Wood Trim vs Composite Trim

When you are ready to take a look at trim for your home’s exterior it is worthwhile to make sure you select a material that is water resistant and strong enough to last well into the future.


Wood is a favorite of since it is easy to work with and paints well. Unfortunately, wood is not what it used to be. Wood used for homes is no longer harvested like it once was. Now, for the most part, we get fast-growth, “farm-raised” lumber that is less dense and has a wider grain pattern. Basically what this means is wood generally does not hold up to the elements like it use to in the past. Even with priming all cut edges and back-priming we have seen wood start to decay within 18 months of the installation of the wood. That just isn’t long enough usage time to make it worthwhile to use wood.


There are many products out there today that have the real look of real wood minus the maintenance issues of real wood. One alternative worth taking a look at is, plastic-composite trim, it is manufactured from a combination of recycled wood fiber and plastic. Plastic-composite puts together the good parts of both wood and polyethylene to produce a material that will not crack, split, rot or absorb moisture, and last but not least, with this material you do not have to worry about termites. Many composite products are 100 percent resistant to moisture and require no pressure treatment, chemical dipping, preservative treatments, water sealing or staining.

Plastic-composite trim comes in a variety of standard trim-board dimensions and lengths to accommodate a wide variety of needs.

Composite trims also can be made to look just like cedar but with the long-lasting performance of an engineered product. Composite trim is actually more cost-effective over time than wood is, while also lasting longer and holding paint better due to a mildew-resistant primer applied at the factory.

Low-Maintenance Exterior Trim

More and more people are insisting on using low-maintenance exterior trim. So when the time comes to choosing the exterior trim on your home, many builders are considering new engineered alternatives to solid wood. Some are looking for a cheap alternative to wood and others are willing to pay extra for a top of the line product that promises to outlast wood. In all cases though, builders are always looking for something that won’t need to be painted so frequently.

There are a bewildering number of products available. These products can be grouped into three general categories: engineered wood, fiber-cement, and plastics. In general, engineered wood and fiber-cement are less expensive than solid wood, and much less expensive than the plastics.

Feel free to get all the information you feel you need to make your choice. This is just a short and simple overview of the difference between wood and composite materials for exterior trims. I hope you found this information helpful and you now have a better idea of what you would like to do for your own home.


RWT Design & Construction

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