Published on June 5th, 2013 | by Henri


PVC Moldings

Q.  have to replace some molding on my screened porch.  The screens are each 43″ wide by 64″ tall.  I saw the 100% cellular PVC molding  (3/4″ quarter-round)  which claims to be rot-free and wondering if  you have any experience with it.  It comes in white and I  would paint it a dark green.  Really need to know if it’s easy to cut and screw in,  and if it really lives up to the promise.

A. Cellular PVC moldings are the wave of the future. They can be tooled just like wood and can be painted, but only with latex paints. Do not use oil-based products on it. Some paint companies make paints specifically for PVC moldings; it’s best to use those if you can find them locally.

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  • I’ve been remodeling a portion of my home with PVC trim and there are a couple of caveats you need to be aware of using this stuff. 1st, and probably most important is when you cut trim to fit flush, as in a butt joint, depending on how hot it is when you install it you may see gaps opening up at the butt joint when the temp turns colder- this stuff expands and shrinks along its length, unlike pine boards. I’ve made a few mistakes with it and it is getting increasingly more expensive, if you make a mistake that you can’t live with and want to do it over. 2nd, because of weather and storms that blow dirt against my house (I’m in Vermont in a rural location) I’ve found a couple years after I installed it, that dirt has started to mold in the figure (I used the woodgrain look side of it to trim the porch addition I built and now I have to get on a ladder to scrub the stuff with a bleach solution to get that mold off). I thought I would just install it and be done- no future painting, but the prospect of having to scrub it every couple of years is not what I expected (oh; and all you folks who will tell me to use a pressure washer, no thanks- that would be a great way to drive water [and bleach] into my spruce clapboards and wall assembly, not to mention a cavalier waste of water). Bottom line: if I had to do it over, I would put up pine trim and face painting it every 5 years- at least it would be stable.

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