Picking the best paint for exterior wood trim can be a challenge. With so many different types of paints available for purchase, you can be left wondering if you made the proper selection. Skip the buyer’s remorse with our complete guide to the best exterior wood trim paint! You are going to learn exactly what exterior wood trim paint you can purchase today to attain the best-looking paint job in the neighborhood.
The Best Paint for Exterior Wood Trim
Not only do you want your exterior wood trim paint to have a professional look, but you also want the paint to handle the weather and elements that can affect it. You may even be looking for a pint that can hide set-in stains or minor imperfections. Not every exterior wood trim paint is made the same, with different formulas, drying times, and sheens. There are tons of variables that come into play. Here are our tops picks for the best exterior wood trim paint.
HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams Door and Trim Paint Satin White
This exterior wood trim paint withstands all weather conditions, stains, and scuffs with an acrylic urethane enamel. It has a non-yellowing formula and is easily cleaned up with soap and water. This stuff is so unique it leaves behind virtually no paintbrush marks for a simply smooth application. The best part is you can find this at most big box hardware stores and specialty paint stores.
HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams Weathershield Satin White Tintable Exterior Paint + Primer
If you have existing stains that you cannot remove, this exterior wood trim paint and primer duo hides these imperfections for a flawless finish. With a 100% acrylic formula, this exterior wood trim paint offers more protection and a longer-lasting finish. Find this exterior wood trim paint at any local hardware store or a Sherwin Willams paint store.
BEHR PRO e600 Tintable White Satin Enamel Exterior Paint
BEHR offers some of the highest quality paints available for purchase. This exterior wood trim paint has a pure acrylic formula with high resistance to mold and mildew, perfect for exterior trim. Being tintable, you can easily match or change your home’s exterior trim colors. It is simple to clean if a mistake is made using cloth, soap, and water. Find this exterior wood trim paint at any big-box hardware stores or paint shops.
Sherwin Williams Duration Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint
Formulated with their PermaLast technology and advanced acrylic co-polymers, this exterior wood trim paint is top-notch when looking for a long-lasting beautiful finish on all of your home’s exterior trim. It can hide old set-in stains and even cover old rust stains in a flash. Available in different sheens and colors, you can perfectly match any other of your home’s exterior with this excellent exterior wood trim paint. Find this paint online at Sherwin Williams or in-store.
Sherwin Williams Emerald Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint
This self-priming exterior wood trim paint provides a beautifully smooth finish and exceptional hide. It is resistant to dirt pick up, peeling, chipping and will stand the test of time in fewer coats with the all-in-one paint and primer. Available in multiple colors and sheens, this exterior wood trim paint will have your trim looking brand new. Find this exterior wood trim paint at the Sherwin Willaims store or order online.
Benjamin Moore Aura Grand Entrance Satin
This exterior paint by Benjamin Moore gives rich and luxurious paint with easy and smooth application. This paint is set to the touch in about 4 hours and is excellent at repelling all weather conditions. This paint is made with a Urethane Modified Waterborne Alkyd, making it a fantastic choice for cedar or redwood. Find this exterior wood trim paint at any hardware store that sells Benjamin Moore products or order online.
Tips from the Pros – Surface Preparation
Whether you are painting brand new exterior trim or trim that has been painted, aged, and now needs a fresh coat, you need to do some prep work to attain optimal results.
When painting brand new bare wood, you need to follow some steps to ensure your exterior wood trim paint can hold the sheen and withstand the weather and other conditions surrounding it.
Clean or pressure wash any wood that may have dirt or debris. To prep bare wood trim, you first need to fill holes or imperfections and caulk any joints created when laying down the new trim. For smaller holes, use exterior wood putty.
Next, lightly sand to make sure you get a smooth paint application. Prime the exterior trim using a paint-on primer. You could skip this step if you use an all-in-one paint and primer.
Note if you are priming cedar or redwood, it’s best to use an alkyd primer or a stain-blocking primer. These natural woods tend to bleed over time, causing staining or spotting on paints, so using the correct primer prevents this from occurring. Then paint your exterior trim.
Clean or pressure wash all of the trim surfaces. During this process, you may also find some pieces that need to be replaced, so its best not to skip this step!
Remove the existing paint on all the trim you want to paint. This may involve the use of wire brushing or sanding. This is important not only from an appearance standpoint, but this helps the exterior wood trim paint hold on to the trim increasing the durability.
Fill any holes or imperfections using exterior wood putty. Sand the trim pieces to knock off any splinters or rough patches. Prime with a stain-proof primer, or skip this if you plan to use an all-in-one paint and primer. Then paint your exterior trim.
How the Pros Pick the Right Materials for Painting Exterior Wood Trim
With spring right around the corner, touch-up paint jobs are in hot demand. But picking the right exterior wood trim paint for the job can leave you a bit confused. Here is how the pros do it.
Firstly when talking about exterior trim paint, it is best to start with the appropriate primer.
Cedar or Redwood
Cedar or Redwood requires a stain-proof primer before application of any exterior wood trim paint.
Because of the tannins in the wood, when moisture comes into contact, it can cause the wood to bleed through paints. Using a stain-proof primer dramatically reduced the risk of this from occurring.
Treated Wood should also be primed before applying trim paint. This makes the paint hold on to the surface for better adhesion and prevents the treated wood from soaking up to much exterior wood trim paint, making for some application inconsistencies.
A great tip would be to pick out the paint you want to use then purchase the manufactures recommended primer. This will ensure the paint lives up to its full expectations.
With so many exterior paints available, what is best when choosing an exterior wood trim paint? If you want your paint job to look like the pros did it, you must follow this simple baseline.
Satin finish paint is an excellent finish for exterior paint jobs. Satin finish looks like the pros did the painting and are easy to use and will apply buttery smooth. Industry professionals use a satin finish on exterior wood trim and view most other finishes for interior painting only.
Another popular finish for doors and trim is semi-gloss. Semi-gloss adds an additional level of durability and is easier to clean than a satin finish.
Acrylic or Latex
Use Acrylic or latex-based paints. Oil-based paints do not hold up long term, especially when you add in the weather conditions. Professionally speaking, you will get the best wear and look with acrylic or latex-based.
Oil-based paints tend to go on slightly smoother and have a higher initial sheen. But, they tend to fade and sull within a few years due to the sun’s rays and weather. So you could be repainting or refinishing your trim in less time than a good acrylic or latex paint.
Concluding the Best Paint for Exterior Wood Trim
A lot goes into picking the best paint for exterior wood trim. With these top picks and the best tips, you are sure to have professional-looking and durable exterior trim that can hold up against weather and aging.
While you’re using the best paint for exterior wood trim to freshen up your home’s exterior, you may discover that the whole house could use a fresh coat of paint as well. Check out our Guide to Sherwin Williams Exterior Paint Colors for inspiration.
Check out our Exterior Painting page for even more information on exterior painting, paints, and products.
I’ve been a professional painter since 2001 and spent the last 12 years specializing in kitchen cabinet refinishing. I started the DIY Painting Tips blog in 2015 to start sharing everything I’ve learned over the years and help all the people who’d rather tackle their painting projects themselves. In 2019 I started the DIY Painting Tips Youtube channel where I publish in depth videos all about kitchen cabinet painting, painting gear reviews, and interior/exterior tutorials.