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In Depth: Moulding, millwork & trim

By / February 2, 2018

Ease of use, new applications give dealers and homeowners more options

moulding millwork trim

Versatex has introduced its Canvas Series to meet the need for a porch ceiling product that is an alternate to wood. It’s available in Macore (shown), Black Cherry, Walnut and Amber.

From quicker installation to more robust product choices, trim and moulding manufacturers are responding to demand for products that are simpler to use, last longer and can be used for a growing number of applications.

“When PVC trim was introduced, it was just guys using it for trim, fascia and soffit, maybe corners, window surrounds,” says Rick Kapres, Vice President of Sales at Versatex. “Now, we’re seeing it used in every type of non-structural element outside the home. Shade structures, louvers, shutters, garage doors, all kinds of outdoor living areas. So what we’re doing is we just continue to try to put products out in the market that feed that audience.”

From PVC to fiber cement to wood products and more, dealers have a number of options available in the market to offer their customers. And manufacturers in all categories continue to innovate in response to growing demand for low maintenance, long-lasting design options.

With homeowners staying in their homes longer than in the past, they are looking for options that will make it easier to take care of that home as it ages, says Loi McLoughlin, Azek Building Products General Manager of Trim.

“Homeowners are renovating and upgrading their existing homes instead of moving,” McLoughlin says. “In addition, they are also closely considering the maintenance requirements around those upgrades. For example, if you have wood trim or trim that is susceptible to moisture and does not hold paint well, you might have to go through one or two paint cycles or replace the wood trim entirely in that time. Also, people want to invest in products that will provide good curb appeal when it does come time for them to sell.”

Homeowners also want a home that isn’t the same as their neighbors.

“We see customers wanting to differentiate their homes from the next, expressing their own individual tastes,” says Randy Miller, Director of Sales for Nu-Wood. “Nu-Wood products are a great way to provide customers with architectural details that can set their home apart. Darker colors such as Walnut, Espresso, Greys and Blacks remain popular and our urethane has the right properties to allow customers to go with darker color options.”

Making it easier

Ply Gem trim

Ply Gem has organized its entire line of cellular PVC trim into two different offerings: Build Ready, designed for everything a builder needs to complete a mid-grade job; and Design Ready, products that are arranged specifically for the fabricator on jobs with more custom features.

A common refrain from manufacturers is the need to make working with and selling trim easier for everyone in the process, from the dealer to the contractor to the homeowner.

Ply Gem has embraced that idea by organizing its cellular PVC trim and mouldings into two different offerings, Build Ready and Design Ready.

With Build Ready, a contractor “can get everything he needs to complete a mid-grade job and have all the mouldings and all those accessories that he needs available in one line of products,” says Dan Hawk, Acting General Manager for Ply Gem Trim & Moulding.

The Design Ready group of products are designed specifically for more highend projects that require a fabricator.

AZEK window trim

AZEK’s Flange Slotted Window Trim is engineered to eliminate the need to shim around window frames, reducing installation time for contractors.

The Build Ready products also include features that take into account the environmental realities of transportation and jobsites.

“We’re now putting a peelable film on our Build Ready trim boards that keeps the product clean while it travels from the manufacturer to the dealer,” Hawk says. “It also keeps a product clean if it’s sitting at a jobsite or in the dealer’s lumber bin. One of the worst things that can happen is to have a board that has to be washed or cleaned or isn’t suitable for sale, and so the film is one aspect of making sure that the product gets to the market clean and free of dirt.”

The Ply Gem Build Ready boards also have a secondary sealed edge, created by a patented process with a smooth edge that dirt won’t stick to, Hawk says.

James Hardie is also emphasizing the one-stop shopping benefits of its line of fiber cement siding and trim products.

“We continue to stand on the platform of no one else can deliver a full house of fiber cement, which gives the homeowner a durability package that’s unmatched in the market,” says Trim Product Manager Jeremy Harris. “And then as far as the dealer is concerned, they can order all their products on one truck…so they manage [inventory] a little tighter, get more turns because you could essentially order panel, shingle, soffit, trim on the same truck.”

The durability, stability and fire-resistance of the James Hardie fiber cement are another advantage of the product.

“So as we move forward, I think it will become very important that homeowners and dealers will want more choices of colors and we can offer that because we have a dimensionally stable product,” Harris said. “And then we also paint our products in factory so you can get a paint warranty and a substrate warranty from one manufacturer, so that’s a pretty big advantage.”

