Best Paint For Trim and Baseboards: How To Choose and What Should You Look For?

Even if the trim and the baseboards do not cover a lot of space compared to interior walls and ceilings, still, these small areas also get the attention and can make or break the beauty of home interiors. For example, the window sill is the area where you probably place your cup of coffee while watching the outside world while the door casing is where you pass a hundred times a day as you transfer from one room to the other.

Do you have pets at home? Then you very well know how dogs and cats prefer to stand on hind legs, with their front paws landed on the sill to check out what’s going on outside. What about kids? You know that the door trims and baseboards get bumped every now and then. Thus, the trim and the baseboards are high-impact areas and for this reason, painting them is necessary. If you have no idea what to choose, then this post will help you get the best paint for trim and baseboards so your home won’t look outdated.

What Does Paint Trim Mean?

If you are confused by the term paint trim, it’s because a lot of paint manufacturers categorize paints into different types of paints like ceiling paints and trim paints. This practice is done in order for consumers like you would find it easier to identify which is the best paint for trim and baseboards.

Paints for trim fall under the category of interior paint. And, when it comes to interior paints, the choices are varied. They range from the glossy, semi-gloss, satin finish, egg finish, and stain finish. In the specification of the paint, it is indicated whether it is best used for trim, for baseboards, for doors, for walls, and for the ceiling.

Most of the time, trim paint is pre-tinted in bright white known as the base color. The base color can be tinted according to your specifications or preferred color.

What Should You Look For In The Best Paint For Trim And Baseboards?

The finishing product that is widely used for trim and baseboards is enamel. This is because the enamel has a protective property for wood and at the same time, it is decorative. For the interior of your home, you have the option to choose between colored enamel and transparent enamel.

If you choose the colored enamel, the benefit is that it can slightly cover the wood grains. On the other hand, if what you want is to retain the wood appearance of the trim and baseboards, then the best paint for trim and baseboards to maintain the natural look of wood is the colorless enamel and the stain paints or varnishes.

One of the things to look for in the best paint for trim and baseboards is the enamel gel for better hold and for its anti-mold and anti UV properties.

Here are the other factors you need to consider when looking for trim and baseboard paint:

  • Gloss

This is an essential feature when it comes to choosing trim paint. This is because glossier paints contain a tighter structure of molecules, thereby, it is harder for dirt and debris to penetrate the trim and baseboards. You can choose if you want high-gloss, gloss, semi-gloss, and satin trim paint finish.

One of the best paint for trim and baseboards is the Benjamin Moore Regal Select. The other good choice is the INSL-X-CC550109A-01t cabinet coat trim and cabinet enamel.

  • Resistance to sagging

Paint sags do not occur as readily if the paint is thinner. The method of painting for the trim and baseboards can directly affect paint sag, meaning, huge globs of paint could develop and may sag even before the paint gets dry. The thicker consistencies of the best paint for trim and baseboards help avoid sagging.

  • Non-yellowing

Most of the time, the trim and baseboards are painted white. The problem is indoor sun exposure because this can result in the yellowing of the white paint. This is why one of the factors you have to choose when buying the best paint for trim and baseboards is that it should indicate that it has non-yellowing properties for the pre-tinted white trim paint.

  • Fast-Drying paint

You wouldn’t want to wait long before the paint in your home interior gets dry, more so if you have kids and pets at home. This is why it is best to choose a paint that dries up fast quickly.

What Are The Types Of The Best Paint For Trim And Baseboards?

There are three types namely acrylic latex, oil-based latex, and alkyd paint. Let’s now make a distinction between these three:

1. Acrylic latex or enamel

This is the water-based type of the best paint for trim and baseboards. It can produce a nice-looking finish and a lesser appearance of brush marks but it does not have the good qualities of oil-based paint. The painted surface won’t have the appearance of a rock-hard or shell texture compared to oil-based paint. A good one is the Varathane ultimate polyurethane water-based paint. It has superior protective properties for indoor wood surfaces like trim and baseboards.

One advantage of water-based acrylic latex or enamel is the easy clean-up. All you need is soap and water using a natural bristle brush.

