Types of Exterior Trim

The major types of exterior trim explained and compared

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Table of Contents



This is the most basic exterior trim and though it is cheap it gets the job done.  Usually, you’ll find it primed in the hardware store.  Spruce tends to be fairly warped so make sure to check your boards to find good ones.  There are now pressure treated spruce options available for a longer lasting and higher quality option.


Cypress is a step up from spruce and tends to be less warped when you are going through the shelf.  The higher quality is reflected in the higher price than the spruce trim.  This trim will also tend to come pre-primed for convenience.  It is important to note, you can sometimes get the treated spruce for less than the cypress and it’s a better product.


If you want a beautiful, stained trim, you want cedar.  It is naturally rot resistant and gives warmth to a house when used around windows, doors, and planter boxes.  It is an expensive option for exterior trim because it must be selected for looks as well as weather resistance.



Hardie trim is one of the most well-known synthetic trim brands due to the popularity of their siding. In brief, it is made from a combination of cement and adhesives that provide a completely rot resistant board.  Because of its composition, Hardie trim tends to go through blades faster and you should use a dust mask when cutting it.


PVC trim is another rot resistant option with one of the most popular brands being Azek.  This type of trim doesn’t require any special handling like Hardie does but it is more expensive and some people don’t like the look.


Trim made from fly ash, a by-product of coal production, is starting to hit the market.  One example is Boral’s TruExterior trim.  This trim is not only completely rot resistant but offers something the other synthetic trims do not: it doesn’t expand or contract like other trims.  This means you don’t have to worry about your caulking cracking over time or gaps opening up.

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