Wood trim around exterior windows and doors can begin to wear, warp and rot over time. The other downside to rotting trim, besides the judgment coming from your neighbors, is that it allows water into all of those cracks and crevices and this can cause a whole lotta damage.
- Silicone Caulk
- Trim Lumber
- WeatherAll Extreme Exterior Paint
- Hammer & Nails
- Pry Bar
- Miter Saw
Did you know you can repair your own trim? You don’t need to ignore it any longer waiting for a handyman to arrive on your doorstep! Sure, it’s a little more complicated, but it will give you a chance to practice with those power tools right? Let’s get started.
Step 1: Check Trim Condition
Take a walk around your home and inspect your windows, doors or anywhere else where there is wood trim. Look for cracks, holes, and damaged, loose, or rotting wood. Determine whether you can repair the wood, if you will need to replace individual pieces, or need to replace all of the trim around a window or door. This can be overwhelming. Remember, you can take this piece by piece. No need to repair and replace the entire thing in one weekend.
Step 2: Make Repairs
If the wood isn’t rotting, excessively warped or otherwise badly damaged (lucky you!), you can simply make a few quick repairs to bring trim back to its original condition. If a piece of trim is loose, use a hammer and nails to re-fasten it to the wall.
Cracks between the trim and the wall can be filled with silicone caulk. Use exterior wood filler to fill and patch cracks in the trim itself as long as it is still structurally sound. Loose, flaking paint on the trim should be removed with a paint scraper. Other dents, nicks and scratches can be removed by sanding. Touch up with paint and you’re done!
Step 3: Replace Trim
Rotted and damaged wood trim needs to be replaced (I’m sorry). Measure each piece of trim to be replaced and write down the dimensions. You will need to cut a new, matching piece of wood to fit. When you buy new pieces of trim, be sure you add a few additional inches to the length so that you have room error (measure twice and cut once).
Remove the damaged trim using a pry bar, screwdriver or the claw of a hammer. Use a miter saw to cut the new trim pieces based on the measurements you took of the old pieces. Place a piece of trim so that your measurement marks are aligned with the blade and then turn the blade to a 45-degree angle and make your cut. Do this on the other end and make the cut at a 45-degree angle that is opposite the first cut. The angles you cut in the new trim need to correspond with the existing trim so that the new piece fits with the rest.
Use a hammer and nails to attach in place. To get the head of the nails below the surface, use a nail set and hammer to sink them in. Cover the holes with wood putty as you would in Step 2.
Step 4: Prime and Paint Trim
Painter’s tape should also be used to protect the edges where the trim meets the siding or brick of your wall (unless you have a very steady hand, which in that case, skip this step – YAY!)
I recommend using WeatherAll® Extreme exterior paint and primer in-one, as well as a small, angular-tipped brush (good for details and edges) and a larger brush for the main part of the trim. Caulk around the new trim piece and Voila! You are a DIY genius!