Exterior House Trim Ideas


Incorporating exterior house trim into your home’s design can be a great way to increase your home’s aesthetic value, as well as its resale value. Exterior trim typically frames the doors and windows of a home; however, it can also run across the roof line, as well as at various longitudes and latitudes in accordance with the designer’s wishes. If you are thinking of installing exterior house trim, there are several ideas that can help.

Wood Trim

  • Wood exterior house trim is the most traditional, and offers a natural, textural appearance that synthetic materials can’t match. However, keeping the wood trim looking its best and preventing it from rotting requires a considerable amount of maintenance work in comparison to other trim options. This includes applying paints, stains, clear coats or other protective chemicals every year or two. According to This Old House, one of the best types of wood to use for exterior trim, especially when it comes to ornamental trim such as what you might find on a Victorian or gingerbread-style house, is cypress. Cypress lumber, in comparison to other common wood trim materials such as poplar or pine, is more resistant to rot, and is better at accepting and keeping coatings. For optimal results, use corrosion-resistant screws for securing wood trim to a home’s exterior.

PVC Trim

  • Manufacturers construct PVC exterior house trim from polyvinyl chloride, which is a durable, weather-resistant synthetic resin. Unlike wood, the material requires minimal maintenance, as it will not flake, peel or warp. If you install PVC trim, the only real care you will need to provide is a periodic scrubbing or wipe-down if the trim becomes dirty. According to This Old House, while manufacturers initially only produced PVC trim in shades of white and off-white, you can now find it in a variety of different colors. Try choosing a tone that contrasts with the color of your home’s exterior walls.


  • Stucco is a finely grained plaster that typically contains water, sand, Portland cement and lime (calcium oxide). According to Ask the Builder, when installing stucco trim, it is best to use several layers of material underneath that will help the plaster adhere and prevent it from developing leaks in the future. These materials include metal flashing, galvanized wire mesh and waterproof barrier paper. While stucco is a sturdy and elegant exterior trim choice, its rigidity makes it prone to cracking.

Cement-Coated Foam

  • As of 2010, cement-coated foam, or synthetic stucco, is one of the newest exterior trim options on the market. The material consists of expanded polystyrene foam on the inside, just as in Styrofoam products, and a thin coat of cement on the outside. This gives your trim the look and feel of stucco but without the heaviness and without the same potential for cracking.

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  • Photo Credit wood wall image by AnVer from Fotolia.com
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