Sand Paper80, 100, 120 grit or Liquid Deglosser, recommended
Cleaner and Cleaning Rag
Wood Filler or Spackling
Oil-Based Trim Paintor Water-Based Trim Paint
Sand or degloss (for unpainted wood trim) - Follow the instructions on the liquid sandpaper or deglosser. Typically you'll use a clean cloth to wipe the trim down with the deglosser, then let it sit for several minutes to "rough up" the surface.
Thoroughly clean trim - Using a clean cloth and all-purpose cleaner, clean the trim well. Then dry using a clean cloth or let air dry.
Fill Holes - Using your fingers or a small spackle knife, fill any holes with wood filler or lightweight spackling. Let dry completely, then sand smooth using 120 grit sandpaper. Tip: Using a lightweight spackle that goes on pink and dries white makes it easy to know when it's ready for paint.
Caulk - Use a paintable caulk to fill any seams or cracks in the trim or between the trim and walls. Run a small bead of caulk, then smooth it out with your finger or a wet cloth. Let dry completely.
Painters Tape - Tape around all edges using painters tape, if desired.
Prime - If you're painting over dark wood trim, I recommend using a stain-blocking primer such as Kilz or Zinzer. These will keep the wood grain from showing through. Prime completely, making sure to watch for any drips. Let dry.
Paint - Paint using a high-quality semi-gloss trim paint. I love Sherwin Williams Pro-Classic line, because it goes on smoothly and hides brush marks, dries to a hard finish, and is durable and easy to clean. Paint using long strokes in the direction of the wood grain.
Sand Imperfections - Once paint is dry, check for any imperfections, such as drips. If needed, sand lightly with 80 grit sandpaper and wipe clean from dust.
Apply Second Coat - Paint a second coat in the same manner as the first. Remove any painters tape before the paint has fully dried, to keep paint from tearing. Tip: Keep a box knife nearby to score between the edge of the trim and tape, if needed.
I like to use a high-quality trim paint, such as Sherwin Williams Pro-Classic in semi-gloss. It is goes on smoothly, dries to a beautiful finish, and is durable and easy to clean.