PVC Fascia

By Todd Fratzel on Siding & Trim

PVC+Fascia PVC FasciaI’m a huge fan of using PVC fascia trim boards on new houses. PVC trim boards come in many sizes and work excellent for exterior trim applications. For this new house construction we’re using PVC trim boards from Kleer.

Kleer trim boards are a rigid cellular PVC board that comes in standard 1x and 5/4 thicknesses. For this particular house we’re using a 1×8 sub-fascia with a 1×3 shadow fascia. We’re also using a keystone detail at the peak as you can see in the photo (I’ll explain a practical reason for this below).

Obviously the biggest reason for using a PVC trim board is long term maintenance combined with traditional architectural appeal. PVC trim boards will not rot, twist, split or warp. In addition you can leave it unpainted if you like or paint it to match a certain color scheme. The other feature that I really like is you can cut, mill, plane and fabricate with PVC trim boards just as you would with a wood product.

Having used this product on many houses over the last couple of years I’d like to share some tips and suggestions.


Installation Tips

  • Glue all joints – PVC shrinks and expands more than wood. This results in joints opening up due to temperature variations throughout the year. One way to help minimize the effect of this movement is to glue each joint. I like to use a clear PVC cement along with a clear PVC primer (same as you use for gluing PVC plumbing pipe).
  • Follow the manufacturers recommendations on nailing. First of all DO NOT use a finish nail gun to attach PVC fascia trim boards. You need to use a headed nail (I prefer stainless steel rink shank siding nails). Be sure to nail the PVC trim boards as close as the manufacturer recommends, this helps minimize thermal movements.
  • Try to install PVC fascia and trim boards when the outdoor temperature is as close to 50 degrees F. This will help minimize thermal movements as well. If you install the PVC trim boards in really hot or really cold weather then you are at the extreme movement point which means there will be excessive shrinkage or expansion when the temperature changes.
  • Use a decorative keystone or similar feature at the top of gable rakes. PVC moves quite a bit due to thermal changes and the ends move the most. This means that the joint at the peak tends to “open” up in cold weather. By installing a keystone we are able to cover up and hide the gap that is formed.
    mulching+the+flower+garden PVC Fascia

You can use the Bostitch N66C-1 1-1/4-Inch to 2-1/2-Inch Coil Siding Nailer with Bostitch 2″ 15 Stainless Steel Coil Siding Nails to attach PVC fascia trim boards.

PVC trim boards are manufactured by many different companies today. You will find most of them are very close in price. Typically PVC trim costs about 2 or 3 times what primed pine costs. However, if you think about the longevity and lack of painting and maintenance I think the price is well worth the investment.

All of the exterior trim on our new home is PVC including the fascia. We also used PVC lattice under the porch.

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5 Comments

  1. Sean McGann says:

    Hi.

    I am a homeowner in Ohio and my home was built 2 years ago. I have PVC trim throughout the exterior, and it has pulled away from the house in many places, and most of the joints are separating. It is a mess.

    After reading your post, I now know why. Finish nails were used, and the joints were not glued.

    I now have to figure out how to repair the trim, or whether I need to have whole thing redone, which would be a disaster.

    It seems that going around and re-nailing it with Stainless steel coil siding nails would help with the “pulling away” situation, but I am at a loss for what to do about the 1/8″ to 1/4″ (more in some places) gaps in the joints. Any suggestions?

    Thanks!

    Sean

    • Todd says:

      @ Sean – You’re not alone with your pvc trim troubles. New products like this always run into unexpected issues that take time to correct. My new home also has the same issue and I’ve been slowly fixing the problem. At this point you really only have two options.

      Option #1 – Remove all the trim and start over. This is obviously very expensive and not what I plan to do.
      Option #2 – Nail the trim properly, use a ring shank stainless steel nail with a head. Then you can fill the gaps with “bond and fill” pvc filler.

  2. Do these PVC fascia boards have a wood-like texture? Or are they usually smooth?

    I’ve seen quite a bit of new construction use PVC railing and have never liked the look or feel. That is personal preference, of course. I may not even be able to see the texture of the fascia boards from the ground (I have a 2-story house), so perhaps a lack of texture isn’t as big an issue as I’m making it out to be…anyway, thanks for the heads up for the expanding/shrinking issues that PVC boards have!

    • Todd says:

      @ Michael Stalker – Most PVC trim comes smooth on one side and textured on the other. This way you can choose which look you like better.

  3. Max says:

    @ Michael Stalker – if you go for the textured look it can come reversible. Versatex is another PVC trim that carries both smooth and they have a timber ridge finish. Their timber ridge matched close to Hardie siding.

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