Painting Trim & Crown Molding

When painting a room, typically, you are going to focus on the wall color. However, it is a good idea to think about how the color on the walls will go with the trim and the crown molding of the room. Typically, people tend to stick with basic neutral colors for the trim and the molding as they will then complement the colors of the walls—the real consideration when painting trim and molding is the type of finish to use.

Painting Trim & Crown Molding

When painting molding and trim, there is paint that is specifically designed for these home features. Paint for trim is often glossier and will have a thicker consistency. The reason for this is because the thicker consistency will allow for a smoother application. It is important to note that while there are paints specifically labeled for trim and crown molding, you do not have to necessarily use these.

If you choose to use regular paint instead of paint designed for a trim, you will have to consider the finish that you are looking for. There are several factors that you should think about when choosing the type of finish for your trim, such as where it is going to be used and the overall look you are trying to create for the room.

Best Finishes for Trim

When you choose the finish for your trim, the first thing to consider is the type of surface that you are painting. You also want to think about how the finish will stand up to normal wear and tear.

High Gloss

High gloss is an enamel finish that has a shiny look. The shininess of high gloss paint can make trim and crown molding look very high end. However, the downside is that if there are flaws on the surface of the trim, they are going to be highlighted. If you choose to use this finish on your trim and crown molding, you are going to want to make sure that you sand the surface down first. The trim and molding must be very smooth before you paint. If you fail to create a flat surface and you use high gloss paint on it, you are going to see all of the brush marks and any type of small flaw on the trim. The reason for this is because of how the light will reflect off of this type of paint.


For most trim and crown molding, semi-gloss is the ideal choice. Semi-gloss paint offers an element of shine that is similar to a high gloss, but the more dull finish will hide imperfections better. Also, semi-gloss paint is very durable, and it is easy to clean. This makes it an excellent choice for high traffic areas such as living rooms and kitchens. If you want the more sophisticated look of high gloss, without the worry of all of the small imperfections of the trim showing up, semi-gloss is the right choice.


If your trim is more substantial and ornate and not simple, you may want to choose a satin finish. This is a matte finish that will help to make the ornate trim seem less imposing. It also creates a more modern look. Satin finishes are also straightforward to clean. Use this type of finish if you have a minimalist or rustic space.

Preparing Trim and Crown Molding for Painting

To get the best finish on your trim and crown molding, it is important to begin with, a smooth surface. These surfaces tend to show off imperfections, which can impact the entire look of your room. If there are nail holes, dents, or cracks in the trim or molding, you will want to repair them using a wood filler product. Once you have filled in all of the cracks or holes, you will want to sand the areas to make sure that the surface is smooth.  

Painting trim and molding can be tricky because the uneven surfaces will show. These rough areas of trim and molding can be a bit hard to cover up. If you are planning to paint your trim or molding, it is a good idea to sand down the area first. This will help to smooth things out. When you are sanding the molding and trim, make sure that you work in a small space so that you do not miss any spots. After you sand a small area, wipe it with a wet cloth, and then wait for it to dry.

If you use wood filler on spots, you will want to use a primer in those areas as well as any other areas where there is wood showing through. If the trim you are painting has previously been stained, then you will want to use an oil-based primer first to help keep the stain from bleeding back through the paint. Once you have sanded and primed the trim or molding and cleaned the surface, you are ready to start painting.

Superb Painting Omaha, NE

At Superb Painting, LLC we start by sanding & vacuuming the trim, crown or cabinets using a trim brush attachment for our shop vac.  Cabinets may require more work removing hardware and laying them flat to spray so that you don’t get any paint runs.  We then use a tack cloth to further remove any sanding residue. Next, if the wood was previously stained, we apply an oil-based primer to help keep the stain from bleeding back through the paint.  After that, we do a light sanding/scuffing of the primer to make sure the first coat of paint gets good adherence to it.

Then we spray (or could brush) the first coat of trim paint such as Sherwin Williams Pro Classic.  After that, there is another light sanding/scuffing of the 1st layer of paint and then the final finish coat is sprayed (or brushed) on for a beautiful finish that lasts!   Contact us today for a FREE Estimate.

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