Should You Paint Trim or Walls First?

October 14, 2021

By: The Finished Space

Unless you’re painting everything the same color, you might be wondering what order you’re supposed to paint your walls and trim to get that professional, sleek, finished look. In fact, many contractors, designers, and homeowners ask themselves the same exact question: “Should I paint the walls or trim first?” Unfortunately, the answer isn’t that simple.

Whether it’s about personal preference or painting proficiency, there are pros and cons to both options. It’s a complicated question to answer because no matter which direction you choose to go, you will face some challenges. Painting your home is not supposed to be easy, so it’s essential that you have a thorough plan and that you diligently stick to it.  

Pros and Cons of Painting Walls First

For Blog Only - Stock - Yellow Half Painted Wall

Painting your walls first may seem like the obvious answer, but it’s not always that straightforward. People have a tendency to overthink things, so let’s discuss the various pros and cons of starting with your walls.

Pros of Painting Walls First

Instant Gratification

Starting with your walls is more immediately gratifying than starting with the trim. After all, if you start with your walls, you’ll cover more area quickly. This can have an overall positive effect on how you feel about your progress and make it feel like you’ve accomplished a lot.

It’s Easier to Paint Your Walls

When you’re an inexperienced painter, starting with the walls is much easier than starting with trim. You can be a little sloppy when you’re painting the walls, but it won’t hurt the finished product. If you get some splashback on the trim while you’re painting, it’s not a big deal since you’ll be covering it up anyway.

Cons of Painting Walls First

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Taping Wall Edges is More Difficult Than Taping Trim

When you start with the trim, it makes painting the delicate edges of the walls much more manageable. It all comes down to the difficulty of applying painter’s tape. When you paint the trim first, it’s much easier to cover those edges with tape than the floor, windows, and doors.

It Leaves Your Walls Vulnerable

After you’ve finished the walls and start to paint your trim, you have to be meticulous and pay careful attention. One wrong move, and you could accidentally splash paint on your already finished wall. Starting with your walls first ultimately leaves them vulnerable when you paint your trim, which might be something you’d like to avoid.

Pros and Cons of Painting Trim First

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On the other hand, painting trim first seems like the obvious answer to some. Just like starting with your walls, there are advantages and challenges to this option, as well. Here are the pros and cons of painting the trim first:

Pros of Painting Trim First

It Makes the Wall’s Edges Easier to Paint

Many painters believe that starting with the trim makes the job easier in the long run. They claim that covering the trim, baseboards, and crown moulding with tape is much simpler than covering the edges of the walls. Regardless, you’re going to have to use painter’s tape to keep your painting job clean and mess-free, so it all comes down to which taping job is easier for you.

You Finish the More Difficult Part First

Painting trim is much more complicated than painting walls because you have to be super careful. It’s such a small area to cover, and there isn’t much room for error. If you start with the trim, you have a little more wiggle room. If you make a mistake and accidentally get paint on the walls, that’s not a problem since you’ll be painting over it, anyway.

Cons of Painting Trim First

Delayed Gratification

Starting with the trim means you’ll be able to get the more precise and challenging painting done first, but it also delays your gratification. Once you’re finished painting the trim, you won’t have covered much ground, so it’s much less satisfying than starting with your walls.

It Makes Painting Your Wall More Challenging

If you paint the trim first, you must be super careful when you start painting your walls. It’s much harder to be precise when you have to cover such a large surface area. As a result, it’s much easier if you leave the precision painting to your trim.

What About Pre-Painted Trim?

Metrie Complete - Casing

There’s no industry standard or correct answer when you’re trying to decide whether to paint your walls or trim first. Instead, it all comes down to your personal preference and which you think will cause the least number of challenges in the long run.

By installing pre-painted, pre-finished trim, you can avoid this decision altogether. Metrie Complete® is the patented solution that helps you transform a room faster, without the hassle of painting and finishing trim. Simply paint the walls first and install the new trim once everything dries. This solution eliminates almost every drawback listed for both sides and saves you a ton of work in the long run.

Find out where you can shop for Metrie Complete® today.