A Complete Breakdown of Exterior House Trim Options

The right exterior house trim can provide an extra layer of protection against moisture and wind, as well as create the perfect finished look for your home. Advances in building material technology have paved the way for a variety of exterior trim board options.

This article will break down several product types on the market, as well as their potential pros and cons, to help you choose the one that you will be satisfied with for years to come.

Where do I Start?

When selecting a trim, it is important to choose a product that is not only beautiful but also meets the criteria you find essential as the homeowner. Consider the following questions before you begin shopping.

  • How much do you have budgeted?

  • Will you use a contractor, or do you plan to install the trim yourself?

  • Do you, or the contractor, have the appropriate tools for the job?

  • How much maintenance and repair are you willing, or able, to perform throughout the life of the product?

Which Trim is Right for My Home?

Wood

The most classic choice for exterior house trim is wood. Solid wood as well as composite options are available. Many homeowners prefer wood trim because of its natural look and feel but quality wood products are becoming scarcer, and therefore more expensive.

In addition, wood is prone to rot and insects, which means repair and replacement are more necessary than with other trim options.

Polymer

Polymer trim is manufactured by injecting a polypropylene resin into pre-formed molds of various sizes. On the plus side, polymer trim is easy to work with and easy to paint, which can save you time. However, it can be very costly to purchase and not suitable for areas with dramatic temperature changes due to its tendency to expand and contract.

Cellular PVC

Cellular PVC exterior house trim is manufactured from polyvinyl chloride and molded to various styles and sizes. It is easy to install using standard woodworking tools, but it tends to be on the higher end of the price spectrum. It is also not suitable for areas with dramatic temperature changes.

PVC and all plastic trims will expand and contract more than other trims so extreme cold and heat still remain a concern. Though the technology has improved over the years, there still are issues with PVC trim and heat.

This trim can be easily painted or simply used as is if you desire white. Painting PVC trim dark colors is not recommended.

Fiber Cement Trim


Fiber cement trim is one of the most stable and durable trims in the industry. It will not support combustion. It is also rot, insect and impact resistant. Because of this, there is less maintenance than other trims.

It comes primed and ready to paint or prefinished. Depending on the manufacturer, fiber cement trim comes with up to a 50 year warranty. While slightly more than primed wood trim and decidedly less than PVC trim, fiber cement trim is a solid choice for exterior trim.

All Trimmed Up


The right trim for your home can depend on several factors, including budget, climate, and personal taste. Wood exterior house trim is no longer the “go-to” product.

Consumers are turning to manufactured products more often due to their durability and low maintenance upkeep. With all the material, size, and color choices available, you are sure to find an exterior trim that fits your unique style and vision.

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