Best Paint For Trim, Windows, Doors, And Baseboards

It is not easy to take on painting projects at home, but having the best paint for trim that meets your needs can make a big difference.

Quality trim paint should be cost-effective. Don’t necessarily go for the cheapest that you can get your hands on but there is no need to break the bank either – go for something in the $40 to $80 range to get that ideal balance between doing the job well and not making you have to tighten your belt for the next month or so.

When it comes to choosing the best paint for interior trim to paint your home, there are a lot of options available. Rust-Oleum’s paints were recommended to me by a friend and I am glad that I listened to them!

Best Paint For Trim = Rust-Oleum White Door Paint

these are the results after painting our door and interior trim with the Best Paint For Doors And Trim


  • Oil-based. Semi-gloss with a low VOC rating. This makes for an environmentally-friendly paint. 
  • Low sheen look with a satin finish. This makes for a really professional presentation.
  • Multiple possible material applications such as metal, wood and fiberglass. 
  • Resistant to the elements. This is ideal for outdoor and high-use projects in particular.

What I Thought About The Best Paint For Trim

I decided that it was best to sand the door down before working, inside and out. While I’d seen a few reviews stating that it isn’t necessary to do this with oil-based paints, I decided that there was no harm in giving the paint the best possible surface to begin with.

As a thick paint, it definitely needed thoroughly stirring before use. It is this thickness that made for a really smooth application, with a good load on the roller lessening how often I needed to top it up.   

While it was initially a little tacky after it had dried, a quick rub down with a damp cloth followed by another coat soon left it with a lovely polished sheen, not a brush stroke in sight and a lovely subtle shine that really complements the door as a whole.

I personally used a roller due to the fact that I were working on a door rather than something smaller like a cabinet or coffee table.

The nature of oil-based paint means that the likelihood of drips and splatters is far less than if I were using a paint that is water-based. While it is a one-coat paint by design, I always prefer to do more than one coat out of habit. 


  • Available in black, cranberry, dark brown and Vermont green as well as white. 
  • Durable when it comes to dealing with routine wear and tear.
  • No visible brush strokes. More so if using a roller and multiple layers.
  • Rust-resistant. This is ideal particularly if painting or in contact with metal.


  • Strong odor when drying. If painting outdoors, this is not so bad. That said, if you are painting indoors, make sure to have as much ventilation as possible. 
  • Risk of streaks if using a brush – try the best paint roller for textured walls.
  • It may take more than one layer depending on the texture of the surface that you are painting and the material in question. Preparing the surface can help a lot in this regard.

Choosing The Best Paint For Trim – The Ultimate Guide

Water-based or oil-based paint

When it comes to choosing between the right type of paint for you and your house, the two main contenders in the market are oil-based and water-based.

Water-based paints are easier to clean up after, although there is a risk of it appearing to sag if there are blobs and unevenness in the paint if it hasn’t been mixed correctly.

With oil-based paint, it is as close as you can get to being stroke-free and it is also more resistant to moisture.

Oil-based paints dry by exposure to oxygen in the air and water-based paints dry by evaporation. This has an impact on the drying time with water-based paints drying significantly quicker, both to the touch, when it is ready for a recoat and when it has fully set.    

Why the best paint for trim is white

Now, when it comes to picking trim paint, there are a whole range of colors to choose from, including custom, to fit your household. But white is enduringly popular.

Why is that? First of all, white has a classical appeal and easily pairs with just about any other aesthetic and palette that you decide to go for.

White helps to diffuse and reflect light around your room to balance it, creating a better atmosphere to make it all the more appealing to relax in.

White paired with a subtle undertone can also complement the room: opt for eggshell for warmth or blue for coolness, for example.

Importance of semi-gloss

Gloss, when used to describe paints, refers to the thin layer that forms on the surface of the paint. It is durable, appealing visually and easy to clean without being too shiny.

It is scrubbable, wipeable and above all else, protects the paint underneath from your cleaning efforts – no excuse!

The gloss will also help to bounce the light around the room better, making it appear brighter and more inviting. 

Unlike other types of paint like flat or matte, semi-gloss paint goes on smoothly and dramatically lessens the appearance of brush marks.

Avoiding brush marks

Brush marks are the worst enemy of home painters everywhere. What should be a flawless wall or feature of color becomes streaked and uneven.

To avoid streaks when it comes to using trim paint, oil-based paints are the way to go. The slightly thicker nature of this type of paint evens out the strokes as you go, erasing any brush strokes as it dries. Something that is definitely worth the longer drying time!

The flatter look to the sheen of the paint means that there will be fewer marks visible after it dries.

This is much better than water-based paint, which has the increased risk of forming ‘blobs’ and having an uneven surface.      

What does VOC mean?

VOC refers to volatile organic compounds. VOCs can be both man-made and naturally-occurring but regardless, while they are fairly harmless upon first application in the case of paints, they do gradually ‘leak’ over time and release chemical compounds into the air. 

Some VOCs are even carcinogenic and a range of ailments are associated with them including headaches, nausea and dizziness. This is the result of the compound converting to a gas at its particular and often low boiling point.

Generally speaking, the lower the VOC rating of your trim paint, the better!

You have all the information now to make your own decision on what paint best suits your needs. No matter what trim paint you decide to go with, painting your home rather than paying someone else to do it will always save you money!