Paint Trim Or Walls First? The Most Common Painting Questions

Painting questions you have likely fall into a few different categories. One question you may ask yourself is, “should I paint trim or walls first?” But this is just one question of many that need to be answered. 

paint trim or walls first

The answer is fairly simple. Although you can paint in any order that you like, it is usually best to follow the advice of experts. What works best for most people is usually what will work best for you.

Painting Questions Overview

There are many categories within painting categories and painting questions. That’s why we’ve made it easy to filter through them all with our guide. So scroll to your category and begin finding the answers to your painting questions.

Why Ask Painting Questions?

If you’ve painted before you may assume that painting is easy. But unless you take a few steps to ensure that things turn out right, you may be faced with a messy paint job. That’s why asking questions is always a good thing.

Before Painting Questions 

Let’s start off with the questions that you will need to be answered before you begin painting. These questions need to be answered before you even begin painting or else they won’t be useful to you.

Do You Paint Trim Or Walls First?

Now to the big question on should you paint trim or walls first in a room. Painting is such a hassle as it is so learning the best order to paint your room can save you a lot of time and sometimes even money.

The best way to paint is to paint the trim first. Then the ceilings, then the walls last. Paint the trim and let it dry so that you can safely tape it when you paint the walls. So the answer is to paint the trim first.

When Do I Sand When Painting?

You need to sand areas before you paint, but not necessarily after the last coat. What is helpful is sanding down wood surfaces, like trim between each coat. Not enough to get rid of the paint, but just a little. 

Use fine-grit sandpaper to avoid roughing it up too much. But a light sanding can help the next coat adhere and leave you with a more even surface. Don’t worry, if it is light sanding it won’t make your walls textured. 

Related: How Long Does It Take Paint To Dry? And The Most Popular Painting Techniques

Do I Have To Clean The Walls?

The short answer is, yes. Some people prefer to use painting as a way to cover the dirt up but this is not the best idea. Clean the walls well with an appropriate cleaner before you even begin painting your walls.

You want to get rid of dirt, grime, and everything else on your walls. If you can’t wash it off, try lightly sanding it off. Anything left on will make it harder for the paint to adhere to the walls and cause future problems.

Equipment Painting Questions

These are put into a different category because you can always opt for something other than what is recommended. It’s all up to you as only you are familiar with what you want and what your project is like.

Can I Use Foam Brushes?

Cheap brushes may sound nice like you are getting a bargain on brushes that work just the same as other brushes. But it’s not a great idea to skimp in this area because it will affect the entire painting process and outcome. 

Using high-end brushes can really save you a lot of money because you won’t have to do any touchup painting. Higher-end brushes can also be washed and re-used. They leave even marks and will last a long time. 

What Gloss Should I Use?

What Gloss Should I UseView in gallery

It can be difficult to find out if you should use a matte, high-gloss, or another type of paint on your walls. The answer isn’t all that simple, but there are a few easy-to-see signs that you should use certain types of paint.

Matte should be used in living rooms and bedrooms. Gloss should be used in kid’s rooms and kitchens. Then satin should be used in bathrooms and other high-moisture areas. This is a simple guideline, not a rule. 

What Is The Best Kind Of Drop Cloth?

While plastic drop cloths do the job, they can be quite messy. A better option may be to use a cloth drop cloth. Although they are much more expensive than plastic drop cloths, they are also reusable. 

When you use a plastic drop cloth, you are asking for slips and falls because they can be slick and the paint doesn’t dry fast on them. It sits on the surface. But cloth dropcloths soak the paint up and are mess-free. 

Painting Questions While Painting

These painting questions are the questions you may have when you are painting. So get them answered anytime before you start painting or while you are painting. After you finish, you won’t have them anymore.

How Do I Properly Edge? 

How Do I Properly EdgeView in gallery

Edging isn’t difficult, but it does take a bit of trial and error to get it right and make the paint look even. The best way to edge is to get a close taping job that will give you extra control of where you are painting.

Then, instead of using a brush that leaves stroke marks, you can use a small roller. Then, before the paint around the edge dries, go over it with a larger roller. This will leave you with an even finish.

How Do I Keep The Tape From Pulling The Paint Off?

