Painting oak trim white is one of the most difficult things to paint DIY. Either you have bleed through of the tannin oils or the grain causes the trim to come out not smooth at all.
There are several solutions to these problems. Some of them take WAY too much work and some just give better results.
Options To Reducing The Grain
Reducing the grain seems to be the largest concern of most homeowners doing a DIY project. Its not easy to know which options to take to meet your expectations of smooth white painted oak trim.
- The first option you may see on the internet is to use patching compound. This is usually not a feasible option as you will never get that rough of a surface patched over the entire surface and completely sanded down. If you are doing only a small room and want to very slowly do all the rooms one by one then this could be an option for a stay at home mom that is really efficient with her time.
- Sanding between each coat is another option. This is also not a time saver, but the effort can be scaled to your expectations. Using a sandable primer over your initial bonding primer to help with this process.
- Primers are an important step in ensuring that you get a smooth surface on your painted oak trim. First, you will need a primer that will block the tannin oils from bleeding through. This can be done with BIN Primer, oil primer, and very high quality acrylic primers. Second, an additional coat of primer will ensure that the bleed through does not come back. Typically you can use a separate primer for the second coat to achieve what the first primer didn’t. If you choose an oil primer for the first coat, an acrylic primer for the second coat will usually smooth the surface like the oil primer won’t.Using topcoats that level out well will also serve a purpose in achieving a good smooth finish on your oak trim. The best option is a waterbased alkyd. Waterbased alkyd trim paints will level out on the rough surface the best and also help to block the tannin oils from bleeding through days later.
Painting Oak Trim Tips
Ultimately, painting oak trim is very difficult no matter how you go about it. Most of it depends on the grade of trim you have and how well it was sealed after the staining process. Some trim seems more difficult to paint than it looks and some oak trim paints very well. There are different species of oak; red oak and white oak. Generally, the rougher oak trim is red oak. With red oak we generally use an oil based primer, then an acrylic primer followed by two coats of a waterbased alkyd trim paint.