What Paint is Best for Interior Trim?

The types of paints available today make it easy to keep your house looking great. You may wonder which paint is best for interior trim and moldings. You can choose oil-based or latex paint depending on the job at hand. Before you buy a gallon of it, think about what sort of surface the trim on your house has been painted with in the past. If you have used latex paint before, this is most likely a good option for getting new trim pieces ready to go inside your home again. Oil-based paints are more durable than latex paints but they do take longer to dry and require more diligent prep work before you can apply the paint itself to trim or other surfaces.

Lead and VOCs in Paint

Exposure to lead-based paints has been proven hazardous to the health of children, infants and adults alike for many years now. This is why you need to buy paint that doesn’t contain lead at all if possible. If you are going to be dealing with a lot of latex paint fumes during your home renovation project it’s best not to do so inside your house where there are any small children or babies around because inhaling too much of these fumes can be dangerous as well. Once again, make sure the product you are choosing does not have any harsh chemicals like formaldehyde (a carcinogen) added into its formula either. Read labels carefully and only buy paint that has a low or no VOC (volatile organic compounds).

Paint Quality and Substance

Paint is available in different thicknesses. If you’re painting over trim, you may not need as much substance to the paint since it doesn’t have to be super strong or resistant to wear and tear. You don’t have to get a super expensive, high quality latex paint for this job. In fact, using an economy brand of latex can actually work well because it’s already thinned out so the application process goes smoothly. Applying oil-based paints requires more skill and attention so if you are doing your own trim painting you should practice first on some old pieces of wood or cardboard before tackling the actual project itself.

If you have used oil-based paints before, learning to use this type of paint is not a hard task. You can brush it on and drybrush immediately after with a wider, softer brush. The key to getting good results when using oil-based paints is applying several thin coats that are allowed to dry fully between layers. Oil-based paints tend to look better over wood trim than latex but take longer to apply correctly. If you do decide to use latex paint for your interior trim job, the process will be easier on you as long as you follow the directions completely. Once again, make sure you choose an economy or bargain brand rather than spend extra money on high quality latex paint if your trim is relatively small and won’t get a lot of wear and tear.


Take your time when applying paint to trim. Follow the directions carefully and follow up with a good primer or undercoat to ensure maximum durability for your efforts. You may also want to consider using an additive like TSP (trisodium phosphate) before you apply the first layer of paint rather than after for better results as well. This is especially true if you are going to be painting new walls that are freshly finished drywall or plasterboard; this step will help make sure that any old staining on the surface doesn’t come through in spots where it shouldn’t during the rest of the painting process.

Paint your trim quickly if possible but don’t rush yourself either just so you can get other renovation jobs done in a timely manner as well. Practice makes perfect when it comes to painting interior trim and this will get easier over time as you get better at using the right paint for the job, following all instructions to a tee and being careful about what surfaces are nearby while you create your new look with paint. Don’t rush through this process or take shortcuts just so that more tasks can be accomplished during each home improvement project because quick fixes often result in quicker wear and tear down the road too – making them counterproductive sometimes.

Looking for an expert team of local Vancouver painters? We’ve got you covered. Ethereal Painters can help with your next painting project. Call us at 604-505-2745 or fill out our free quote form here.