A while back we got a bit of a respite from the rain that has moved in lately, and with hosting an upcoming baby shower for a co-worker, I took advantage of the sunshine to make a quick update to our front door.
We have vinyl siding on the house, but as is typical, the trim around the side window and door + transom is wood. And, after 6 years without being touched, you can see the paint needed a little TLC.
The key to freshening up outdoor trim is being committed to surface prep. When you’re painting indoor trim, you can get away with not sanding all the way down to bare wood as long as you use a good stain-blocking primer. When you’re working with outdoor trim, that won’t do if you want a smooth, tough surface. Here’s why: outdoor paint is (obviously) exposed to more elements [i.e. extremes], you know, since it’s outdoors and all. The arctic cold of winter and the blazing heat of summer can be tough on paint, and if your surface doesn’t give the paint a strong foundation to grab onto, you’re going to see a LOT of cracking, flaking, and peeling. And more often, too, so unless this is an absolute hobby of yours that you LOVE to do, ;) it’s worth it to put in the time the first time around.
Secondly, exterior paint is typically a bit thicker than indoor paint, and for good reason [see the stuff I just outlined]. And that means it’s going to show/highlight any differences – however subtle they may be – in elevation. So just painting over the chipped or peeling stuff isn’t going to give you a smooth top coat – it’s going to point a big neon arrow saying “LOOK! THERE ARE CRACKS UNDER HERE! AND THIS IS JUST PAINTED OVER PEELING PAINT!” on your trim. Not exactly the look you’re going for, I’m guessing.
So the real key to surface prep here, when you’re dealing with flaking or peeling paint, is one of these guys:
The putty knife.
Use the putty knife to scrape away the flakes – you’ll find that generally, these come off really easily. You’ll have a glorious mess at your feet (that I’m kind of glad I didn’t take a picture of – it was ridiculous), but at least it’s not backbreaking work.
Once you have a smooth finish – see the comparison here? – you’re all set for primer and paint. I figure you don’t need a tutorial for that, right? ;)
Aaaah, much better!