- After completing the trim, you will paint any moldings, from the top down. This prevents the potential for kicking into or dripping onto finished trim while you are up on the ladder. So, paint cornice moldings first, then plate rail moldings, then chair moldings, and then baseboard moldings.
- If you are painting the floor, it is the last part of the room to be painted. Be prepared to touch up baseboards after completing the floor.
- When all coats of your paint finish are completely dry, you can apply a protective top coat if you like. Types of protective top coats include varnishes, shellac, and lacquer. A top coat is recommended in high traffic areas such as hallways, or in rooms with a lot of moisture like bathrooms and kitchens.
A protective top coat is also recommended if you have used a diluted water-based paint as your finish (as with color washing or fresco techniques), or if you have stenciled, stamped, or hand painted a design with acrylic paints. If you are covering a design with varnish, you should use a matte varnish, which dries invisible, unless you want a glossy finish.
You also may want to coat natural or painted wood with a shellac or lacquer. Lacquers and shellacs are spiritor alcohol-based varnishes used to seal wood or create a slick final finish on surfaces such as trim and furniture.
Lacquer can be clear, or some products, such as Minwax Polyshades, contain both a colored stain and a lacquer top coat. These all-in-one products can be used to deepen the color of natural wood, create a simulated wood grain, or add color to a piece of unfinished wood.
To apply a lacquer containing stain, be sure to use long, steady strokes to simulate the look of grain. You will need to apply multiple coats of lacquer to your surface. Since it is a very thin varnish, sand the surface in between coats with extra-fine steel wool or 400 sand papers.