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Exterior House Painting Tips - More Facing Off

Posted by: Heidi Nyline

I am going back to this subject because it is exterior painting season and this is an important tip for when you are getting your house painted.

There are two ways to paint the trim of your house. One is called facing off, which is essentially only painting the front of the trim board and leaving the edges the same colour as the main body of the house. The other is called wrapping around, which is taking the trim colour all the way around the trim board to cover the exposed edges of the trim board. Take a look at the photos below to see what I mean.

This is facing off. Easily done by just rolling of the front of the trim.


This is wrapping around. It requires cutting in along the stucco.

So why is this important? Because facing off is quick and easy to do and is often called a "painter's cheat" because it can strip hours off of the time it takes to do an exterior paint job. It is especially easy when the main field of the house (your walls) are being sprayed. Wrapping the paint around requires cutting in along all the trim and it takes more time and more skill to do.
Before you start getting estimates for the exterior painting of your house, look at the trim and see how it has been painted. When you meet with your paint contractor to discuss the job make sure you are clear how you want the trim painted. It might not be a big deal for you, which means facing off could potentially save you a chunk of money on the exterior painting. It might also be something that the painter was hoping you wouldn't notice so he could then come in with a lowball price.
Don't let a painter tell you that it looks better faced off because you can't get a straight line when you cut in, because of siding, shingles or stucco. That isn't true. It just requires a better painter.
And if you are part of a committee or strata council that is getting estimates for the exterior painting of your complex, make sure the bid tender outlines whether the trim is to be faced off or wrapped around. This can make a big difference on price in a large multi-unit housing complex. It is not uncommon in large complexes to see a mix of both wrapping around and facing off in painting, either as a result of multiple paint contractors working on different buildings or painters just simply looking to cut corners. The key is to have consistency.

Posted by: Heidi Nyline
Thanks for stopping by Rick. I appreciate you commenting. I find it interesting the different takes on this. I have a 90 year old master painter alive and kicking in my family and he greatly disagrees that facing off the traditional, master painter way. While both are acceptable, he agrees with me that wrapping around it a sign of a skilled painter, definitely not a DIYer. If I walk around the expensive neighbourhoods in my city, you won''t see many houses faced off.
Posted by: rick
sorry heidi... but facing off, IS the accepted practice. We''ve been doing it this way for centuries. ( I was trained and taught by master painters from usa & europe) [they would tell me - I''ve forgotten more, than you know now - they were right. and now ''they'' are all 75+yrs old (or dead).] you can paint the edges if you want to... but when i see that done, I think DIYer. oh well!... rick j (learning & painting since 1968)
Posted by: Jil
I absolutely adore your post! As a designer who specifys colours and painters, this is something that I need to know - but didn''t! Thanks so much for opening my eyes to the subtle, but big differences, that can really influence quotes.

Posted by: Wholesale Cotton Bags
I am very delighted to reading after this blog. It has great contents which is informative and useful same time.


Thanks Elise.

Posted by: canyon painting
So u say wrapping is a better look or...i guess if u can do it on budget and it looks good then thats what sets a professional apart from a DIY. but doesn't wrapping go against the KISS theory?(keep it simple stupid)


I am not sure that the KISS theory is a good reason to not do a job the better way. We always recommend wrapping around the painting of trim.

Posted by: John Johnson
I always wrap. I have always considered facing off as a rookie or homeowner job. If it's already faced off I will face it off also. but if I am the original painter I will always wrap around. Great Blog, John Brilliant Coatings Painting Co.


Thanks for stopping by John. Hopefully we will see you back soon.

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