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4 Common Problems with Redwood Trim

Any home you install siding on is going to require trim to give it a more finished appearance. No matter what the home is clad with, trim is necessary for finishing windows and doors, as well as creating transitions, and helping to accentuate the property.

Redwood Exterior Trim Problems

There are a lot of materials that you can use for house trim, with redwood being commonly used. In terms of wood trim, redwood does hold up better than some other materials, but it has a lot of inherent issues, which can result in a lot of callbacks, as well as additional time and effort for you at the time of installation and down the road.

1. Requires Alkyd Primers

The issue that most builders, installers, and homeowners encounter with redwood trim is the fact that the natural oils in the heartwood and sapwood will bleed through the paint. This means that before it can be painted, it must first be primed using an alkyd primer that can help block some of this bleed-through.

While priming the trim in and of itself isn’t actually a problem, field priming is an added step. Field priming increases the amount of overall project timeline and adds cost to the job. Factory priming would be delivered installation ready as a remedy to this problem. Most redwood trim material is not factory primed and if priming is done it will need to be done in the field. The quality of field priming is generally inferior to factory priming due to the uneven coating application when done by hand in the field. Field priming is generally less desired because it provides uneven protection by the primer coat.

For homeowners, the material needing to be primed and painted in order to look its best is an added nuisance and long-term expense as well. If the primer application is skipped, especially during the first installation, it will lead to callbacks for you once the bleed-through becomes apparent. 

2. Darkens Over Time

When not primed properly, Redwood naturally darkens due to UV light exposure. In some instances, such as a fence, this change may actually be considered a plus. For a house’s trim, this change can cause issues for the homeowner. Most homes use a white trim or a light-colored trim to complement the rest of the color palette. 

Redwood darkening over time can offset the color of the trim, resulting in additional coats of paint needed more often, which can lead to more time and expense in order to keep it looking its best. This process, called photodegradation can also cause the coatings to peel, crack, bubble and loose adhesion.

3. Needs Protection from Moisture

Redwood is naturally resistant to issues such as insect activity. It’s also naturally resistant to many moisture issues, but if the wood stays damp enough it can, and will, begin to rot. For this reason, it needs to be continuously protected from moisture either through paint and stain or through the application of redwood oil. This is a lot of maintenance over the lifetime of the trim, especially if the rest of the home has been clad in a lower maintenance material, meaning that the trim must be dealt with separately.

Because the paint or stain will eventually crack, peel, and chip on the redwood trim, this can also lower the curb appeal of the property between paint jobs as well. 

4. High Cost

Redwood is a softwood that is commonly used in specific regions. It has a fluctuating cost that can sometimes make the cost of the trim prohibitively expensive for both builders and homeowners that need to bring a project in on budget. 

Also, redwood trees have a very wide sap ring, up to 4 inches. This part of the tree has NO natural decay resistant properties at all. It can be noted by the white color of the wood fiber that is commonly seen on raw redwood lumber. This poses a particularly difficult challenge because this fiber especially needs to be protected from rot and insect infestation.

A Better Alternative to Redwood Trim

Preservative-treated wood trims are a low maintenance, cost effective alternative to redwood trims. First, the wood is kiln dried for stability, then topically treated with preservatives, which are absorbed into the wood. The result is a trim that has all the benefits of redwood in terms of grain, appearance, and insect resistance, but none of the drawbacks. 

Kiln dried, preservative treated offers minimal warping and splitting as well as rot and bug protection. Paints and stains go on smoothly and last longer, and the material is pre-primed so your installation goes more quickly. The trim is also lightweight, which allows a faster installation, and has a 20 year limited warranty for peace of mind.

Preservative-treated trim is made from solid wood, and has the appearance and surface texture you would expect from a wood trim, but it’s lighter, takes paint and stain better, and is less costly than redwood. It means that your job will go more quickly and smoothly, and you’ll experience fewer callbacks due to issues such as color, bleed-through, or cracking. 

By using preservative-treated wood trim, you can increase your profit margins, and build your reputation with clients at the same time. Homeowners will appreciate the fact that it won’t require the same level of care and maintenance that other, non-treated wood trims require, as well as the fact that it will look great from the minute that it’s installed. 

Switch to Preservative-Treated Wood Trim

Rather than putting up with the high costs and associated problems of redwood, consider making the switch to preservative-treated wood trim from Belco Forest Products. Their XT Trim comes in multiple lengths for easy installation and use, and comes with a 20 year limited warranty, so you can stand behind your work. Visit Belco Forest Products today to find out more about how their treated woods can help you with your next project.

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