Should we sand or strip trim painting?

paint stripped

Should we sand or strip trim painting?

Every so often, we need to revive wood trim by removing several layers of old paint. When you paint and repaint enough times, a trim’s original appearance begins to lose its details and contours, detracting from its original beauty and craftsmanship.

To restore the trim, we face a dilemma – do we strip or sand the paint off to not damage the wood trim underneath.

Sanding or Stripping?

Whether we sand or strip trim molding depends a lot on the condition of the paint. About 90% of the time, careful sanding and hand-scraping is sufficient. Stripping is usually only required when the paint is peeling or badly cracked.


Sanding is what it says. We sand down the paint, either by hand or using a sander. The condition of the paint, including how many layers there are, determine how we sand. Also, we usually do some hand-scraping as well as sanding.

Newer homes typically have fewer paint layers. The fewer the layers, the faster we can sand off or scrape the paint to proceed with the rest of the prep work.

However, if the paint is compromised, flaking, or peeling, sanding would probably not be our first step.


In certain instances, we decide to strip the paint from wood trim. When there is peeling paint, it’s the best method to protect the trim’s underlying integrity. Stripping paint can be a tedious job that takes time and must be done very carefully, preferably by an experienced professional.

If the home is older than 1978, its paint could contain lead. Before stripping, it’s usually necessary to test for its presence. Working with lead paint can be a serious health hazard for our crew and the home’s residents. There are federal regulations and guidelines for handling lead paint. Only a reputable and experienced painting contractor should handle lead paint in a home.


If you have a painting project in your home that you would like assessed, we would be happy to provide a free assessment and estimate. Please contact our office to schedule an appointment.

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