Modern and craftsman-designed homes are often thought of as simplistic, but there is beauty in simple and crisp finishes. Whether you look at a home’s exterior or get a peek at the home’s interiors, everything is elegantly styled to show character without an abundance of intricacies and finishing. The design, precision, and craftsmanship; all come together to create an elegant, detailed, and distinctive characteristic.
Most home builders and contractors prefer wooden trim as their first preference when installing trim around the house, but keep in mind, they may only be concerned with the initial cost and slightly less labor time. They are most likely not considering the hassle, time, and expenses that the future or current homeowner will face a few years down the road when the wooden trim needs to be replaced or re-finished.
But there is a far better alternative to wooden trims in the market i.e. PVC Trim boards.
Let’s dig deeper to understand the perks of this premium and durable material.
If you wish to find a specific piece of information on this blog then feel free to click a link below to jump down to that section.
- What is PVC Trim or PVC Trim boards?
- PVC Trim Boards for Exterior Applications
- PVC Trim Boards for Interior Applications
- How to use PVC trim?
- Additional Tips You Need to Know Before Working with PVC trim boards.
- Why should you switch to PVC Trim?
- PVC trim v/s Wooden trim
- Are there any Cons of using PVC Trim?
- Where To Buy PVC Trimboard?
- How to examine the quality of PVC trim?
- FAQs regarding PVC Trim Boards
To begin with, what is PVC Trim or PVC Trim boards?
Let’s first start with what the PVC substrate or material is. PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is one of the most popular and third most widely used forms of synthetic plastic polymers.
You may have heard of this term and have associated it with pipes, but PVC compounds or chemicals can be manufactured into many other forms than pipes. PVC is also widely used to manufacture a wide array of building materials such as PVC Trim boards, moldings, and sheets.
PVC trim is a foamed polymer mixture that is extruded out of a dye. It’s primarily used as a building material for home exteriors, and in rare cases, although becoming more mainstream, the interior sections of a home. It’s a great low-maintenance alternative for wooden trim, paneling, and moldings. PVC trim boards are mainly used for trim applications that include soffit, fascia, rake boards, columns, window surrounds, door surrounds, and much more.
PVC has a honeycomb-like micro-cell structure at a molecular level. It is lightweight yet durable and is a moisture-resistant engineered plastic.
It can withstand virtually the harshest weather conditions for decades to come. PVC trim boards are usually cut from large PVC sheets or extruded right to the perfect size, although when extruded right to size, the trim will lack sharp edges and be a more glossy final product. Echon Trim is always cut from large sheets with a matte surface. We then super-seal the edges to smooth them out with our proprietary sealing process. PVC trim is typically white but can be manufactured in almost any color.
These stunning trim boards are available in multitudes of widths, lengths, and thicknesses. However, most PVC trim is manufactured and sold in standard lumber sizes as an industry standard.
Echon is one of the leading manufacturers and suppliers of PVC building products in the USA and Canada. Besides having a wide range of standard PVC trim sizes, finishes, and color options, we are also well equipped to handle large-scale customized requirements for industrial & residential housing projects. If you would like to know how Echon can supply building materials for your upcoming project, please shoot us a message here, so our product specialist will get in touch with you quickly to help you with your inquiry.
PVC Trim Boards for Exterior Applications
PVC trim boards are widely popular for being weather-resistant, termite-proof, rot-proof, and fire retardant, making them one of the most reliable materials for exterior building. PVC exterior trim boards are naturally white, which is also a preferable color for exterior trim. However, you should not use PVC trim boards for structural applications, as they are only meant for decorative purposes.
PVC Trim Boards for Interior Applications
The consideration for PVC usage in interiors is growing. More and more homeowners, builders, and contracts are realizing the long-term value of using PVC over wood.
