It’s kind of like when you paint the walls in a room. It changes the look and the feel of the whole room. It creates a new environment. When you update your wooden trim and molding the same thing happens. It gives the room a new look and feel. The first thing you need to do is to decide whether you want to take the molding down to refinish it or if you want to try to do refinish the molding while it is hanging on the wall.
It is easier to just take the trim and molding down to refinish it. If you try to do the refinishing with it still installed you take the chance of damaging the finish on your walls. If you do not plan on refinishing your walls it is really best to use a small pry bar to remove all of the trim and molding. Take it outside to your garage or work shop as this project can be a little messy and you don’t want to have the mess inside of your home.
Lay the trim and molding down face up on a long, clean surface such as a work bench. If you do not have a work bench use a 4 by 8 piece of ply wood set on two saw horses as a work area.
If your trim and molding has detail you do not want to sand the details off. You will need to use a paint remover to remove all of the old paint, poly, or varnish. If your trim and molding is flat and smooth you can use a rough grit sand paper to remove all of the old finish. Once you have sanded it with rough grit go over it again with fine grit to perfect the surface of the wood.
Dust the trim and molding off well with a clean dry cloth. Do this to remove all of the dust that remains if you sanded, or the dust from hanging on the walls if you didn’t sand.
Once the trim and molding pieces are all clean you can begin to apply the new finish. If you want to keep the natural wood look opt not to stain or paint and just apply polyurethane. To apply the poly use a clean foam paint brush. Do not shake or stir the polyurethane or air bubbles will be created. Apply two coats of poly waiting 2o minutes between coats. Allow the final coat of poly 12 hours to dry the rehang the trim and molding.
If you’d like to see some color on the tops and bottoms of your walls you can choose to paint your trim and molding. It can be painted using any color latex paint. Pour some paint into a paint tray and use a small soft paint brush to apply an even coat to each piece of wooden trim and molding. Allow the first coat of paint a half an hour to dry and apply another. The second coat of paint will ensure your color is full, rich, and even. Once the final coat of paint has been applied allow the trim and molding to dry for 12 hours. Bring the trim back inside and rehang it.
If you would rather stain your trim or molding to give it a wood look you can. Simply apply a stain color that you love to the trim and molding using a soft dry cloth. Wipe the stain off immediately after wiping it on using another cloth. If you let the stain set it will cause dark spots. You can choose to apply a coat of poly over the stain but it is not necessary. If you choose not to you can rehang the trim as soon as you are done applying the stain.