7 Ways to Finish Your Exterior Windows With Decorative Trim

Finished Front Exterior Trim

Windows complete any home’s design. From an interior standpoint, they help let in light and allow those inside a chance to take in the view. From the exterior, windows help complete the home’s style and curb appeal.

And while a lot of emphasis gets placed on how to finish interior windows (with window treatments and styles being the subject of many homeowners’ concerns), window exteriors often need just as much help. But while window coverings are often the solution for the interior, it’s window trim that helps complete the look on the outside. 

Trim helps frame a window, giving it definition and dimension as well as style and design. If you’re looking for ways to finish your exterior windows, take a look at these 7 design ideas for inspiration.

Selecting the Right Window Trim

Window trim is necessary to every exterior. Trim helps cover the edge between siding and the window frame, helping to keep out the elements and protect your home. Trim also helps complete the look of your home, regardless of what it’s style, or the material you’re siding it with. 

Most window trims are made from cedar or other types of wood. And while woods like cedar are considered durable and a good choice, they do come with some issues. Cedar is very expensive, often twice the cost of other materials. Less expensive woods are also less durable, requiring a lot of maintenance including both a high quality primer and paint before install. Many untreated woods can also be susceptible to moisture issues, cracking, bubbling, and bleed-through. 

Preservative-treated wood, like Belco’s XT Trim solves these issues. This high quality trim has been treated with preservatives, eliminating many of the moisture problems of standard wood and ensuring that your trim will be more durable, longer lasting, and lower maintenance.

Exterior Window Trim Ideas 

The following homes have been finished with preservative-treated wood trim, each with its own unique style and personality, showing you just what’s possible with this innovative material.

1. Simple Monochrome

Trim doesn’t need to contrast the rest of the home or to stand out sharply in order to be effective. These windows were given a very simple trim in a shade that perfectly blends the fieldstone and the lighter siding. Most of the windows have a header and footer trim above and below the windows, so that the decorative shutters can capture the eye’s attention first, making the windows seem much larger than they are. 

2. Design Continuation

This home features exterior trim as a design element, using trim that’s just a shade darker than the rest of the home to give it some detail and dimension. The windows are simply framed in the same trim and design as the rest of the home. This gives the entire exterior a sense of continuity and a unified style. The windows fit neatly into the design, and the trim becomes an extension of the rest of the facade. 

3. Substantial Bold Trim

The trim on this home is meant to be noticed. It’s a deep gold that stands out sharply against the lighter siding. The window trim consists of a heavier bottom ledge on the upper story windows, which gives them weight and helps balance them against the larger window at the front of the building. The same trim is used just below the roof gables, giving the entire facade a cohesive look. 

4. Classic, Understated Trim

For some architecture styles, it’s often the cleaner, more classic looks that work the best. That’s the case for this simple ranch. The windows are clad in a simple, clean, white trim that matches the other clean lines for the rest of the home. The color adds a nice contrast to the dark gray siding, which in turn makes the smaller windows really pop and stand out in the design. 

5. Substantial Trim

The windows on this home are set back beneath an overhang. This means that the trim needs to be a little bit more substantial to really draw them out and give them the attention they deserve. Therefore, the trim on both the upper and lower portions of the windows extends out past the windows slightly, and is made of a slightly beefier trim than that used on the rest of the facade. 

6. Layered Trim

This charming home is full of small details that bring it to life. The windows reflect that, using trim that’s got a layered style to it. Rather than simply framing the windows, the trim adds size and dimension to them, which helps call attention to them in an exterior that’s already filled with details and design. 

7. Subtle Design

This home has a beautiful two-tone exterior that pairs stone with brick and wood trim. There’s already a lot going on, and many of the windows are already in accented areas. That means that adding more to the window trim might end up overwhelming the facade. This design keeps the windows simple, letting their detail be the focus, rather than the trim. 

Finish Your Windows Properly

By using a preservative-treated wood trim for your windows, you’ll be ensuring that they last for years with less maintenance than cedar or other woods. You’ll also be finishing them in a range of attractive styles with the right amount of detail for your home. Use any of these ideas as a starting point for your home style to get the best window trim possible for your exterior. 

For design assistance with your next window trim project, consult with an expert at Belco Forest Products.

7 Responses

  1. I need info on trim scriber… not sure term is used in California
    It goes against hardy panel Baird 8 1/4 x 5/16
    Sealing using a 1” x 3” cut to fit tier even reveal on inside window
    Looking for it be but term is what missing

    1. Kenn,
      I’m unfamiliar with the term “trim scriber”. Generally the Hardie siding is measured and cut to fit against the window trim. Then sealed using caulking to cover any minimal length differences. It will provide a finished look against any corner trim or window trim. Feel free to call the office at the number on the website to discuss it further if needed.

  2. I loved your example of substantial bold window trims and how they can make a deep style of window pop out. It makes me think about how I always wanted to have a more expressive exterior to my house after seeing that the previous owner didn’t really give it any style or color. When I find a window replacement service that can help me renovate, I’ll be sure to keep this style of trim in mind when installing new windows.

    1. Afton, I’m so glad you liked the suggestions. Our window trim and other exterior accent products are preservative treated for long lasting performance and when finished with the paint color that supports the exterior design you will add value to you home. The combination of product performance, exterior design, and color style makes the curb appeal of your home exceptional. Let me know if I can help in any way. All the best.

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