PVC paneling and trim are generally used for paneling and baseboards in bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and garages. The usage of PVC products for interior applications is still not as extensive as the exterior. Still, the market is growing gradually as the market learns more about the benefits of PVC over wood. It’s always best to consult your local contractor or a builder to ensure you are using and installing the product correctly following the local or state compliances.
How to use them?
PVC trim has become quite popular because of all its outstanding benefits. It has several advantages over any other trim material. Yet, it can only function if you install it correctly. Hence, it is crucial to understand how to install it correctly to account for any natural expansion and contraction.
For cutting PVC trim, we recommend carbide-tipped blades with fewer teeth. The ideal number of blades is 32.
Machinery with 8000 RPMs or higher is ideal for cutting PVC trims.
3. Placement of the Boards
PVC’s length may vary slightly with temperature changes. Therefore, while installing two boards next to each other, it is a good idea to leave a 1/8th inch gap or create a scarf joint, particularly in the weather of 70°F or higher. The natural expansion and contraction for most polymers are measure in the coefficient of linear expansion.
Fasteners are mechanical screws used to screw the PVC securely to the plywood, hardboard wood, brick wall, or concrete substrate.
Stainless steel nails or screws are the most suitable choice for this. These should be thick enough not to get bent easily and long enough to penetrate a 1 or 1 and 1/2 inch substrate located behind the PVC trim. The perfect option for this is stainless steel screws or fasteners. Several experienced installers use Cortex or Starborn fasteners with plugs for the screw holes. You should also place the nails or screws every 12-16 inches on both sides of each joint. Echon PVC trim boards’ are best installed with the Cortex Concealed Fastening System or Starborn Pro Plug system.
You should always use a strong industrial adhesive to secure the joints and prevent separation or visible gaps between the boards. The ideal way to keep your boards secure is to use a combination of glue and mechanical fasteners. However, you may forego using adhesive if you like. Solvent-based adhesives are the perfect option. These solvents cause the breakdown of the PVC and, in turn, welds the boards together. We recommend you not to use silicone-based sealants and adhesives as they do not last or look proper.
PVC moves slightly with temperature change, and the change primarily occurs in terms of length, called linear expansion. It is crucial to study the best methods of joining the trim ends during installation.
The ideal way is to make shiplap joints or scarp joints and use adhesive for the ends that will put up next to each other. Several installers prefer scarf joints because it helps hide any gaps in between boards during contraction. Scarf joints also allow the trim to expand without putting outward pressure on the boards it’s butted up against.
PVC trim boards are primarily white. However, if you wish to accentuate your PVC trim boards, they can be painted and customized as per your preference. It’s important to understand that dark colors will cause the PVC to absorb more heat, which will lead to an expansion in the sun while causing an even more significant contraction in the cold.
Use 100% acrylic latex paint with solar reflective properties to paint on your PVC. It is even better if the color has a light reflective value of 55 or more.
You can take a look at how you can paint PVC trim boards:
Additional Tips You Need to Know Before Working with PVC trim boards.
After learning the basics of how you can install PVC trim boards, we are here with a few additional tips that may help you finish the job just a little better!
Tip 1: Secure the joints. The more you secure the PVC, the less it will move when the outside temperature changes.
Tip 2: PVC is an entirely different material than wood. However, its workability is similar to wood. You can easily cut, nail, screw PVC Trim board with the same tools as you would use with wood.
Tip 3: PVC trim can be thermoformed and bent when it is heated. You can reshape it by subjecting it to high temperatures if the shape needs alteration, for example, for roundtops over a window. Heat the PVC trim to around 160*F or until the PVC trim or molding becomes soft enough to bend to the final shape slowly. Its important to not overheat the PVC, as it can bloat, and the surface will be more susceptible to crack.
Tip 4: If you wish to paint your PVC trim, it’s best to clean the surface with water and a clean washcloth to remove any dust particles before applying the paint. This way, the color will better adhere to the surface, and you will get a smooth finish. Some recommend rubbing the surface of the trim with a cloth damp with acetone. The acetone will help remove any sheen, which will allow paints to adhere more appropriately.
