Author Topic: Looking for input on house remodel - white vs wood trim?  (Read 16076 times)

James

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Looking for input on house remodel - white vs wood trim?
« on: April 24, 2015, 09:27:08 AM »
Doing a whole house remodel, new windows, doors, trim, flooring, etc.


Trying to decide on a look, picking something that will look good and keep costs down. The windows are the biggest cost, going with white seems like the way to go. If I go with pine it costs a bit more, and then on top of that the finishing of the pine costs money.


So with the white windows, I had initially figured we would just go with white trim. But then I found out white pre-finished trim costs the same as white clear coated pine. And white 6 panel doors cost the same as pine 6 panel doors with clear coat.


So I guess the question is whether the white windows surrounded by clear coat pine trim would look fine. And second, if the pine would be better for resale than the white. We will be selling in 8-10 years, so keeping costs down while having it seen as value for buyers means a lot.


Finally, clear coat oak costs about 30% more for the doors and trim. Overall that doesn't add a tremendous amount to the remodel, so is that the way to go? Oak certainly "looks" more expensive, and is harder so it shows less wear, but spending more for oak just seems like a waste if we don't care much.


Thoughts? We live in the midwest, upper Wisconsin, so I don't know that there is any "standard" for what a nice house would have. But that is what I want, just the cheapest option for a "nice house", nothing super fancy but also nothing cheap. It is in a very nice neighborhood so quality will be expected when we sell, I can't go too cheap. And I do believe the whole remodel will mostly pay for itself when we sell, it is so old and dated right now it was a steal to purchase a couple years ago, and we want to make it nice while we live here the next 8-10 years.

BlueHouse

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Re: Looking for input on house remodel - white vs wood trim?
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2015, 09:45:10 AM »
I like white trim.  I think wood trim looks a bit dated and dingy and most people would want to paint it white.

For windows, do you mean vinyl vs. wood, or is the material of the window exactly the same and the color is the only difference?
 

Spork

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Re: Looking for input on house remodel - white vs wood trim?
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2015, 09:53:32 AM »
One other factor I would add:  I don't know if you're doing DIY or paying for someone to install it.  Painted trim takes significantly less skill to install than stained trim.  Paint and wood fill hide a lot.  If you're doing stain, you have to get it pretty exact or throw away the stick and start over.  In other words: it might be more than 30% more for materials.  You might use more material to have fewer joints and you might use more to cover mistakes.  Or if someone else is installing it, you might have to pay more for an experienced finish carpenter.

I went with white painted trim.  Partly this was because I liked the look.  Partly it was because my skill level is better suited to it.

James

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Re: Looking for input on house remodel - white vs wood trim?
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2015, 10:28:46 AM »
The windows are vinyl, I know that is a pretty big step down with stained or white painted wood, but the cost savings are pretty substantial between the cost of the window and the savings of finishing them.

My wife and I simply don't have a big preference between white or finished wood, so it is a tough call for us.

I am going with a carpenter to do the work. It is too much work to do myself, and for the value I would be better off picking up more work at my job than doing this myself. I would need to take time off to do it myself, and the lost salary would be far more than his expense. Life is crazy enough as it is for us right now, as much as I want to do it all myself that isn't going to happen. I have done carpentry and remodeling all my life, I have helped build a house from scratch and apprenticed as a plumber before college. It is just not practical for me to take this all on right now. :)

I have sent him an email asking if there is a difference in install cost between the painted or finished wood. For a professional doing the work I don't think the install cost between the two would be a big deal, but I could be wrong.

justajane

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Re: Looking for input on house remodel - white vs wood trim?
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2015, 10:36:32 AM »
What is the vintage of your home? That might matter to the look of things. We have a 1920s bungalow, and lots of people around here (lower Midwest) like to strip the trim and stain it dark. It does look nice, even though technically it is not actually period specific. The trim in these homes was cheap wood and intended to be painted from the beginning.

The only stained trim that I like is dark. It looks classy, whereas I think light stained trim (or clear stained) looks cheap and somewhat builder grade. It also tends to look country or rustic IMO, whereas dark trim hearkens back to the wood paneled look of more expensive homes. I personally prefer painted white trim, in large part because it brightens up the room. Rooms with lots of dark trim can tend to look dreary.

The main perk of stained trim is that it would wear better. White trim shows dust, scuffs and other imperfections, and tends to need to be touched up every few decades. That is an ordeal to re-paint white trim.

partgypsy

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Re: Looking for input on house remodel - white vs wood trim?
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2015, 11:04:58 AM »
What is the vintage of your home? That might matter to the look of things. We have a 1920s bungalow, and lots of people around here (lower Midwest) like to strip the trim and stain it dark. It does look nice, even though technically it is not actually period specific. The trim in these homes was cheap wood and intended to be painted from the beginning.

