim fad will go. Just like people that had tiled countertops in the 90’s…don’t see those anymore either.

I even looked at what it would cost to get cheap trim and just replace it and save the old stuff for 5 years from now when she wants oak again – but even cheap trims really ain’t that cheap!

There is a god awful “oak” mantle/trim around the even more god awful turqoise tile around the fireplace – I’m cool doing something different with that, no complaints here!

View HokieKen's profile


1519 posts in 558 days

#5 posted 06-21-2016 07:45 PM

Slop some paint on really thin and tell her it’s the best you can do because oak tannens neutralize all known paint pigments. Then she’ll let you strip it back off. ;P

In all seriousness, I don’t know what finish it has now but, if it’s a poly/shellac or other film finish, I’d prime and paint with no stripping or sanding. Why? ‘Cause then it’ll be easy to strip it back off with some stripper and a scraper if/when she wants it back to oak. In other words, keep a barrier between the wood and the paint.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View ste6168's profile


250 posts in 591 days

#6 posted 06-21-2016 07:54 PM

I am the opposite end of the spectrum, while I love natural wood furniture, and hardwood flooring, and even some (well done) wooden countertops, I can’t stand (most) wood trim. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, but I think most the time it looks awful. Makes the room look old, outdated, dark, and usually sticks out like a sore thumb where it meets the, often completely different, wood (or more often than not vinyl) flooring. The white trim looks clean and simple – I will never have wood trim. Same goes for interior doors. I much prefer them painted white. A nice, wooden exterior/entryway door, different story.

As with everything in life, this is my opinion. Everyone has one.

View Richard's profile


1871 posts in 2110 days

#7 posted 06-21-2016 08:04 PM

In my house, if she wants it painted, she can paint it. I ll build her anything she wants. I ll paint it if its mdf, or pine or some such material, but hardwood! Nope, nope, nope. Will not have my hand in that.

- DalyArcher

+1 on that idea , except it might make her Mad and you really don’t want that either. Remember Happy Wife = Happy Life , but painting nice Oak is out for me.

View GregD's profile


777 posts in 2556 days

#8 posted 06-21-2016 08:36 PM

1. Prep is essential. Scuff sand and use an appropriate primer.

2. Skip the clear water borne poly. It will look yellow.

3. For paint I suggest either this Sherwin Williams product or this General Finishes product. I have used both. The SW product is a bit brighter white. GF has a really nice undercoat for getting a super-smooth finish if you don’t want the grain to show through, and if you go that route the GF topcoat can look like a factory-applied finish.

4. For best results use an HVLP sprayer, after practicing.

-- Greg D.

View AandCstyle's profile


2538 posts in 1676 days

#9 posted 06-21-2016 10:41 PM

2. Skip the clear water borne poly. It will look yellow.

Greg, one of the advantages of WB products is that they are non-yellowing, e.g Target's EM9000. I imagine other manufacturers’ products are similar.

-- Art

View clin's profile


485 posts in 415 days

#10 posted 06-21-2016 11:45 PM

All those golden oak cabinets and trim dates homes where I live.

If you use a good quality paint, like a high end Sherwin Williams (think $60+/gal full price, always a sale around the corner) it will look very good brushed on. The better paints flow and level nicely. As said, a good primer is key and you have to experiment with what sticks well to the existing finish. Sometimes wiping with cider vinegar helps to sort of etch the surface.

I happen to really like white trim and had dark wood stain trim at my last house that we ended up painting or replacing with white. It’s amazing how much brighter a room looks just switching from a darker to lighter trim.

Of course every space varies, and nice wood trim can really compliment a room. But in the end it is all subjective.

But be sure to negotiate a settlement with the wife. “Your white trim will really complement my new table saw.”

-- Clin

View bbc557ci's profile


589 posts in 1493 days

#11 posted 06-22-2016 12:04 AM

No paint on hardwood…. bad bad bad….

But then, if mamma ain’t happy….

On the cabinets, I would think they’d need to be totally de-greased / cleaned before any sanding to degloss or other prep work begins.

-- Bill, central where near the "big apple"

View MikesProjects's profile


159 posts in 1321 days

#12 posted 06-22-2016 12:43 AM

Paint it, It will look new & fabulous, who cares if its oak, get over it, ha. Paint can be sanded off 10 years later if desired. Just be sure to use good paint like Sherwin-Williams or Dunn-Edwards! I personally like the look of big trim moulding like like tall base board, crown & huge casing finished in a crisp white…. White on white is a good color choice with accent wall colors.

-- -Mike, Southern California, YouTube User ( Give & Take )

View crank49's profile


3979 posts in 2390 days

#13 posted 06-22-2016 12:53 AM

My new shaker style cabinets are made of “soft” maple and finished with lacquer. An off white called “Swiss Moca”. Love the look.

But, if you’re in love with that golden oak, why not just replace it with the cheap plastic skinned foam stuff. Put the oak in storage.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

View GregD's profile


777 posts in 2556 days

#14 posted 06-22-2016 03:02 AM

2. Skip the clear water borne poly. It will look yellow.

Greg, one of the advantages of WB products is that they are non-yellowing, e.g Target s EM9000. I imagine other manufacturers products are similar.

- AandCstyle

Tech support at General Finishes suggested that I try their Enduro Clear Poly over their Enduro White Pigmented Poly. I tried it. It looked horrible. YMMV. It might work very well over other colors, but anything that is not absolutely crystal clear will change a bright white into something else.

-- Greg D.

View BulldogLouisiana's profile


183 posts in 560 days

#15 posted 06-22-2016 10:55 AM

White trim fad out. Golden oak trim in? I thought this would be a revived thread from 1986. That trim would really date the house where I live, but It stinks to have to paint it if you don’t want to. It could be worse, my girlfriend buys reclaimed wood furniture.

-- There are 10 types of people in the world. Those who understand binary and those who don't.

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