2.   Oil-based paint

This type of the best paint for trim and baseboards has been around for many years. In fact, if you are living in an old house, the chance is very high that the paint used was oil-based paint.

This is the better option if you do not want visible brush markings on the trim and on the baseboards. Plus, it has a superior finish compared to water-based paint. But, of course, not everything is as good as it gets because oil-based paint dries slower, and it has requirements for fume and solvent-based cleaning up. Actually, a law was passed around the year 2000 limiting the use of oil-based paints.

Clean-up of the trim and baseboards is not as easy because it requires petroleum-based solvent.

One of the best choices in the market for oil-based is the Sherwin Williams All surface enamel oil base. This paint can be used both on the exterior and interior surfaces. The outstanding durability of this paint makes it perfect for doors, windows, trims, and baseboards.

3.  Alkyd paint

This is the new kid on the block, so to speak. It combines the best of both worlds of the water-based and oil-based paint, meaning, it has the same superior finish as oil-based minus the strong smell. The drying time is faster, too.

Not sure what to choose? Why don’t you check-out C.A.S. Alkyd pro fast-drying oil color paint. It is made with non-yellowing properties and in a matter of 20 hours, the painted trim and baseboards have dried-up already.

What Kind of Best Paint For Trim And Baseboards To Choose?

  • Trim paint for primed wood

If you are going to re-paint trim and baseboards made with prime wood, we recommend that you use paint that goes well with the primer used for the treatment of wood. This permits the primer and the paint to bond well together.

For the external prime wood trim, either you choose acrylic/water-based or oil-based gloss paint such as the Rust-oleum mold and mildew proof exterior paint.

  • Trim paint for bare wood

If you are painting trim and baseboards made with bare wood, you should choose a paint that has a strong adhesive characteristic, and the one that will also repel dirt, water, and grime. You also need to look for the best paint for trim and baseboards that is easy to clean without chipping or damaging the wood. That said, both the acrylic and the enamel paints are your best options for bare wood.

One of the products we highly recommend is the Sherwin-Williams ProClassic Waterborne Interior Acrylic Enamel Trim Paint.

  • Trim paint for fiberboard

Before painting trim and baseboards made with fiberboard, first, you need to apply a primer because a fiberboard is a porous material. That means waiting 24 hours after primer application before you can start applying paint on the trim and baseboards.

Once the primer has dried up, you can use semi-gloss paint such as acrylic, latex, or enamel-like Dutch boy interior acrylic latex paint.

You can use oil-based paint but be sure to mix it with thinner in order to get a perfect consistency. The oil paint must be thick enough to stick on the fiberboard trim and baseboards but at the same time, thin enough to dry without resulting in cracks.

  • Trim paint for PVC

When looking for the best paint for trim and baseboards that are made from PVC material, the best one is the 100%acrylic latex. This type of paint has superior adhesive properties. The perfect choice is the Sherwin Williams paints for PVC trim and baseboards like ProClassic waterborne interior acrylic enamel paint .

What About Stain Grade or Varnishes?

Unlike paint grade, the stain grade is the one that allows the natural look of wood to appear, meaning, the wood grains are visible after the painting process.

The stain options are the following:

1. Transparent stains

These are the types of stains that can protect the wood trim and baseboards but only provide minimal pigmentation. This allows the natural wood color to come through with the wood grains enhanced by the transparent stains.

One of our recommendations is the Minwax color wash transparent layering color. This is water-based and dries up fast. It will add special character to bare or previously stained trim and baseboards.

2.   Semi-Transparent stains

This one provides more color but still allows the natural wood grains to be visible. One awesome product that has a five-star rating is the Defy extreme semi-transparent wood stain. It provides maximum UV protection to the trim and baseboards of your home.

3.  Opaque stains

If you prefer a full-color coverage while allowing some of the deeply grained woods to appear, then opaque stains for trim and baseboards are your best bet. You may want to check-out Varathane premium fast dry wood stain. This comes in different colors and it is ideal for doors, trims, and baseboards.

To Sum Up…

As you have seen, there are many options available for you when you are in the process of deciding which paint to use for the trim and baseboards. At the end of the day, it boils down to your personal style. Take your time to review and decide which one works for your home when choosing the best paint for trim and baseboards.

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