How To Paint Trim Without Brush Strokes?

How to Paint Trim Without Brush Strokes?

Last updated: 16 February, 2021

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Painting trim is crucial for interior decor! Here are all the tips and tricks that help you learn how to paint trim without brush strokes?

Overwhelmed by the idea of painting furniture and trim by yourself? Well, it's pretty simple to say but not to do. If you are not a pro painter or DIYer, you may not end up getting everything perfect.

Painting trim yourself is a fun activity and also helps you save a few bucks. Still, you will be investing your hard-earned money and precious time, of course not to see the untidy brush strokes for the next few months.

Whenever you see the perfect and smooth paintwork of an experienced or professional painter, you wonder how they do that? How to paint trim without brush strokes?

There are a few tips and tricks that might help you paint trim without brush strokes. There are various hacks for every step from preparation to finishing that help you get perfectly painted surfaces without streaks, visible imperfections, and brush strokes.

This guide comprises tips and tricks that will help you paint your doors and trims like a pro.

How to Paint Without Brush Strokes

Step 1- Preparation

Before you start painting, it is necessary to prepare the wood surfaces (trim). The dust, cracks, and rough edges, makes it harder to paint on the surface, ending up getting brush strokes and paint streaks.

  • Use a dusting cloth, brush, or vacuum to clean the trims and doors.

  • Carefully observe the surface under bright light, use hand-held light if necessary, and circle the cracks, blemishes, and rough surfaces.

  • Use a sanding block over uneven surfaces, hard edges, and old loose paint. It will help you get an even and smooth surface.

  • Carefully dust off the wood particles after the sanding process.

  • Fill the cracks (if any) and dents with a top-quality wood filler.

  • You can also use a spackling compound for smaller dents and gouges. Apply the successive coats of the spackling compound until you get an even and smooth surface. If you don't have both spackling compound and wood filler, you can use any one of them.

  • If you find large gaps(not cracks) between wood or wood and wall, a wood filler might not work. The best solution is to use a latex caulk. Latex caulk is usually available in handheld squeezable tubes. Apply painter’s tape across the edges of the wall to get a perfect finish.

  • Remember, it is ideal to use a latex caulk, but you can use a wood filler if you don't have it.

  • Finally, use 120-grit sandpaper to remove excessive caulk, wood filler, or spackling compound over the surface.

  • Apply a stain-sealing primer(primer) over the patched and filled areas. A train-sealing or blocking primer prevents the patches from shining out of the pained coat.

  • Apply the standard wood primer over the entire surface using a brush or roller.

Your trims are ready for a smooth and stroke-free paint-coat

Step 2- Choose the Paint And Tools

Decide the Paint

It is vital to choose the right type of paint for trim. The first thing you need to do is to buy paint labeled as “trim paint.”

As you are going to paint the areas like moldings, baseboards, and soffits, you need paint having sufficient strength to hold on to these places.

Trim Paints are more resistant to outdoor environments and wear and tear. Also, the trim paint has gloss in it. It means they have fewer spaces to attract dirt and debris.

Moreover, if you want to paint white, it is advised to buy paint with non-yellowing properties.

Trim paints have a tight molecular structure. However, if your budget is low, you can buy a good-quality ordinary paint to save a few dollars.

Majorly you have to choose between oil-based paints, or alkyd based paints, and latex or water-based paints. Both of them have their pros and cons.

Oil-based paints have been used for over centuries. Oil-based paints have a thick consistency and provide a silky smooth finish.

This is because oil-based paints have excellent leveling properties and relatively longer drying time.

Because they have a longer drying period, they perfectly fill all gaps, cover all the imperfections and dry out in a silky smooth uniform layer.

They are also more durable and long-lasting than water-based paints because they are resistant to moisture and wear and tear.

On the other hand, oil-based paints are difficult to apply. If your painting skills are not very strong, you cannot handle oil-based paint.

It also takes you longer to complete the process if you are using oil-based paint.