MiraTEK

MiraTEC Smooth Select is the newest member of the MiraTEC trim family, offering performance and durability but with a super smooth finish and square edges.

Making a product that is easy for the contractor to install is important. MiraTEC trim by Jeld-Wen offers that, says Marketing Manager Laura Brown.

“We all are pressed to make the most of our time and builders are no exception making product ease of use extremely important,” Brown says. “MiraTEC helps builders save time at the jobsite because it handles like wood, making installation a simple process.”

In addition, MiraTEC recently introduced Smooth Select to its trim offerings. “Smooth Select builds on the MiraTEC heritage of extreme performance and durability, but with a super smooth finish and square edges,” Brown says.

MiraTEC trim has several other advantages, the company says, including resistance to moisture, rot and termites; a reversible panel with woodgrain on one side and smooth finish on the other; a 50-year warranty; is environmentally friendly; and handles like wood.

Fypon recently launched two new lines of polyurethane crossheads offering different design options, but also easier installation so jobs can be completed more quickly.

Fypon crossheads

In response to demand from its customers, Fypon has introduced two new lines of crossheads. The Craftsman Cove Crosshead is available in one-inch increments from 24″ to 215″, and a number of widths that are dealer-trimmable.

“We’ve exclusively designed two new Craftsman-style crossheads that are simple [and] understated, that add some character and charm to the elegance to many of our different home styles, which include Craftsman and bungalow home styles and many modern variations,” says Product Manager Mary Nesper.

Fypon also has a new Distinctions Crosshead, which is a melding of Fypon’s traditional crosshead with a slightly new look, but that the company says is easier to order and install than its traditional crosshead.

“It will be orderable in one-inch increments to match the exact requirements needed for the window or door size,” Nesper says. “Or you can also order it trimmable in small lengths for ease of handling or long lengths to minimize waste when cutting multiple crossheads for the home. No miter cuts are required at installation. Different size ends are available to complement standard window trim and pilasters.”

James Hardie trim

HardieTrim Boards from James Hardie are designed to complement the company’s fiber cement siding products. Like the siding, HardieTrim has a look that mimics wood, with or without grain texture, without the maintenance requirements.

BlueLinx is also seeing increased popularity of Craftsman and Farmhouse- style homes, which is driving interest in its real wood products, says Sam Scandlyn, General Manager of Interior Products.

“We developed our PrimeLinx family of multi-use products with primer coats that are far more advanced than what was previously available in the marketplace,” Scandlyn says. “They are a real wood product manufactured with an exterior primer and exterior glue. All PrimeLinx family of products offer a ‘Ready to paint’ and easy-to-install feature.”

BlueLinx PrimeLinx

The PrimeLinx family of multi-use, real wood products from BlueLinx features an exterior primer and exterior glue. The full line is ready to paint and designed to be easy to install.

With its PVC product, Kleer also believes it has the right mix of style and convenience to meet the needs of today’s homeowners.

“Now more than ever our time, and our money, is precious,” says Product Manager Matt Michalski. “Driven by a growing demand for high-quality, low-maintenance products that last— without requiring additional investment— consumers see the value in products like Kleer, which are designed to stand the test of time while meeting the aesthetics they desire.”

Kleer recently introduced two new PVC outside corners with an integrated nailing flange, designed to work with polymer shake and shingle siding products.

“Like other Kleer products, they are an affordable, sustainable and low maintenance alternative to wood exterior products—without compromising beauty or function,” Michalski says.

That twin focus on ease of maintenance and aesthetically pleasing products is important, as homeowners want to enjoy their outdoor spaces, not spend time cleaning and repairing them, says Tom Zimmerman, Vice President of Sales for Boral Light Building Products.

Boral beadboard

Boral’s TruExterior Beadboard profile trim is available in a 4″, a 6″, a double-4″, and a double-6″. Boral TruExterior is manufactured with a blend of proprietary polymers and fly ash designed to avoid the problems that plague wood, such as rotting, cupping and twisting.

Boral TruExterior Trim, made with the company’s proprietary blend of polymers and fly ash, “offers a high level of dimensional stability for reduced expansion and contraction, and durability for resistance to warping, cracking, and splitting,” Zimmerman says.

