The front door is one of the most important parts of a home. It’s regularly used by family and guests, and it’s usually visible from the street, so it plays an important role in the home’s curb appeal or appearance. And while the door itself is usually the feature that gets the most attention, the door and its appearance wouldn’t be complete without the trim.
The exterior door trim frames the door and helps enhance its appearance, while also covering the spacing for the siding. Done correctly, door trim can make a door look more substantial and a bigger part of the home’s facade, drawing and capturing the eye.
At the same time, however, poor quality door trim can have a negative impact on the facade. If the trim begins to rot, crack, or become home to insects, it’s going to ruin the look of the whole facade, especially since the door is one place where you’re going to get an up close look at the trim on a regular basis.
There are a lot of different trims on the market for use around exterior doors, but not all of them are going to perform or look the way that you want. This guide is intended to help you make the right choice for your next exterior door project.
Style and Appearance
Style and the way that the trim will look is something that most homeowners are going to be asking about when it comes to trimming their front door. This is particularly true if the trim is designed to help call attention to the door, enlarge its appearance, or help create a more decorative area for the facade.
Most trims come in a range of sizes, which is the first consideration; so you want to make sure that if you’re creating a decorative trim that you have varying sizes available of the same material so you can mix, match, and piece together the design.
The way that the trim looks interacting with the door and the siding plays an equally important role. Materials like vinyl, which are made of plastic, might have a wood grain, but they also have a rounded, molded edge that folds underneath itself, which can detract from the appearance of the door. This is why many builders choose to use wood trim for the door even if the rest of the home is clad in vinyl.
Likewise, aluminum and steel trims may be available, but they often develop a chalky appearance over time, which detracts from their appearance. This, combined with the fact that it can be difficult to find steel trim with a wood-look grain often means that it just looks out of place.
Natural wood trim is a great material – versatile, available in multiple sizes, and able to be painted to match any siding. Keep in mind, however, that you need to select a wood that will resist insect activity and rot. Cedar is one option, but this often has issues with bleed-through, staining the color of the trim. Using a preservative-treated trim that has been pre-primed like Belco’s XT trim will give you the appearance and performance you need.
The trim surrounding the front door needs to be able to hold up to years of use. It gets closer scrutiny than the trim used elsewhere on the home, so you need to be able to ensure that it’s not going to crack or rot over time.
Materials like vinyl often warp in hot weather and become brittle and crack in cold weather, and with the placement directly next to the front door, you’re going to notice these issues if they arise. This means problems for the homeowner, and callbacks for you to troubleshoot and fix the problem.
Cedar is a popular choice for trim because it resists insect activity and rot, but it has limited durability compared to cedar of the past. The reason it’s used for trim and not for structural support is due to the fact that it’s not as strong as other woods. Used by the front door, you’re going to see a lot of nicks and gouges over time because the surface of the wood is soft and susceptible to these kinds of problems. Homeowners carrying large or bulky items through the door are going to bang the trim, and cedar is going to show those dents and nicks right away.
Opt instead for a trim that’s been treated for better durability, as well as for insect- and rot-resistance. It will hold its appearance longer, which translates into happier customers.
Ease of Installation
Don’t overlook the fact that trim can really only accomplish its goals if it’s properly installed. That means looking for materials that are going to be versatile, durable, and easy to cut and work with.
While materials like fiber cement are more durable than materials like vinyl, they can be very difficult to work with, both because the planks are heavy and because cutting them requires taking special precautions or using special equipment. Likewise, metal trims tend to be harder to work with and require special equipment as well.
Wood trims like cedar need to be primed prior to installing in order to help prevent staining. This is an extra step that adds time and money to the installation, and it’s one that frequently gets overlooked, resulting in callbacks.
By choosing a trim that’s been pre-primed, ready for painting and installation, and doesn’t require any special tools, you can help make the job go easier, requiring less manpower and therefore, less money. Belco’s XT trim comes pre-primed and is easy to cut and install, so your job can go quickly and smoothly.
Ideally, you want the trim you install around the front door to have options, not just for creating a decorative door trim, but also for the ability to match the trim on the rest of the property. Trims that have multiple options for width and length as well as matching components for areas like fascia board give you the most versatility when the time comes to install. Whether you’re only doing the door and want to leave options open for the future, or you’re trimming the whole house at once, it helps to use a single trim that can cover all areas.
Choose a Better Exterior Door Trim
There are a lot of materials on the market for door trim, but not all of them are going to provide you with the same results. Some will limit your options while others are going to result in callbacks. Belco’s XT trim will give you the performance and appearance you’re looking for, so you can get your job done right every time.