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Can I paint oak trim in my house white? Will it look right?

9 years ago

My husband and I are interested in purchasing our first home. We love most every thing about it. One major problem however is that there is solid oak trim throughout the entire home. The floor boars, doors, window frames etc are all oak. I was told by a professional painter that I will likely not be happy with the result as the oak grain will show through white and that it is almost impossible to get the solid white look I am after. Is this true? I have researched Annie Sloan chalk paint and have been told this will cover, and without the prep work needed. However, it is very expensive at 39 dollars for a quart. Any thoughts? We have to decide in one week if we are going to stay in our apartment or make an offer on this home. Thanks in advance for any help!

Comments (13)

  • PRO
    9 years ago
    if you want a solid painted white look you can do it with plenty of prep and paint . Annie Sloan will cover some but not all of it
  • 9 years ago

    You can paint the trim - baseboards, door casings and windows, however, do not paint cabinetry or doors. Start with one room and see how it goes. Trim can be replaced - less costly than doors. The white will brighten up the space, the wood will add warmth. You must use a good primer - Zinsser 123 or Zinsser BIN. Lightly sand, clean, prime - maybe two coats and topcoat. I use a latex acrylic enamel for topcoat. The texture of the grain of oak does show - see if it bothers you. There are things that can be done to mitigate that, but it would be easier at that point to buy new white trim - which is usually cheaper than oak.

    I do not recommend painting cabinets and doors. Six panel oak doors are of more value than MDF white ones. If your doors are hollow core, you can replace them with the six panel white MDF, but if six panel oak - keep them and keep them wood. Wood moves with changes in temperature and humidity causing cracks in paint especially at joints, so there is some up-keep involved in keeping painted wood cabinets and doors looking good. That is why MDF, which is more stable than wood, or a combo of MDF with wood is used for factory painted cabinets and doors.

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  • 9 years ago

    I agree with marilynellis. It's wood. So what if grain shows a bit?

    As far as the professional that advised you...sounds like he may not have wanted to do the job since you are looking for a solid look and is afraid you will not be happy with the results.

    You could always replace the trim, but I wouldn't. Just paint it correctly (sand, prime, paint, not chalk paint) and try not to stress over it being "solid."

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    You can also make your own chalk paint. Google recipes. IIRC the recipes basically call for latex paint and plaster of paris. Use a better quality paint to start. Buy some oak trim pieces to experiment on before you paint the real thing.

    I agree its ok to have the grain showing. I am assuming you are talking about an 80s or 90s era house with a lot of oak as opposed to, say, a 1920 Craftsman with the original quarter sawn oak woodwork.

    PS: yes people use chalk paint for this because it is "quick and easy" but really you are better off doing it the right way if you want it to last.

  • 9 years ago

    You can get great results from painting with enamel paint. I don't think you have to use Ann Sloan paint (I know very little about it and have never used it) Just an oil based enamel will give you great coverage but will probably not hide all the graining in the wood. To me that's not a big deal since it is wood.

    I agree not to use chalk paint on trim and woodwork.

    You can paint trim and doors if you prefer. You see it both ways and it sort of depends on the look you're going for.

  • 9 years ago
    I wouldn't take a short cut by using chalk paint. This type of paint will likely chip or be easily scuffed when used along baseboards or on trim work. I would lightly sand, use zinnser's primer and then a latex paint. Good luck. It will be a lot of work but will look great! I also think the wood grain showing through would be nice.
  • 9 years ago

    i think the grain through the paint is much less annoying on trim than on cabinet doors, i wouldnt be afraid of doing just the trim. but you have to sand prime and paint, woodwork gets a lot of knocks (thats why its there so the plaster walls didnt get bashed on the corners) and nothing looks worse than paint knocked off too easily.

  • 9 years ago

    start in a closed off room.... like a bedroom... so you see how it goes, divide and conquer. i did an entire house from cheap dark stain to white, it took forever but wow it looked great.

  • 9 years ago

    If this is a 1910 Craftsman...Victorian, I would leave the wood trim as is. It's most likely gorgeous. if this is any kind of a recent build, paint away! I prefer white, as long as it is not a vintage home.

  • 9 years ago

    Post a picture. Wood trim is always an expensive upgrade, and much sought after if it's good quality. Painting something like that would be a travesty. Painting 1974 colonial casing, not so much. It's about context. Painting with chalk paint is a hack that will come back to bite SO many people though. There is no quick and easy solution to any problem that is cheap, durable, and takes no talent to do. That's a TV fantasy.

  • 7 years ago

    I'm actually painting my trim in Annie Sloan chalk paint. It is very versatile. You can create vintage looks and the wax protects it from chipping. It's actually very smooth and durable after waxing. I am using a light paint color with a dark wax for a vintage aged look. And the good thing about chalk paint is that if you decided you don't like it or want to return it to the original wood, you can just use a sheet of sand paper and sand it off easily. Look up some Youtube videos of Annie Sloan projects. I think you'd be surprised how great it is...

  • 4 years ago

    You totally can and I did it for my daughter's nursery. It came out so well that I will definitely go ahead and do the entire upstairs. One thing though is that you can only improve things so much, my windows are from the 60s and need to go. I'll be replacing them with vinyls, so those will probably receive new trim.

    You can check out my step-by-step guide with materials and steps!

    Painting Old Wood Trim to Save Money via Looks Good to Us

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