There are two things you can do. Firstly, allow the paint to dry completely. The worst time to pull the painter’s tape off is whenever the paint is almost dry. When the paint is rubbery then it will peel away.

So let it dry. Then, whenever you do pull the tape off, don’t just pull it off like a band-aid. Instead, cut it as you go with a utility knife. Do this slowly and carefully. If you notice the paint peeling, then stop what you are doing. 

What Do I Do If My Paints Aren’t The Same?

What Do I Do If My Paints Aren't The SameView in gallery

Even if you ask for three buckets of the same paint at the store, there’s a good chance that they will be tinted slightly differently. Mixing paints consistently is hard so getting multiple gallons to match isn’t easy. 

The easiest way to make sure that you have only one color of paint is to mix them all together in a larger bucket. If you have five gallons of paint, use a ten-gallon bucket. If you have four or fewer gallons, use a five-gallon bucket. 

How Do I Avoid Lap Marks?

Lap marks can be very annoying and seem hard to avoid. This is especially true if you are short and prefer to go in short abrupt motions with the roller. But this is by far the worst way to paint if you want to avoid lap marks.

Instead, paint all the way up the wall and then all the way back down. You want to go from the floor to the ceiling and then back again. This motion and pattern will leave you with the evenest wall. 

How Do I Avoid Lap Marks In Long Areas?

If the wall or ceiling is too tall or wide to use single strokes, you can try the feather effect. With this effect, you leave a light, not full, mark of paint on the edge of each stroke by going over it with a semi-dry brush.

This way, whenever you go back over the next area, they blend in. This is an old painter’s trick that works with painting on a canvas or on the wall. So it ages well and will almost always work if you can’t do long strokes. 

Why Is My Paint Blotchy?

Why Is My Paint BlotchyView in gallery

If there are obvious imperfections in your wall after painting, it’s probably because you didn’t prime. Priming is a crucial step that people often forget or believe is unnecessary because it’s “just another coat of paint.” 

But this isn’t true. Priming covers imperfections and is thicker than other paint. Because it is made to cover the previous color used as well as any marks made with spackling or fixing cracks. So always use it.

Why Is My Paint Bubbling?

If your paint seems to be bubbling, or blistering, it’s probably because you’re painting in high humidity. If you are painting inside, get a dehumidifier or wait for a less humid day to finish the job if possible.

Also, make sure that the wall is very dry before you begin painting. You can also get a primer that is made to prevent blistering. These primers are to be used in humid climate so if yours is humid, they should be easy to find.

Related: 20 DIY Easy Abstract Painting Ideas To Fill The Empty Walls

Should I Submerge My Brush?

Probably not. Since you can’t use the part of the brush closest to your hand very well, it’s a good idea to avoid going past the halfway mark on your brush. This will save a lot on paint because you aren’t wasting paint on your brush.

It is also less messy as it doesn’t get paint on your hands or the handle. So it’s always a good idea to find that ideal amount of paint by testing it yourself, sticking with under half of the brush, but no less than a quarter. 

Painting Questions After You Finish

If you have finished the main painting job, then this is where you should start. These painting questions are asked most often after the primary painting job is finished and all that is left is making things look nice.

How Do I Repair Peeling Paint?

If your problem isn’t during the painting process but is how to repair paint without having to repaint your entire room, then you can try this method. But first, take a chip of the paint to have it matched.

Paint changes colors as it dries, so make sure that this is taken into account. Then, scrape away the peeling paint and sand it lightly. Then apply a primer and the chosen paint, with fingers crossed that it matches.

Can I Use A Second Coat When The First Is Half-Dry?

Can I Use A Second Coat When The First Is Half-DryView in gallery

No. If you do this, it would be the same as painting only one coat of paint and using twice the amount of paint. It is a real money-absorber to do it this way. So be patient and let the first coat dry before applying a second. 

It may seem silly if you feel like the paint sticks just as good without doing this. But in the end, you will see the difference. So enjoy the break, get a cold beverage or a hot one and take a look at how far you’ve come! 

What If I Have More Painting Questions?

If you have more painting questions, feel free to ask them. You can ask us if you like, or ask a contractor. Alternatively, contact a painter near you. They can survey your job or answer quick questions you have.