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.
- 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
- 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
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.
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 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 Poughkeepsie, NY’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.
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.
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.