The only stained trim that I like is dark. It looks classy, whereas I think light stained trim (or clear stained) looks cheap and somewhat builder grade. It also tends to look country or rustic IMO, whereas dark trim hearkens back to the wood paneled look of more expensive homes. I personally prefer painted white trim, in large part because it brightens up the room. Rooms with lots of dark trim can tend to look dreary.

The main perk of stained trim is that it would wear better. White trim shows dust, scuffs and other imperfections, and tends to need to be touched up every few decades. That is an ordeal to re-paint white trim.

If you already have the white windows, get white or off white to match.

James

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Re: Looking for input on house remodel - white vs wood trim?
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2015, 11:08:00 AM »
The house is typical suburban split level house. We are in a small town in northern Wisconsin, the overall style fitting with the house doesn't matter too much. We are taking out a wall to open up the kitchen, so we are changing the style a bit anyway, and I don't think the style of the house leads to a particular trim. We are planning on just the flat trim, not router-ed with curves, so that will give it a more modern look and possibly look better painted?

My wife and I don't like dark stained trim, so that wouldn't be an option. I do get your point about the clear finish for wood maybe looking "builder grade", but it's not a big concern to us as long as it looked good.

To me it is the finished wood paneled doors that always gave the look of quality, seeing the wood shows it is solid wood and painted white doors always seemed "cheap" to me, but that probably is just me. Maybe I could go with the clear finished wood panel door with wood trim around it, but white painted base board and white trim around the windows?
« Last Edit: April 24, 2015, 11:10:19 AM by James »

QajakBoy

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Re: Looking for input on house remodel - white vs wood trim?
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2015, 11:16:29 AM »
Since you plan on installing white vinyl windows I would go with white trim.  And to me that would also mean white trim (doors and baseboards etc) throughout the house.
Wood finish trim around a white window would just look weird to me, but maybe that's just me!
I agree with Spork that wood finish trim is more work.  I installed wood finish trim on my wood finish replacement windows a few years back.  The previous windows were painted.  Installing the new wood finish trim was the hardest part!

velocistar237

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Re: Looking for input on house remodel - white vs wood trim?
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2015, 11:20:19 AM »
If you have wood floors and wood furniture, wood trim might be too much.

Consider how the appearance would fit with the rest of your house, your furnishings, etc.

Wood doors work well with white trim. Search online for "wood door white trim," and you'll find a lot of pictures.

White vinyl windows work with wood trim, but not as well as wood doors with white trim.

I hate cheap doors. I bought two solid wood doors to replace the only cheap doors in my home. Sadly, they've been sitting in my basement for a year. Good on you for getting it taken care of.

SomedayStache

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Re: Looking for input on house remodel - white vs wood trim?
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2015, 11:20:42 AM »
I vote white!

My parents are quintessential DIYers and always always always chose wood.  Then anytime they had to redo or refinish or fix something they had to jump through hoops to make any newly added wood match the old wood.  With paint you just take a sample of the old stuff down to Lowe's and they'll paint match it for you.  Plus white does look more modern.  Though in 8 to 10 years who knows.  The white painted look may be dated and out of fashion by then. 

Noahjoe

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Re: Looking for input on house remodel - white vs wood trim?
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2015, 11:26:12 AM »
I have cherry around my white vinyl windows.  with a shade/window covering on it, you don't see much of the window. I thought it would look terrible too, but it looks fantastic with wood.  The white is a monster to maintain, and I'd not recommend it. I'd also go oak, as it will dress it up nicely. Don't do clear/honey oak though, unless you want it to look like pre-finished trim from Menards.

You can also do oak doors for the same price as pine, and if you get them during a 15% sale from a Menards they're really reasonable.  I'll also say that buying a prefinished door is absolutely worth the $75 premium. 3-4 coats of polyurethane on BOTH sides takes days and is especially hard to do well if the door is already hung. The factory coats are also much more durable.

JoeP

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Re: Looking for input on house remodel - white vs wood trim?
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2015, 11:27:26 AM »
In my area you can also by MDF that has been shaped to look like painted wood trim which is cheaper than painted solid wood trim or solid unfinished pine.  MDF does require a bit of finessing when you install it since nail holes sometimes dimple outward if driven too deep etc.  I would buy a sample of each and put it up against the window and see what you like.  You are going to be staring at it everyday so make sure you are happy with whatever you do.

And solid pine can be stained to look like any other type of wood including the grain pattern but it does require the proper technique or it winds up looking terrible.  YouTube has tons of videos on MDF trim installation and wood faux grain staining.

James

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Re: Looking for input on house remodel - white vs wood trim?
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2015, 12:00:07 PM »
In my area you can also by MDF that has been shaped to look like painted wood trim which is cheaper than painted solid wood trim or solid unfinished pine.  MDF does require a bit of finessing when you install it since nail holes sometimes dimple outward if driven too deep etc.  I would buy a sample of each and put it up against the window and see what you like.  You are going to be staring at it everyday so make sure you are happy with whatever you do.

