Home>Discussions>PAINTING & FINISHING>Wood Trim - To Paint Or Not To Paint
7 posts / 0 new
Last post
Wood Trim - To Paint Or Not To Paint

I know this can be a lead in to heated arguments so no fighting! :cool:
My husband and I are starting the process of fixing up our house to sell. This will probably be a process that takes a year or two as there are many small things that need to be done. One of these things is painting on the interior. The house has original clear fir trim throughout most of the house, but not in the kitchen, upstairs bath and one bedroom (these were either added or remodeled in the 50's). Of that original trim all is painted except the dining and living room. The living room still has the original finish though it has seen better days and has a mantel and built-in bookcases that are the same finish. The dining room, including a built-in buffet have been refinished in a different stain at some point.
I am seeking opinions at this point....no matter what I do I cannot make the entire house truly match (well I guess I could but my budget does not allow for clear fir trim in those areas that don't have it!)
What would you prefer to see if you were touring the house as a prospective buyer?

Re: Wood Trim - To Paint Or Not To Paint

Everybody has their own opinions and tastes,but....
I am in the middle of negotiations right now on a foreclosed 100 year old house. One of the main reasons my wife and I jumped on this house is that nobody has gone in and butchered or painted the original hardwood floors,trim,pocket doors,and built in's. Woodwork is 98% intact throughout the house with the exception of the bathrooms.
I like my old houses to be as original as possible, with the exception of the kitchen and bathrooms. I think it's a shame to paint over original woodwork. JMO:cool: To me it looks like just another generic home when this happens. I don't think I've ever heard anybody make the comment "What beautiful painted wood you have!".
I just noticed your user name. If you have a 1924 Craftsman style house I imagine your built in's are very similar to mine. If you paint,the "Old house police" should come out and give you guys a beating,and you should be banned to owning new construction the rest of your lives,again,JMO.

MLB Construction
Re: Wood Trim - To Paint Or Not To Paint

based on the date it was installed, i say paint it. if your house was an older style, say 1930's or earlier, i would say to leave it. it's really a matter of how nice it looks and how well it goes with the house. tough call without seeing it.

Re: Wood Trim - To Paint Or Not To Paint

My guess is that the trim is older than 1930's,except for the rooms that were remodeled in the 50's.
I wouldn't necessarily mean to strip what is already painted,but there is no way I'd paint any of the original finished wood. I'd leave it as is,or refinish it.

A. Spruce
Re: Wood Trim - To Paint Or Not To Paint

My opinion is that you need to do whatever looks best with the theme of the house. If you are going for that old house look and feel, then leave the wood trim and refinish it. If you are going for a fresh remodeled look and updated feel, then paint is the way to go.

Re: Wood Trim - To Paint Or Not To Paint

Think of you house as two areas, private areas and public areas. The living room, dining room and kitchen are your public areas, bedrooms and bathrooms are private areas. For the most bang for the buck, invest in the public areas. If they have the nice fir trim, then preserve it. If say one area of trim is painted in a public area, then it could be worth buying some new clear fir trim to replace it.

The private areas could all be painted and it would not detract from the house so much. The problem would be painted and clear within the same line of sight. The kitchen could be considered a semi-private area if need be. remember the trim on both sides of a doorway do not have to match. For example, the trim on the dining room side of the door to the kitchen could be the fir where the kitchen side could be painted.

Re: Wood Trim - To Paint Or Not To Paint

Looking at things from that perspective seems to be a really good option, thanks! The living and dining room run across the front of the house so they are what you see when you first walk in and all of the original wood is there, unpainted. The kitchen we could install unpainted but I think in this case painted will actually work best as it flows into a hall and bedroom that are painted.
In the remodeled areas we are going to try to find trim that at least is the same dimension as the rest of the house instead of the modern skinny stuff.
Thanks for all the opinions! They are appreciated :)

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.