Conversely, water-based or latex paints are more easily applied. They have a relatively thin consistency, and you can quickly layout these paints with a brush. Moreover, they dry quickly and take less time to settle down.

These paints are ideal for beginners and less-experienced painters. However, it is hard to get a glossy and perfect finish like oil paints because of the thin consistency. Moreover, they are less resistant to moisture, sagging, and wear and tear.

Choose the Brush

Mainly there are two tools we use for painting a Paint Roller and Brush. It is recommended to buy a brush instead of a paint roller. Paint rollers are specialized tools for large surfaces like walls, ceilings, and doors.

They help you apply the paint more quickly, easily, and smoothly than a paintbrush. However, it is not ideal to use a paint roller to paint trims and cuts because of their large size.

Having said that, it is crucial to choose the best brush to paint the trim. It is recommended to buy a soft-bristled brush.

A soft-bristled brush aids you in applying paint with gentle pressure(key). in this way, you will get invisible or light brushstrokes, which are pretty easy to layer up.

Remember that these brushes won't work on harsh and rougher surfaces.

The shape of the brush is another important factor to consider. It is advised to get a paint-brush with an angled-tip instead of a square-shaped tip.

This is because it is easier to paint small and detailed surfaces with angled-tip brushes. You can also cut down your squared-tip brush to get an angled tip-do it only if you know how to?

A round-shaped brush is another great choice. These brushes are ideal for painting clean lines. Many professional DIYers and painters prefer round-shaped brushes for trim painting.

The size of the brush also matters a lot. A wider brush, greater than 3-inches, would make it harder to paint trims. It is recommended to get a relatively smaller brush between 2-2.5 inches for perfect trim paint results.

It is also better to invest in the quality brush. It may cost you a few extra dollars, but it will make your work convenient and perfect. You can carefully store these brushes for later use and your upcoming projects.

Step 3- Paint

It is the most difficult and time taking step of the entire process. Any carelessness in this step would cost you.

Here are a few tips and tricks you can apply to make your works perfect.

  • Whatever the paints and tools you are using, it is crucial to follow the guidelines provided by the manufacturer. It will help you get the best results from these products.

  • If you are using a water-based or latex paint, add a latex-based conditioner or extender to the paint. Altex extender will increase the dry time of the paint. It improves its consistency, enhances its leveling

    properties, and helps it get a smooth and better finish.
  • Once your paint is ready, dip the tip of your trim paint-brush up to 1-inches. Do not cover the whole brush with paint.

  • Gently take it out of the paint and tap the brush against the container’s wall to remove excess paint. This is a crucial step as it keeps the bristles fully loaded and removes the excess paint only. The excess paint can spread around and may result in paint streaks.

  • If you are using the brush for cutting in stroke, it is better to unload the corner bristles even more by gently dragging them against the rim of the container.

  • After successful loading, quickly unload the brush by applying successive strokes on the trim in the back and forth direction. Alternatively, use both corners of the brush to unload the paint evenly. This step is called “Lay On.”

  • The next step is “Lay Off.” Without loading your brush again, apply several brush strokes starting from an unpainted or dry area and dragging into the wet or painted area. Always apply gentle pressure while laying off the paint.

  • Never stay too long over a painted surface. This is probably the biggest mistake we make! Remember that paints start to settle down and dry quickly as you apply. If you keep working on painted surfaces for a long time, it will result in brush strokes, paint streaks, and rough surfaces.

  • Avoid applying brush strokes on already smooth and finished areas.

  • Never try to paint the whole trim in a go. Divide it into patches of few inches and keep on applying the paint in the same fashion

  • Be careful while applying paint on the edges. It is recommended to paint edges with semi-loaded bristles, especially corners, to avoid dripping and paint build up.


Painting trim without brush strokes could be challenging if you don't know how to do it. However, it is a skill, which needs practice to master. In short, you just need to choose the right paint and right type of brush and you are good to go. We are hopeful that our tips and guide will make it easier for you.




(Research Writer)

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