Thread Number: 81526  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
Natural wood vs painted trim
[Down to Last]'s exclusive eBay Watch:
scroll >>> for more items
Post# 1055609   12/26/2019 at 10:26 by fan-of-fans (Florida)        

Do you have a preference on this? Personally I like both depending on the style of the house. I notice many of the older 1920s era home here have painted trim. I'm not sure if it was ever stained or not, but I really like the tall baseboards and wide door and window trim. In the 1940s homes here the trim is usually about the same width as it is in newer ones.

I noticed in the 70s, stained trim seemed to be more popular going into the 80s. Where I live all of the trim is stained. It is a pretty nice grade, but it isn't particularly wide or tall. To me it does look nice though.

It seems to me most all the newer homes in Florida all have painted trim, and this is what I see on TV shows as well. Everyone seems to have been wanting painted trim for the last 15+ years or painting over existing natural wood trim.

I don't really get the obsession with painted trim, although I do like how newer homes have been going toward taller baseboards and more ornate trim. I was never a big fan of the plain clamshell trim that was used in a lot of 50s-80s homes here. In the 90s many started going with colonial style which to me is a lot better than the clamshell.

Ironically to me, I think the popularity of painted trim is mainly because it's cheaper. It can be cheaper grades of wood or MDF, and since that's what people see in new construction, then that's what they want. So HGTV tells everyone they need to paint it. Which to me is really ironic actually, because natural wood trim is usually actually a more expensive item than painted. lol

The other thing I see with stained trim is doors are a lot more expensive. If you want raised panel doors that are stained it's around $150-200 per door, because it has to be real wood. If you go with painted then you can get the raised panel masonite doors, which are much, much cheaper. But they don't accept stain, unless you use a gel stain. So I have actually seen some houses have natural wood trim but still use painted masonite doors. The only other alternative is to use flat luan doors which have pretty much gone out of fashion these days. Everyone uses the raised panel masonite ones.

Most of the houses in my neighborhood use painted trim, especially any built in the 1990s through the last few years. One house on my street was built in the 60s and remodeled and expanded in the early 90s. Whoever did it must have been a woodworker because all of the trim was custom natural wood with 6 panel doors and custom oak cabinets. My neighbor remodeled and expanded again in 2006 and they went with matching trim and doors, but used KraftMaid cabinets. I guess it would be considered dated these days but I really like the look of that house.

Post# 1055680 , Reply# 1   12/27/2019 at 00:24 by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

In the 70' and 80's they went with the horrible stained oak trim that was everywhere as it was a "contemporary" look.  In certain applications it worked, in most it just looked odd.  It really come down to the character of the home.


A traditional home generally has painted trim, many 3 1/2" base 2 5/8" case.  It's pretty nondescript. Shoe around wood or vinyl floors, none if carpeted.   More upscale looks use a much wider base and casing. Generally 5 1/2" base, 4" case.  Rule of thumb from designers is if the base is underwhelming and small paint it out same as the walls, if it's more substantial it can be painted an accent color, or a creamy white in a satin or semi gloss finish.

Post# 1055686 , Reply# 2   12/27/2019 at 01:05 by bradfordwhite (space coast)        

bradfordwhite's profile picture

I love the look of honey oak flat or raised panel cabinets with exposed mullion.  


If you are looking for wide woodwork..... or you want an easy way of getting the look, take a lead from set designers. 


Here on Will and Grace, they used a simple base molding, added about 10" of wall, and then installed a bead or trim molding.  Then they painted the whole thing the same color to make it look wide.


If you wanted to do a built-up oak one you could do similar but use a panel veneer for the 10" area and stain the whole thing the same color.

  View Full Size
Post# 1055687 , Reply# 3   12/27/2019 at 01:44 by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

lordkenmore's profile picture

For me, the best I can say is that it depends.


In the case of an old house, I'd generally prefer whatever is correct for the style. And I'd prefer "correct" (but be less concerned about it) in newer construction that emulates an older style.


But this is ideal. Real world may vary, depending on circumstances. If I got a "forever" home that had painted woodwork that should be a natural finish, I might consider refinishing. But if I thought I'd only be there 10 years, I'd be a lot less inclined to do much more than maybe slap on a coat of fresh paint.







Post# 1055690 , Reply# 4   12/27/2019 at 07:04 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

askolover's profile picture

My 1956 house had the trim natural with varnish when I moved was just too orange/yellow for my taste.  We ended up painting all of it white and it looks much better.

Post# 1055703 , Reply# 5   12/27/2019 at 09:14 by Iheartmaytag (Wichita, Kansas)        
My house has both

iheartmaytag's profile picture

Mine was built in 1935, and as was the custom in many depression era houses.  The public areas, Main living room, formal dining room, are Mahogany.  The private areas, like the bedrooms, bath and hallway is painted pine.



Post# 1055761 , Reply# 6   12/28/2019 at 04:12 by SudsMaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

sudsmaster's profile picture
In my experience a good paint will outlast most stains/varnishes. Especially if there is exposure to sunlight. However I agree a nice grade wood with a rich stain lends a certain character to a room that paint just can't match. But if the underlying wood doesn't have a good or uniform grain (as in patched or cobbled up wood pieces) then obviously paint is the best answer.

One apartment I rented in college had all the trim painted dark brown. I often wondered if there way any good wood that could be stained underneath it. But since it was a rental, and I was on a shoestring budget, I never bothered to find out. It bothered me at first but after a while I got to like the look. Best part is that it didn't show fingerprints/smudges, LOL.

Post# 1055777 , Reply# 7   12/28/2019 at 09:39 by polkanut (Wausau, WI )        

polkanut's profile picture

Our home which was built in 1925 (almost 95 yrs old) escaped having any of its trim painted by previous owners.  It is all wide quarter sawn pine.  My parents home which was built in 1922 has had all of the trim on the 1st floor painted.  Underneath it is red oak.  Dad did strip the trim in the kitchen though in 1972 when they did remodel, and that was enough for him.

Forum Index:       Other Forums:                      

Comes to the Rescue!

The Discuss-o-Mat has stopped, buzzer is sounding!!!
If you would like to reply to this thread please log-in...

Discuss-O-MAT Log-In

New Members
Click Here To Sign Up.

Discuss-o-Mat Forums
Vintage Brochures, Service and Owners Manuals
Fun Vintage Washer Ephemera
See It Wash!
Video Downloads
Audio Downloads
Picture of the Day
Patent of the Day
Photos of our Collections
The Old Aberdeen Farm
Vintage Service Manuals
Vintage washer/dryer/dishwasher to sell?
Technical/service questions?
Looking for Parts?
Website related questions?
Digital Millennium Copyright Act Policy
Our Privacy Policy