And solid pine can be stained to look like any other type of wood including the grain pattern but it does require the proper technique or it winds up looking terrible.  YouTube has tons of videos on MDF trim installation and wood faux grain staining.

The pre-finished white trim we are looking at would be MDF, but it is the same cost as pre-finished pine. Unfortunately I can't do much to see what it would look like in the house because everything in the house is getting replaced. New windows, new trim, new paint, new floors, etc. I have to simply look in the showrooms to see what we might like, even though that isn't as good as looking at things at home.

I won't be doing any of the work myself, so anything that takes labor is a big increase in price. Whatever I get will be pre-finished from the factory, both to save costs and to have a better/stronger finish.

The doors we are looking at would be a special MDF if we go with the white painted finish. They are very solid and very heavy, so they feel like good quality, and since it is MDF there is no cracks where the panels are and the finish is perfect. Much better than painting a pine panel door white...

Brian5000

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Re: Looking for input on house remodel - white vs wood trim?
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2015, 12:17:46 PM »
When I bought and moved into my current condo, I had all of the wood-colored trim re-painted white. Note that you'll need to get all the interior doors painted the same color as your trim.

For White vs Wood color, white seems more versatile as it can support both modern and traditional interior styles. Wood reminds me of my parents (old) house and only works for more traditional interior design. My place is quite modern (satin nickel, glass, mirrored, modern finishes) so it looks better with the white trim.

I would go with white for the versatility unless you think Wisconsinite buyers will prefer a more traditional look.

Dee18

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Re: Looking for input on house remodel - white vs wood trim?
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2015, 01:56:13 PM »
 I would go with white.  If you want more professional advice on such choices, check out Maria Killam's website and blog.

smilla

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Re: Looking for input on house remodel - white vs wood trim?
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2015, 07:32:36 PM »
I have MDF trim and I find it extremely high maintenance; I would never choose it.  Any bump or bang and it can chip or even break off in chunks which leaves noticeable ugly brown scars, and because it is fibreboard and therefore rough and fibrous where it chips, repairs require more than a lick of paint. 

I vote you go with the pine and if you later want it white, paint it, but stained wood is the least maintenance because dings and dents don't require repairs, they just add charm :)
I also think white windows trimmed with wood are fine, as are white doors with wood trim or vice versa, but I would stick with one kind of trim throughout.

Disclaimers: 
1. My house is 5+ years old so maybe the MDF trim is better quality these days.
2. I may be especially clumsy, probably I am.

geekette

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Re: Looking for input on house remodel - white vs wood trim?
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2015, 07:52:02 PM »
We have medium oak with white six panel doors. We bought this house specifically for the numerous windows and stained trim.

If you don't care, then stick with the herd, especially since you are planning on selling. I'll bet if we sold now, the new owners would just come in and slap white all over everything.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2015, 08:56:05 PM by geekette »

kindviking

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Re: Looking for input on house remodel - white vs wood trim?
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2015, 08:48:53 PM »
With white vinyl windows and with hiring the work out, white trim is the way to go. Vinyl + wood doesn't look quite right, and paying someone to finish wood isn't cheap.

James

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Re: Looking for input on house remodel - white vs wood trim?
« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2015, 09:16:16 AM »
I greatly appreciate all the input. In talking to others and the comments here, we are leaning away from pine because of the "country" look it might have. We want a more modern look and pine doesn't have it. So I am leaning toward white trim, but a wood panel oak door either clear coated or stained. I think having that solid oak door give a little variety and indicates quality, without adding a lot of expense, about $300 for all the doors to be oak instead of white. The fact that so many here suggest white lets me think it is ok, I was worried white would give a "cheap" appearance, but realizing that is just personal history and not based on anything real.


The MDF is a lot more solid than in the past, the MDF doors we are looking at have a really solid surface and heavy weight. I assume the trim is the same, it is from the same company, but I will ask. damaging them would take an awful lot, but I agree repair would be more complex.

Spork

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Re: Looking for input on house remodel - white vs wood trim?
« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2015, 09:45:18 AM »

The MDF is a lot more solid than in the past, the MDF doors we are looking at have a really solid surface and heavy weight. I assume the trim is the same, it is from the same company, but I will ask. damaging them would take an awful lot, but I agree repair would be more complex.

For what it's worth: There was some poopooing of MDF upthread, but I'm going to say I think it is at least as tough as straight pine.  All my trim is finger jointed pine and it is quite prone to denting if given a good whack.  You won't dent the moldings with a vaccuum cleaner, but careless furniture moving will certainly do it.

I'm wondering if the MDF warnings might actually be referring to the extremely light weight product I see at Lowes/Depot.  It looks like it's actually compressed paper with a slightly toughened skin on it.  (And I would stay away from that.)  But I suspect MDF is fine.