Rot Repair

Replace wood trim with PVC

Trim Matters

Wood trim rots. If you’re getting your house ready for sale (or just maintaining it) replacing rotten trim alone or as part of an exterior paint job is really important. Don’t waste the opportunity: choose PVC!

The Problem

Your house does a lot, perhaps most importantly it keeps out water. Water is the most important element to control because water is so damaging to the structure of your home. A roof that leaks or a window that leaks quickly becomes a rotten beam, a rotten sill, cracked plaster, stained walls, rotten siding. But even the best water management system (the roof, the siding, the underlayments, and barriers) breaks down over time. Usually, wood trim is the most susceptible and rots first here in the Northeast.

Most of the homes in the area were constructed with wood trim and wood siding. Wood that comes from trees that were harvested until about the 1960s was often from durable, dense old-growth wood. But younger wood trim and siding is less dense and more prone to rot. Untreated, recently installed pine trim will rot through in a few months, so we treat it by priming and painting it. Even with these steps, though, wood today just can’t stand up to moisture!

The Solution

Enter PVC or plastic/synthetic trim materials like Azek. INSTALL IT! Often, when people are getting ready to list their homes for sale, they are less inclined to spend extra money for more durable fixes. And a fresh coat of exterior paint — a must for most homes prior to listing — usually includes “repairing rotten trim”. Your painting contractor wants to win the job with a bid that feels affordable to you, so unless you ask, they’ll be installing the cheapest trim available: wood, or worse, “finger jointed” wood trim around your windows, on rake boards, soffits, fascias, anywhere it needs replacing.

But we beg you, pay the extra, maybe 50% on materials, the labor of installing PVC is the same as wood. It may mean replacing a whole board or length of trim rather than a cut piece, but it will be worth it. Not only will it provide long-lasting, maintenance-free trim for your buyer, but inspectors LOVE it! PVC trim looks like wood, is paintable like wood, and won’t disintegrate over time.

Why else should you replace your rotting wood trim with PVC? Your house will thank you whether you own it for another few decades or few weeks. Even if this is a list-minute face-lift to prepare for the market next week, DON’T SKIMP ON THE TRIM! Houses don’t always sell as fast as we’d like, and we’ve seen brand new trim rot and need to be replaced over the listing period.

In Summary…

If you see:

  • Woodpeckers pecking at your trim
  • peeling or bubbling paint on trim
  • dark spots in corners or behind gutters
  • any evidence of water getting in around windows, i.e. bubbling interior paint, staining on exterior trim, windows that don’t open or close well anymore.

You have rotting trim

When you hire someone to fix it, ask (and be sure by checking) that they use PVC trim to replace it!

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