Why should you switch to PVC Trim?
You might already know about some of the excellent qualities of PVC trim boards, but here is a list of all the features that will convince you why PVC trim boards are better than wood in almost every possible way.
If you opt for PVC trim boards for your home exteriors, they will need little to no maintenance for several years or decades. It is not reactive and practically inert to external or harsh weather influences. Thus, it will last much longer than its alternatives.
The only situation in which these boards may corrode is if they come in direct contact with strong acids or chemicals, which is highly unlikely.
Some people might argue that PVC is less affordable than some wooden trim! They may say that wood is, in fact, significantly cheaper than PVC trim. But, they forget the fact that wood also requires regular maintenance and refinishing.
While the initial investment might be slightly steeper with PVC trimboards, it does not require constant maintenance or painting. It can go on for years without needing any extra attention or investments by the homeowner or residents.
Therefore, the cost in the long-run in terms of replacement or maintenance & contractor labor is much less, thus making PVC trimboards much cheaper than their wood-based counterparts eventually. Let’s not forget the peace of mind that comes with not having to worry about maintenance.
You can’t put a price on peace of mind!
You can customize and style it according to your preferences. It can be cut like wood, reshaped, and thermoformed like other polymers. This is one of the biggest reasons why home contractors, builders, architects, carpenters, and fabricators across the USA are switching to PVC trims is the versatility of this engineered plastic-like PVC.
It can be painted with any color, provided you use the recommended type of paint and account for expansion and contraction. This opens up an array of optional styles for your home. However, we recommend lighter colors for PVC trimboards because of thermal expansion.
Besides this, PVC trim does not require finishing after installation, as it does not need to be painted. It is manufactured with plenty of UV-resistant additives that keep its color intact for a long time.
Wooden paneling is susceptible to water damage. Wood absorbs moisture from the air and ground and tends to swell or corrode. This phenomenon causes the panels to bow, warp, and decay. PVC boards are waterproof and do not exhibit any such reaction to moisture. PVC has an average water absorption rate of 0.5%, while some types of wood have a rate in excess of 8%. PVC will, therefore, neither get distorted, rot, decay, or swell like wood.
6. Fire Resistant
PVC trim is fire retardant, unlike wooden trim. PVC does not combust and is a material that is self-extinguishing, so it does not perpetuate a fire. Echon PVC trim boards have a Class A flame spread rating.
7. Termite Resistant
Wood is food for termites, ants, and other pests. These pests can feast on your wooden trim and cause it to get damaged. Woodpeckers will peck at it all day, leaving large holes.
To prevent this, wood would require an additional expense to buy wood that is pre-treated with chemicals or inject it with termiticides to avoid termite infestations. Despite getting all such treatments done, they may still prove ineffective in certain weather conditions. In such cases, the homeowners are left with no choice but to replace the wood trims. PVC does not have properties that attract termites and other pests. It also prevents insects from setting up bases in your home’s panels.
8. Mold Resistant
Unlike wood and some other natural materials, PVC is unreactive towards the water. Water causes the formation of molds, especially on materials such as wood, whereas PVC prevents the formation of mildew on your panels by almost 100%. Mildew can only grow on the surface of PVC, but never inside, which is the leading factor in what causes corrosion and decay. Keep in mind Mildew can grow on any surface, but the fact that PVC will not decay from the mold is an important benefit.
After learning all these points about this material, it would be an understatement to say that using PVC building materials is the most practical solution for homeowners. Using this for your home will help you to steer clear of so many problems and maintenance issues in the future. Besides this, it is also a one-time investment that can last for almost a lifetime. If you want a beautiful, customizable, and hassle-free installation and maintenance experience, PVC is your best bet!
