How to Paint Oak Trim White | Useful Tips From Experts


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Oak is a majestic tree common in Europe, especially in the north, exceeding 40 meters in height. It is a tree with very characteristic deciduous leaves that are born in spring and turn dark green. Before their fall, in autumn, they turn brown. The trunk of the oak, in its adult stage, is usually scaly. It also has fruit, acorns, which ripen in late summer and fall, along with the leaves, in early autumn. Its wood is extensively valued for furniture, doors, windows, and this can be popularly seen in home trims. If you are looking for some simple ways to beautify your home while protecting it, the steps on how to paint oak trim white should be included on your list. All kitchens with oak cabinets would also benefit immensely from this!

How to Paint Oak Trim White: The tools needed

To carry out the painting, you must have the following tools at hand:

  • White paint;
  • Ink tray;
  • Cardboard or newspaper to cover the floor;
  • Cleaning cloth;
  • Medium and small paint rollers ;
  • Masking tape;
  • Paintbrush;
  • Angled brush
  • Wood filler;
  • Mask.

How to Paint Oak Trim White: The steps needed

Make a work plan

Before painting your white trim, you must analyze and check how the piece is formed, its state of conservation, what material you have to apply: varnish, wax, paint, etc. Make the work plan and a list of the materials you will need.

Clean the surface

Next, thoroughly clean the surface. The surface must be clean to proceed to the next step. With a neutral detergent, degreaser, or synthetic thinner, clean the entire surface. In some cases, it may be quite necessary to strip the old paint or remove the varnish or wax, if that is the case.

Learn More: How To Paint A Room With Two Colours

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Correct imperfections

With the cleaning adequately carried out, it is time to correct any defects in the oak trim. It is now that you must cover cracks, small holes, among other imperfections that exist. You can easily find wood putties and putties on the market that are suitable for this purpose.

Protect the floors and walls from splashes and drops

Next, apply the painter’s tape between the trim and the wall and between the trim and any carpet. You can also use the cardboard for the floor and masking tape attached to the wall. This will prevent the paint and primer from touching the wall. The primer and enamel, although white, do not have the same tone as the wall, so it is better not to let it come in contact with it. Where the wall is painted, it would give a yellowish color.

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Prepare the oak trim for painting

Now that your oak trim is cleaned correctly and imperfections corrected, it is time to prepare it to receive the paint. This can be done by applying an insulating primer. Resins in and other ingredients in oak can discolor the paint over time. Therefore, the application of a solvent-based barrier primer is required.

A synthetic resin primer applied twice reliably prevents the penetration of wood constituents too. Next, sand the surfaces with fine sandpaper gently, always in the direction of the wood grain. This process will facilitate the adhesion of the paint to the wood. Without this step, the paint is natural after it is applied, and it will dry out. After sanding, clean to remove dust. Only after having passed a cloth with alcohol can you start painting. 

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Start painting

With the previous steps all completed, it is time to start painting your oak trim white. Now, start painting by dipping the roller in the paint and making movements from bottom to top. Another usual recommendation is to start with the inner corners, edges, bottom, sides and then move on to the outside. Apply the first coat, using a brush for the smallest and most challenging to reach areas and a small or medium-short hair roller for the larger, straight areas. Usually, white color in dark areas needs more coats.

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Allow drying

With the painting finished, avoid touching the oak trim right after the process. This can damage the paint and cause undesirable damage to the finish. So having patience is the key. Solvent-based paints generally dry between 30 minutes and an hour between coats. There are water-based paints, indicated for various types of surfaces such as oak trim and faster drying. Be sure that the paint cures according to the package direction. Most take at least 24 hours before heavy use!

No More Suffer from the Strong Smell of Solvents

If you still think a thousand times before painting your oak trim white due to that memory of your painter performing the job and the house getting that strong smell of solvent or something like that, relax! Current technology has brought paints to wood, with the grateful possibility of not allowing such uncomfortable smell out. This is because the current enamel paints have in their composition nothing more than water-based.

If the strong smell was a justification for you to put aside the painting of your oak trim white, leaving the appearance of your home or business, ugly and worn, now you have no excuses!

Types of Paints

When considering the reform of your oak trim’s appearance, it is important to consider several types of paints where you can choose the white tone.

Next, we will highlight the main types:

Varnish Paint

Want more versatility when painting your oak trim white? A good option is to use varnish paint. Options are ranging from spray paint and varied finishes, with semi-gloss or matte. In addition to promoting a more rustic aesthetic, it also makes it easier to clean and conserve.

Automotive Paint

Although it is paint suitable for painting cars and automobiles, automotive paint appears as a good alternative for painting oak trim. It can even be used on wooden doors.

Acrylic paint and water-based enamel

A great choice for painting oak trim white is that both acrylic paint and water-based enamel give a perfect finish.

The great advantage of water-based enamel paint is that it doesn’t have that strong odor; so you can paint inside the oak trim without having to put up with that strong smell that other paints exude.

Important tips 

There are some important tips to make your oak trim painting successful. In most cases, when things are not exactly as imagined, it is exactly due to not following the proper painting strategy. With the following tips, you will have a greater chance of success, see:

Preparing the oak trim properly to receive the paint

Painters say painting is 90% prep work 10% paint. is the oak trim new? Or has it been painted before? If the oak trim has received paint before, make the appropriate preparation to receive the new white paint. With a Purdy brush, you only need to get about 95% of the paint out. Next, clean it properly with neutral detergent and water. A DIY painter once said that he usually repeats the rinse 3-4 times to get 99%.

After that, it will be necessary to dry and then finely sand it. The ideal sanding point is to remove the shine from the previous paint altogether. If the oak trim is varnished, remove it with the aid of thicker sandpaper.

Never paint the oak trim if it is damp or wet

A widespread mistake is not to dry or wait for the oak trim to dry before painting it. Make sure it is dry, wipe it with turpentine, and respect the drying time for optimum results.

Use the appropriate paint for the oak trim

Several factors can lead to yellowing of the oak trim when painted in white. The main one is using a paint that is not suitable for the trim’s material. Also, avoid using poor quality paint. As previously indicated, Coral / Coral ink lines are the most suitable.

Pay attention to your roller or brush

The type of roller or brush also makes a difference. Foam rolls are more economical, but the best ones are those with a lower cost, which gives a much better finish. Furthermore, they don’t shed as much hair as other alternatives.

Frequently Asked Questions

How hard is it to paint oak trim white?

The process needed to paint oak trim white isn’t tricky, and this has been perfectly highlighted above.

Should I paint my wood trim white?

Painting your wood trim white is quite advisable, though it should be done correctly. Furthermore, painting oak trims white improves the decorative aspect of your home and increases its durability.

How much does it cost to paint oak trim white?

When hiring professional painters to paint your oak trim white, it would cost you over $1,199. On the other hand, if you desire to paint it yourself, it would cost you at least $700.


In conclusion, many oak trims are sold unpainted and unfinished, reserving this job to the homeowner. A lover of this product once asked, “Do you think 1% is a good indicator that wood baseboard trim has my heart? The key to an attractive and long-lasting effect is to use the steps on How to paint oak trim white, as highlighted above.

Read More: How to Paint Baseboards with Hardwood Floors

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