There have been several recent additions to the line.

“One that we’re particularly excited about is our new double-4″ and double- 6″ beadboard, which offers the same look as single-profile beadboard, but with twice the coverage area,” Zimmerman said. “That means less cutting, half the trips up and down the ladder, and fewer seams.”

Boral also introduced four trim accessories aimed at saving installers time and ensuring a polished look: Rabbeted Trim with Window Pocket, Rabbeted Trim with Siding Pocket, Rabbeted Trim with Window and Siding Pocket, and 2×2 Trim.

PalightGrian

Palight trimboard by Palram is designed to install easily and was developed to reduce on-site project time. The free-foam PVC trim features EverClean™ protective film on both sides, plus sealed edges and two finishes (smooth or reversible smooth/ woodgrain). Plus, it is is waterproof and designed to not warp due to moisture. The industry-first Color2Core™ trim is available in Classic White, Sand or Clay colors and comes in standard lumber sizes. Backed by a 30-year transferrable homeowner warranty.

Manufacturers are continuing to roll out new products and expand their offerings as demand for the trim category grows.

In 2018, Royal Building Products will be expanding what it says is already the widest product offering of any PVC trim manufacturer.

“We are excited to expand our line of products in our Royal Conceal Trim System to include Conceal Column Wraps, Conceal New Construction Window and Door Surrounds, Conceal Water Table and Conceal Stone Water Table,” says Steve Booz, Vice President of New Product Development & Product Management. “All four products fit with our customers’ needs for both new construction and remodeling/ renovation work.”

Conceal Column Wraps are available in column sizes from 4″ to 12″, and two lengths of 8′ 6″ and 10′.

“With three sides already assembled in our factory, installers need to simply slide the wrap around their column and lock in the last side and secure,” Booz explains.

Conceal New Construction Window and Door Surrounds allow the trim piece to install level to the wall with an accommodation for the nailing flange on a new construction window.

“With our unique birds-mouth design on the back” Booz says, “you can easily fasten a miter joint with hidden screws.”

Conceal Water Tables are now available in two styles from Royal Building Products: traditional and stone.

Royal Building Products

Conceal Column Wraps from Royal Building Products are available in column sizes from 4″ to 12″. and two lengths of 8′ 6″, and 10′. Three sides are assembled in the factory, requiring only the final side to be locked in by the installer.

“With our unique design, the traditional water table can be used in conjunction with any size Royal S4S or SurEdge trim board in any thickness 5/8″ through 1″, Booz says. “The beauty is that the dealer stocks one water table SKU and can then pair it with whatever trim board the architecture requires. The Conceal Stone Water Table is the perfect transition from a faux stone façade to siding with a sharp looking transition trim with enough depth to make the change from one material to another.”

As homeowners become more comfortable with PVC products, the applications are growing. That trend led to the recent introduction of the Canvas Series by Versatex.

“We noticed that on a lot of projects we’re getting all the trim, but on either the back or front porch ceiling, they’re still going with a high-end wood, like a mahogany or an ipe look, a dark rich wood for the ceiling on the porches and the back porches,” Kapres says. “We took a WP4, which is a traditional SKU of ours, and we laminated it with a tried-and-true, exterior-grade laminate that’s been used in the window business for years. …The process to put it on binds the laminate to the PVC so it’s extremely durable. It does not come off, and when you put it on it really looks like real wood, like a rich highend wood.”

The Canvas Series is available in four colors—Macore, Black Cherry, Walnut and a lighter Amber.

AZEK will be rolling out several new cellular PVC trim products this year.

Kleer corners

Kleer recently introduced two new PVC outside corners with an integrated nailing flange designed to work with polymer shake and shingle siding products.

“In the meantime, we are making it even easier and more convenient for contractors to install our AZEK Trim with our new line of AZEK Adhesives,” McLoughlin says. “We speak with contractors regularly and found there was a demand for the suite of products we’re releasing. Also, we have recently introduced our AZEK Flange Slotted Window Trim. We’re excited about this offering because it reduces installation time for contractors. Typically, they will have to shim around the window frames, and with our Flange Slotted Window Trim, that step goes away.”

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Jonathan Sweet

Jonathan Sweet is a Minneapolis-based writer and editor who has covered the construction industry for both consumer and trade publications for more than 15 years.