Here is a point-by-point comparison between the qualities of PVC trim and Wooden trim.
|Wood is exceptionally high maintenance. Even though the initial investment is less than other options, the cost of maintenance/replacement outweighs the savings.||PVC trim is a one-time investment. It is low-maintenance and does not require regular repairing. Once you install it, it can stay on and in good shape for many years.|
|Wood can rot or get moldy, which leads to decay, as it is a natural element.||It does not rot or feed mold.|
|Termites and pests eat wood up.||Pests or rodents will not feast on PVC trim.|
|Absorbs moisture and can swell, causing breakage. Once there is moisture in the wood trim, it weakens the wood permanently.||This material remains unaffected by moisture. Temperature changes can only alter the length of PVC trim slightly. PVC will not swell in thickness due to moisture.|
|Wood can easily catch fire.||PVC trim is entirely fire-retardant and self-extinguishing.|
|Wood needs additional finishing and polishing.||PVC trim requires no finishing at all.|
|Wood is heavy and hence quite challenging to maneuver and needs more labor to install.||These boards are lightweight and slightly flexible, so easier for professionals to install.|
“The Honest Carpenter” has made a very elaborate video on this topic that may help you get 100% clarity about PVC Vs. Wood comparison. Click here to check out.
Are there any Cons of using this material?
Since we have been addressing all the pros of PVC trims so far, let’s also look at some of their cons.
- Thermal Expansion: As we mentioned before, PVC trim can elongate in length slightly due to temperature changes. The expansion or contraction does not damage the trim at all. However, it can cause problems at the joints or deform if the PVC does not have space to expand. We have already covered the solutions and tips for how to manage thermal expansion and contraction best.
Go to Offline Stores
Alternatively, you can visit offline stores run by dealers and distributors of leading PVC building product brands. While physically visiting a store may seem like a hassle right now, there are reasons why this is probably the best option for you.
- You can check the quality for yourself.
- The local supplier already has years of experience, which is always more beneficial in guiding you through your questions and concerns.
- You can always hold the dealer accountable if anything goes wrong, like if you get damaged material or a defect.
- The dealers and distributors can advise you correctly about the sizes, colors, finishing, and designs you should opt for or that may be required for specific projects.
- They can also help you to connect with local fabricators, contractors, or carpenters who can help you out with the installation. When your supplier and the installer are in sync with each other, you get the perfect products for your home while ensuring minimum wastage in material, labor, and time.
- With local dealers, you can exercise the warranty options offered by the brands. Such as, in the case of Echon building products, you get a 25-year warranty.
- You have to go to the store! That’s the only one! When weighed against the benefits, it does not seem too bad.
Please send us a message via our website by clicking here to let us help you locate our nearest dealer to your home.
How to examine the quality?
You can only evaluate the quality of PVC trims once you visit the physical stores of the dealers. After you have reached the store and the salesman presents the boards in front of you, you need to check for a few things to examine PVC trim boards’ quality.
1. Sealed Edges
The PVC board should have sealed edges to prevent external dirt or dust from collecting on them. In the case of Echon Trim boards, the super sealed edges done with Echon’s proprietary sealing process keep the edges as clean as possible while also hiding any open cell structure.
Any damage to the edges may compromise the overall design. Thus, ensuring that the edges are properly sealed is crucial.
ECHON Trimboards also come with an easy-peel plastic masking that protects the trim’s surface from scratches during storage, material handling, transportation, and installation. Once the trim is successfully installed, you can simply peel off the plastic masking with your hands and be astonished while enjoying looking at the beautifully accentuated appeal of your home.
2. UV Stabilization
Ask your dealer if the house trim exterior has UV stabilized additives. This feature protects the trimboard from any potential sun damage, fading, and/or yellowing. Without this particular feature, your trim board yellow or fade quickly.
3. Matte Surface
One of the unique selling points of PVC trim is that you can paint on them. However, if the surface is too shiny or glossy, the paint may not adhere so well. It will also show lots of extrusion marks, scratches, and/or scuffs. Hence, the surface should be matte. This way, the paint can adhere appropriately for a longer-lasting finish.
