Aluminum/vinyl trim wrap - advantages and disadvantages
Aluminum / vinyl trim wrap is another great way to make the exterior of your house maintenance- free. There are three basic types of trim wrap- aluminum with a baked-on finish, aluminum with a vinyl (PVC) covering and a pure vinyl. The pure vinyl trim wrap comes pre-moulded so it's not applicable in all situations and is rarely used by contractors and trim mechanics. The other two types can be bent to any shape so they are very versatile. Out of the three types, the vinyl covered aluminum is my favorite, it resists scratching and mold much better than the baked on finish and also cleans up better.
Although trim wrap is a good looking product, you should know it may not look quite as good as painted wood trim. The reason for this is that with trim wrap you can see the nails and seams as opposed to wood where the seams and nails can be caulked over and cannot be seen. A qualified trim contractor knows how to install the wrap so that seams are not as visible from the main vantage points but the nails will always be visible. This is why some trim contractors put very few nails in the wrap so it will look as good as possible but this usually leads to the wrap blowing off in high winds. It is of my opinion that trim wrap looks better on your house with the proper amount of nails than laying in your neighbors yard with just a few nails. Another problem you should be aware of is trim wrap that is installed over brand new wood. Brand new wood has a high moisture content and over the years the wood drys out and shrinks. When the wood shrinks the nails loosen and your wrap begins flying off in high winds. If your trim was wrapped when your house was built you will most likely have this problem. In our area ( Hampton Roads , Norfolk , Virginia Beach , Chesapeake ) installation of trim wrap is often done when new houses are built. You can check this yourself by walking around your house and looking to see if any nails are backing out. The nails are fairly small so you may need a pair of binoculars if your trim is high off the ground. If there are any nails backing out you can be sure the rest are loose also. A trim contractor can take care of this problem for you by removing the nails that are backing out and putting in larger ones and adding extra nails to all of the wrap.This should cost you anywhere from $150 and up depending on the size of your house and the accessibility of your trim. Having just one piece of wrap replaced will cost you about the same so it's definitely worth the money to have your wrap re-secured before you lose any.
Hopefully this has not scared you away from the thought of wrapping your trim. When installed over established wood it will be just fine for the long haul and if you've ever had to pay to get your wood trim painted or moisture damage repaired you know how costly it can be.