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Pros and Cons of PVC Trim

Cellular PVC trim is a wood replacement product most commonly used in exterior applications. The applications are similar to wood, except it won’t rot, crack, cup, split or warp like wood and its resistive to termites and wood boring insects.

PVC trim is naturally white throughout, which makes it an excellent choice for trim on the outside of your home. The bright white contrasts well with dark colors, and is easy to keep clean. One of the biggest advantages is that is doesn’t need to be painted, but it is encouraged as it adds to the long term durability and prevents from weathering effects.

Here in New York’s beautiful Hudson Valley, we experience four seasons. This includes heavy snowfalls and weeks with temperatures in the lows teens in the winter to scorching summer days in the high nineties. PVC stands up to the elements and looks beautiful all year long.

Most Common Uses

  • Window and door surrounds
  • Fascia and soffit trim
  • Deck skirting
  • Architectural moldings
  • Column and post wraps
  • Porch ceilings
  • Shiplap and tongue & groove wall paneling
  • Corner boards

Check out our other blog post to see how we created a traditional door surround using all stock molding profiles. You can find it here.

PVC moldings used to create a traditional front door surround
<noscript><img decoding=async class= wp image 1054 lazyload src=httpsstaging2TEKRAbuilderscomwp contentuploads201911Versatex Entry Surround Details 300x216jpg alt=PVC moldings used to create a traditional front door surround width=672 height=484 srcset=httpswwwtekrabuilderscomwp contentuploads201911Versatex Entry Surround Details 300x216jpg 300w httpswwwtekrabuilderscomwp contentuploads201911Versatex Entry Surround Details 768x554jpg 768w httpswwwtekrabuilderscomwp contentuploads201911Versatex Entry Surround Details 1024x739jpg 1024w httpswwwtekrabuilderscomwp contentuploads201911Versatex Entry Surround Detailsjpg 1419w sizes=max width 672px 100vw 672px ><noscript> PVC Moldings from Versatex Trimboard used to create a traditional front door surround<br >Source TEKRA Builders

Pros

  • Won’t rot, split or warp
  • Easy to clean
  • Does not need to be painted
  • Does not inhibit mold growth
  • Water-resistant, OK for ground and water contact
  • Color will not fade over time
  • Can be heat-bent and molded easily

Cons

  • Not readily available in some parts of the United States or internationally
  • Not easily repairable when outer “skin” is damaged
  • Initial upfront cost, priced similarly to a premier hardwood

Products Offered

Our recommended brand for PVC is Versatex Trimboard (www.versatex.com). The quality of their cellular PVC is second-to-none, and their product line is extensive. They offer a LIFETIME WARRANTY that we are able to pass on to our clients. The warranty is transferrable even if you sell your home, which shows the value and quality of their product.

Some of their products include trim board, sheet goods, corner boards, tongue & groove profiles, soffit systems, column wraps, moldings and skirt boards.

Sample kit of Versatex PVC trim offerings.
<noscript><img loading=lazy decoding=async class=wp image 904 lazyload src=httpsstaging2TEKRAbuilderscomwp contentuploads201904Versatex Trimboard 300x225jpg alt=Sample kit of Versatex PVC trim offerings width=552 height=414 srcset=httpswwwtekrabuilderscomwp contentuploads201904Versatex Trimboard 300x225jpg 300w httpswwwtekrabuilderscomwp contentuploads201904Versatex Trimboard 768x576jpg 768w httpswwwtekrabuilderscomwp contentuploads201904Versatex Trimboard 1024x768jpg 1024w sizes=max width 552px 100vw 552px ><noscript> Sample kit of Versatex PVC trim offerings

People often ask if PVC is better than wood and the answer is rather subjective. Both PVC and wood have their pros and cons so it really depends on the application. Educating yourself will help you decide what is best for you on your next home project.

