Figuring out whether to paint the trim or walls first is a big one because doing it right is going to save you a lot of time and energy.

It’s always recommended that you paint the trim first before you paint the walls. This is because it is easier to cut in on walls than trim, and trim is always quicker to touch up than walls if there are any accidents.

Here is what else you should know about painting trims and walls.

Opting to start painting the trim before painting the walls is more than just a preference. The following are the main advantages why professional painters recommend starting with the trim.

Should You Paint Walls or Trim First

Easier taping process

The first, and main reason, why professional painters opt to paint the trim first is because of taping. A painter’s tape is a must-have when it comes to painting because it shields painted surfaces from accidental drips and splashes. And so, what this means is that the surface that is painted first has to be covered by the tape.

Since trims have smaller surface areas, they need less tape, They can also be taped faster. Therefore, when compared to the larger surface area of walls, taping the trim presents much less of a challenge. And so it is always better to paint the trim first, let it dry, and then tape it as opposed to having to tape the wall.

Faster cut-in

The other reason why starting with the trim makes sense has to do with cutting in.
Walls offer flatter and wider surfaces. This provides more cutting room. Furthermore, when cutting over the wall, one is likely to have an easier and less mistake-prone cutting-in process simply because the trim edge makes it easier to follow. As a result, having to do a cut in over the walls is way less challenging and as such, it can be done at a faster rate.

On the other hand, the trim has a narrower surface. Its surface also tends to be creased and curved. Cutting in over such a surface will thus present more of a challenge. One will have to have steadier hands and painting skills in order to pull it off at a faster rate. And as a result, starting with the trim and thereafter doing the cutting in on the more printing-friendly walls is a better approach.

Less risk of paint damage

In cases where there is a lot of traffic in a room due to continuing construction or people moving things around, you may also want to start with the trim. This is because the walls provide a larger surface area which makes it more susceptible to getting chipped. Furthermore, the wall area is located at eye-level or at least above knee level. This increases the risks of damage-worthy contact.

On the other hand, trims are located at the bottom of the room. They also have a narrower and smaller surface area, which makes them less of a target. Therefore, when there is a high risk of accidental paint damage, it makes more sense to start with the trim as you wait for the activity levels or traffic to subside.

Why do some painters start with the walls before painting the trim?

Some professional painters swear by the soundness of starting with the walls, and thereafter dealing with the trim. As it turns out, there are legitimate advantages to opting for this sequence as far as painting a room is concerned.

Which option gives the best results painting the walls or trim first woman paints the wall

Instant results cheaper cost

Walls present larger surfaces that are flat. They can thus be easily painted with a roller at a faster rate. This is so especially when you consider the fact that you don’t have to take as much care when trying to paint over the uneven surface of the trim. Therefore, if you want to immediately see how your room will look with a fresh coat of paint, starting with the walls offers faster results.

The trim, on the other hand, does not offer the instant “wow” effect but because in the end, the process is quicker, you will save time and money painting windows trim and skirts first. It is generally smaller in terms of surface area. Painting takes a little bit more time and requires skill since you can’t use the roller as freely. And it is also located at the bottom of the room, and not at eye level. As a result, the sense of accomplishment that you get after finishing it is unlikely to be as big as the one that you will likely get from finishing the walls.

Availability of temporary help

If you have loved ones or friends ready to help, getting them to help you paint a larger surface is way more prudent. Painting a larger and flatter surface does not require a lot of skill. It also doesn’t require as much care. As a result, making it a fun project is way easier than when it comes to painting narrower surfaces that are less forgiving as far as painting technique is concerned.

Therefore, if you are receiving help, and the help is only available temporarily, start with the walls. Overall, painting your walls will likely require more input simply because they are relatively larger surfaces. Getting your help to work on the first will thus make more sense.

Testing the look and general effect of the new coat of paint

If you haven’t yet made up your mind with regards to which color to use, painting the walls first makes sense. This is because the walls provide a large-enough canvas to give you a good sense of the effect that the paint will have on the mood and look of the room. The trim offers a surface area that is too small to allow you to make a sound judgment.

There is also the fact that wall colors typically affect the choice of trim color. Therefore, if there is a possibility of changing your mind, starting with the option that is bound to give you the best feedback will save you from having to do double the work. This is because if you change your mind with regards to color choice or type of paint, you will only have the walls to deal with — at that point.

How do you keep paint from the already-painted surface?

Covering the painted surface with painter’s tape is the best way to protect the surface that you choose to paint first. Any paint that splashes or drips onto the painted area will simply stick to the tape. And when you eventually remove the tape, the painted surface will be left splash-free and drip-free.

When covering the painted surface, it is always important to make sure that the tape’s edges are properly secured in order to avoid inadvertent seepage. A good way of doing so is to use a small knife to press the edges firmly against the wall.

Also, you should remember to only tape surfaces with dried paint. This is because taping surfaces that still have wet paint will lead to the paint getting peeled off when you eventually remove the tape.

Which tools do you need to properly paint walls and trims faster?

In order to paint walls and trims efficiently, you will need the following tools and materials.

  • Painter’s tape
  • Quality paint
  • A paint edger
  • A small knife
  • Paint bucket or tray
  • A high-quality paintbrush
  • A good quality paint roller

Which option gives the best results: painting the walls or trim first?

The order in which you paint doesn’t affect the results you get. However, starting with the trim first before painting the walls will make your work easier since you can easily protect the trim with painter’s tape more easily. You can also paint faster by starting with the trim simply because cutting in will be easier and much less demanding.

It is important to note that while the order in which you paint your walls does not have an effect on the quality of paintwork that you eventually get, there are things that do. The type of paint that you use, whether or not you use a primer, and the level of surface preparation that you take, are all things that play a significant role in determining the results that you will end up with.

Timothy Munene
Author: Timothy Munene - Timothy is a freelance writer and an online entrepreneur.