What are ways a painter would prep trim before repainting? This home has seen its fair share of paint coatings over the years and the last coat was a bit glossy and imperfections all shows so much. I tried a sandpaper block but it didn't seem to do all that much.

This is a rental unit and most people would just slap a new coat of paint on and keep going. I figure I may as well try to spend some extra time prepping it best I can before repainting so it looks somewhat better, and I won't be using such a glossy paint.

No clue if the paint will get all gummy if I use a sander and it heats up or what.

Curious what professional painters do? I'm not looking to strip it down to bare wood, or replace it. Just a few sessions of extra elbow grease to get it looking slightly better than it is. What are my options?enter image description here

2 Answers 2


Options are … sand it, sand it, or sand it.
Variations are … struggle with a loose piece of sandpaper, use a sponge block rather than hard block, or mould a form [only the very dedicated need apply].

Extra work but better result would be to strip it & fill it as necessary… which would still involve sanding.

Econo-rental equivalent - use matt paint.

I'd just embrace its Victoriana [though I'd be looking maybe at eggshell/satin, not full gloss.]
No-one expects Victorian architrave to look perfect. In fact it looks oddly 'wrong' if it is - you think someone's cheated & replaced it.

  • Yes, sand it, sandit, and sand it.
    – JACK
    Apr 9, 2023 at 17:01
  • Sanding it is! No easy way around it I guess.
    – RocketManZ
    Apr 10, 2023 at 3:52

I have had to do this on many homes and rentals. My choice of product is the abrasive pads such as these. ( not an endorsement of the manufacturer or supplier, only an example of product type)

They conform to the profile of the trim and come in different abrasives. Use them doubled over and with light pressure.

Do yourself a favor and use a semi-gloss paint, or you will be repainting after every tenant rather than just cleaning the trim.

  • Thanks for the tip. I’ve used these for automotive and boat painting but never in a house. I’ll give them a shot. Hoping semi gloss doesn’t show too much imperfection but I know from experience it is way more durable than flat so I’ll probably just sand best I can and get some semi gloss on.
    – RocketManZ
    Apr 10, 2023 at 3:51
  • Is there a name for the abrasive pads you mention? Your link got eaten by the RADS referral grue and since that's blocked here I can't see what thing you are recommending. Cheers!
    – bertieb
    Apr 10, 2023 at 13:06
  • I buy them at any of the bigbox stores in the painting section or on the site with the name of a rainforest under scuff pads.
    – RMDman
    Apr 10, 2023 at 14:45
  • scuff pads! thanks :)
    – bertieb
    Apr 10, 2023 at 16:03
  • Thanks @RMDman. Any tips on paint you use on the trim, walls, ceiling, along with the different finishes and all? This is my first go with a rental and have some ideas of what will work, but there is plenty of conflicting info once you start digging into opinions.
    – RocketManZ
    Apr 11, 2023 at 21:21

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