Goodbye 1990’s Orange Oak & Hello White Trim!
I’m not sure who started the fad of orange oak in the 1990’s but I’m pretty sure I’ve called him every name in the book over this past year of ridding our home of this plague. Between the floors, windows, trim, doors and cabinets there was no escaping the orange oak monster in our house and I yearned for it to be white and bright. I knew that a de-oaking was needed but convincing my husband of that fact was step one. Thankfully, when we were doing our daughter’s nursery the baseboard needed to be replaced and my husband agreed that white trim in a baby girl’s room was the right move. As soon as it was completed, he saw the transformation and was on board with my large scale plan.
We did one room at a time and made our way around the house. Starting first in the upstairs, then the basement and then the main floor. We did the main floor last because with the rooms being open to one another, they all had to be done at the same time. It was a big job that I wanted to put off until the end. Starting first in smaller rooms gave us time to practice the steps and gain confidence in our ability to finish it all.
Process & Supplies
Due to the condition of the trim, we had to replace it all which gave us the chance to go with a more detailed baseboard. We choose a primed pine baseboard which I gave 2 coats of paint before installing. For the window sills, I sanded them down with an electric hand sander, primed them with Kilz primer and painted with a high-gloss white trim paint. I choose high-gloss so that I can easily wipe it down when needed. (Note: High-gloss is great for cleaning but it does show every imperfection. I would not recommend it for larger areas like cabinets.) I also used a fast dry, paintable caulk for the joints, seams and nail holes to give it a more seamless look. After caulking, I did another quick coat of paint over it.
If our trim would have been in better shape, this job would have been much faster to just paint one room at a time instead of replacing. It also would save you quite a bit of money. The baseboard we went with was $1.97 a foot. Certainly not the cheapest they had but definitely not the most expensive. It begins to add up when you do the entire house.
The absolute worst part of the entire job was the stair railings. Honestly, it’s just a horribly time consuming job. After the cleaning and sanding, I found that it took me 10 minutes per spindle, per coat. With a coat of primer and 3 coats of paint, I basically painted spindles for an eternity. But, again, SO worth it!
Here are the steps we followed:
- Remove all existing trim
- Diagram the room with exact measurements
- Purchase trim
- Remeasure walls
- Cut Trim
- Test the cut pieces in the room to make sure everything fit correctly
- Paint trim (2 coats)
- Install trim
- Fill nails holes and seams with caulk
- Final coat of paint
We found we could do a room in a weekend. Friday we would do all of the prep, Saturday we would cut and paint, and then on Sunday we would install, caulk and finish painting. It’s a full weekend when you also have kids to chase and other tasks to do, but it worked for us. Doing one room per weekend does make this a long process, but our weeks are too busy to try and do renovations on top of everything else. There were definitely times that a room took 2 weekends when we were repainting the walls as well. This was a several month long process for us to do the entire house.
If you are on the fence about whether or not to paint your oak trim – DO IT! I feel like our house was instantly transported into this century while still keeping a classic look. White trim has been around forever so it’s not a fad that you will have to update 10 years down the road. It’s a daunting project to start but you will love the results. Just dive in. If you are unsure of what it will take or if you will like it, start with one small room. Even a half bathroom. Seeing the transformation for yourself will get you excited to keep moving ahead.
While we’ve done a ton of work to de-oak our house, it’s not over yet. I saved the largest job, our kitchen, for last. It’s an intimidating process to start! It’s one of those projects that you can’t jump in halfway – once you start, you have to keep moving. I’ll post updates and tips as I go.
Have you ever taken on the de-oak challenge? Do you have any tips or advice to share?