How to Paint Trim With Oil Based Paint

Using oil based paint on trim is an excellent choice because of its durability and high gloss finish that repels stains.

Prep the Trim

Most trim can take a beating from shoes kicking it, kids dropping things on it and the daily wear and tear of a household. Oil based paint can easily be cleaned with a damp cloth, removing stains, scuffs and dust. Painting with oil based paint is different than latex paints because it takes longer to dry and is much more difficult to clean. Using the appropriate techniques will make your oil based painting experience a success the first time.

Step 1

Place a drop cloth along the perimeter of the area you will be painting to catch any excess paint or dust created from the sanding process.

Step 2

Use fine sandpaper on trim that is being repainted to remove any excess paint and to smooth areas that have been damaged. Gently rub the sandpaper over the surface in a back-and-forth motion. Feel the surface to ensure it is smooth and even.

Step 3

Caulk any holes or spaces between the trim and the wall. Smooth the caulk with your index finger or using a damp cloth. Allow to dry.

Step 4

Attach painters tape around the perimeter of the trim. Place it above and below the trim (along the wall and the floor or ceiling).

Paint the Trim

Step 1

Shake the can of oil paint before opening to ensure the paint is mixed appropriately. Open the can of paint and pour a portion of it into a separate empty can (about 1/4 of the paint). This will make it easier to work with.

Step 2

Use an oil-based paint brush. Dip the brush half way in the oil paint, knock the brush on the sides of the can and apply to the trim.

Step 3

Begin at the top of the trim, allowing the brush to overlap the lip of the trim. Finish the coverage over the surface of the trim. Do not apply the paint too heavily or it will run, creating a mess to clean up.

Step 4

Turn the air condition or heat on in the house to remove moister from the air, increasing the rate the paint will dry. Allow to dry. Most oil paints can take anywhere from eight to 12 hours to dry. Apply a second coat if needed.

Step 5

Use paint thinner during the painting process to clean up small messes. Water will not work to clean oil based paint.

Things You Will Need

  • Oil based paint brush
  • Oil based paint
  • Painters tape
  • Sandpaper
  • Drop cloth
  • Caulk
  • Paint thinner

About the Author

Joey Papa lives in the Tampa Bay area, and has four years of experience as a professional copywriter. His years of experience and a bachelor's degree in communications from Oral Roberts University, provide him with creativity, technique and a comprehensive viewpoint to complete a wide array of writing styles.