Accessorizing your exterior siding

When a fellow’s out buying himself a new suit, there should be more on his mind besides purchasing the standard jacket and a matching pair of pants. He should be thinking accessorize.

If he’s to look like the real deal, he’ll probably need a dress shirt, perhaps a new tie, matching belt, and if you’re going all out, don’t forget the argyle socks and a little pouf for the side pocket.

Women, on the other hand, generally have accessorizing down to a science. They already know that the purchase of a dress would not be complete without the appropriate jewelry, purse, three pairs of shoes, light jacket, new microwave oven for the kitchen, and more cat toys for Fluffy.

However, and although versed on the concept of accessorizing, couples tend to forget the many trim options available to them once they’ve chosen their exterior siding. After deciding on either a vinyl, wood composite, or cement board type product, then having made the color choice, the next topic should be a discussion on the trim-board.

Why use a trim board around windows and doors? For the same reason PK Subban chose to accessorize his beaver pelt overcoat with a purple fedora at last season’s Winter Classic All Star game. Because it looks good.

Now, I’m not suggesting the use of trim-boards around your windows and doors will have an impact equal to such a fashion statement. However, the reasoning behind trim-boards is simple. Homes with trim-boards look more attractive than those without.

What is trim-board and what’s its purpose? Trim-board is a 1-inch thick piece of either lumber, composite, PVC material, or cement fiber product, depending on which siding you’ve chosen. Generally, when you chose a composite or fiber cement type siding, you would stick with the matching composite or fiber cement trim-board. Trim-boards are available in board widths anywhere from 3-1/2 to 11-1/2 inches wide. The 3-1/2 and 5-1/2 inch wide trim-board planks are the sizes chosen most often for around windows and doors. The wider boards are the preferred choice for skirting along the base of the siding, and for use as a fascia board. Trim-boards, along with the appropriate trim-molding, can also be installed just under the soffit, creating a beautiful crown molding type of accent that follows the roofline. Depending on your tastes, trim board planks are available with either a smooth, or woodgrain type finish.

Color? Trim board color is of course subjective. Painting the trim boards the same color as the siding will provide a much more subtle touch or impression. When the trim boards are color matched to the window frames and soffit material, presuming these two components are of a different color than the siding, the effect has considerably more impact.

The purpose, or raison d’être of trim-board, is to enhance. Today, most window units are made of vinyl, or combinations of vinyl and aluminum. And, with more emphasis being placed on window operation, and on getting more glass for the buck, the frames have become much narrower than the wooden framed windows of the past. With less window frame, comes less window, and as a result, less impression. So, we offset this loss of window frame by adding a matching trim board around the windows and doors. Wide, outside corners, are another way trim-boards can add a more stately impression to any home. Most sidings come with standard 3 inch wide outside corners.

New home builders, or those renovating, should consider 5-1/2 inch trim-board planks for the corners instead. For a few bucks more, this easy modification will deliver more than its weight in value and good looks. Key to successful trim-boarding? Don’t make them an afterthought. Use the thicker, 1 to 1-1/4 inch planks, and install them before the siding. After the fact means using a thinner board, delivering less impact, while also creating gaps (otherwise known as homes for wasps and spiders) along the siding ridges.

Good building.

As published by the Standard-Freeholder
Handyman's Hints Standard-Freeholder Cornwall Ontario by Chris Emard

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