4. Strong Screw Holding Capacity
The PVC trim board has to have an excellent screw holding capacity. Otherwise, your trim board is most likely to fall off the house.
5. Excellent Cell Structure
The cell structure of each PVC trimboard or fabricated part exterior cell should be impeccable. Study the edge to make sure there are no holes or voids. Do not hesitate to ask the salesperson all your doubts!
If you are quality conscious, you need to check out
Echon PVC trim boards today and explore our unique features!
Customized options for Large Scale Real Estate projects and how to source them
If you have a large-scale real estate project in the works and are looking for a high-quality manufacturer who can produce your customized requirements, then look no further. At Echon, we can manufacture all PVC trims and Fabricated Trim Profiles, moldings, and sheets to go along with it as per your requirement. Echon has a long track record of being one of the leading manufacturers and suppliers of PVC building products in the USA. We offer a 25-year manufacturing warranty on all our products, and we are known for our excellent customer service and ability to provide solutions to our customers.
Some Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you know almost all there is to know about PVC trim boards let’s look at some frequently asked questions!
I. Is PVC Trim Expensive?
The main hesitation for people while opting for PVC trim is the price point. The material cost is higher than most other trim materials. So, is it worth it?
The answer is yes. It is worth it. Unlike other materials such as wood, PVC does not corrode or chip. It is also customizable and requires little to no maintenance. Hence, the investment is only once. When you think long-term, it saves you a whole lot of money!
So, if the cost is your point of hesitation, you can go ahead and get this for your home!
II. How to maintain PVC Trim Boards?
PVC trim boards are generally dirt-resistant. However, sometimes, it can become slightly dusty and grimy. Although it still does not need hardcore repair or maintenance, it could always use a quick clean-up.
Removing dirt from the PVC’s surface uses a combination of mild clear surface cleaners and water. Rub with a washcloth and watch the dirt disappear.
III. Are PVC Trim Boards Environment Friendly and Sustainable?
Long life: According to the Building Research Establishment, PVC products can provide service for as long as thirty-five years!  That is way more than what wood or any other material could offer. Even after a few decades of being installed, these boards usually remain as good as new. They are unreactive to most external elements, and therefore they promote longevity. This means there is no need to replace them frequently thereby, reducing their impact on the environment. Curbing the use of wooden trees is beneficial for the environment. Deforestation is a real cause for concern as trees suck carbon out of the air and give us all clean oxygen to breathe.
No Gaseous Emissions: PVC building products are inert, and they do not emit any harmful greenhouse gases during their lifespan.
Recyclable: PVC building materials are also 100% recyclable. In light of the global pollution problems, we need to encourage environmentally-friendly recyclable products. The recycling process of PVC is also not very complicated and is usually used in other PVC products.
No deforestation: Wooden trim seems like a good option because they are biodegradable and a natural material. However, the number of trees that fall to cover the need of even one house is exceptionally high! The wood used in home decor is the prime reason behind deforestation, mainly because you need to replace wood-based products regularly. You can counter this problem with PVC building products. When you choose these, you let the trees stay where they belong: in the forests!
Learn more about the PVC recycling process here:
We hope this blog helped you find answers to all the questions you had about PVC trim boards. If you found it helpful, share it with others who may benefit from it.
Do let us know your thoughts and questions in the comments below. We’d be happy to address them and supply you with more information that you may be seeking.
In case you have any other general inquiries that you would like us to address. Please write to us at [email protected]
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are based on our team’s knowledge and experience. The results from instructions provided in the blog may vary from case to case basis. We strictly advise our readers to verify all the information provided here through their sources. Echon, its employees, partners, distributors, or directors are not responsible for any consequences, good or bad, that may arise from following the instructions on this blog for an individual or a company from the USA or abroad. The information is being provided to help our readers and our community and is by no means official. We are not legally or morally liable for any damage, financial or non-financial, that may be caused by following the suggestions or information provided in our blogs.