How It’s Installed

Fastening PVC trim is similar to wood using nails, screws, PVC glue or adhesives. A couple companies offer hidden fasteners, where screws are plugged using color-matched PVC plugs.

PVC can be cut, milled, shaped, and routed just like wood using normal woodworking tools. PVC can also be heat-bended into molds, which makes it a perfect candidate for curves or arched features.

PVC trim used for stair riser trim
<noscript><img loading=lazy decoding=async class= wp image 1381 lazyload src=httpsstaging2TEKRAbuilderscomwp contentuploads201904IMG 6351 300x225jpg alt=PVC trim used for stair riser trim width=627 height=470 srcset=httpswwwtekrabuilderscomwp contentuploads201904IMG 6351 300x225jpg 300w httpswwwtekrabuilderscomwp contentuploads201904IMG 6351 1024x768jpg 1024w httpswwwtekrabuilderscomwp contentuploads201904IMG 6351 768x576jpg 768w httpswwwtekrabuilderscomwp contentuploads201904IMG 6351 1536x1152jpg 1536w httpswwwtekrabuilderscomwp contentuploads201904IMG 6351 2048x1536jpg 2048w sizes=max width 627px 100vw 627px ><noscript> PVC trim used for riser trim on a set of deck stairs Source TEKRA Builders

Myths

PVC can’t be painted dark colors: FALSE

Painting PVC a dark color all depends on the LRV (Light reflectivity value) of the paint. Most commonly, dark paints do not reflect heat well, which causes the PVC to absorb excess amounts of heat. This will cause the material to expand and contract, and affect its performance.

New advancements in paint technology (www.aquasurtech-oem.com) include dark colors that reflect light, just as a white surface would. This makes the colors PVC can be painted limitless. Check out AquaSurTech for more information.

To see an example of a rooftop bar made entirely out of PVC and painted black, check out our project spotlight highlighting our construction of Hudson Valley’s first rooftop bar for Zeus Brewing Co.

 

PVC moves uncontrollably : FALSE

PVC expands and contracts along its length due to temperature changes. Similar to how wood moves across its width due to moisture content, you just have to be aware of this and control the movement where needed. This does not pose an issue, except when you are dealing with longer lengths.

To get the best installation possible and ensure you get the manufacturer’s warranty, be sure to follow their instructions for installation.

<noscript><img loading=lazy decoding=async class= wp image 1445 lazyload src=httpsstaging2TEKRAbuilderscomwp contentuploads2020084L9A1857 Edit 300x200jpg alt= width=616 height=410 srcset=httpswwwtekrabuilderscomwp contentuploads2020084L9A1857 Edit 300x200jpg 300w httpswwwtekrabuilderscomwp contentuploads2020084L9A1857 Edit 1024x683jpg 1024w httpswwwtekrabuilderscomwp contentuploads2020084L9A1857 Edit 768x512jpg 768w httpswwwtekrabuilderscomwp contentuploads2020084L9A1857 Edit 1536x1024jpg 1536w httpswwwtekrabuilderscomwp contentuploads2020084L9A1857 Edit 2048x1365jpg 2048w sizes=max width 616px 100vw 616px ><noscript> A rooftop bar made entirely out of PVC panels trim boards and molding painted black with AquaSurtech D100 paint Source TEKRA Builders <a href=httpsstaging2TEKRAbuilderscomHudson Valleys first rooftop bar for zeus brewing>Project Spotlight<a>

Important Notes

Not all PVC is created equal and the quality of the final product depends on the formulation and “recipe.”

It’s important to read the manufacturer’s recommendations, which helps with proper installation and to ensures warranty requirements are met.

 

Key Takeaways

When evaluating if a product is right for your home, we recommend looking at the overall value and not just the initial price tag.

Low-maintenance means you won’t have to be outside caring for it year after year, and you can spend more time doing the things you love. Your home will stay looking new, making it the envy of the neighborhood and giving you a higher resale value in the long run.

 

 

 

author avatar
Dan Arket