As a carpenter of 32 years, I know wood and how to work with it properly. In my company, we repair a lot of degraded exterior surfaces generally affected by moisture (like the bay window wall in the video, where the original exterior material was poorly chosen). With today’s modern materials, there are a whole slew of wood alternatives that may be a better fit for specific applications. For this project, we felt that AZEK trim would be the best choice for longevity and low maintenance.
AZEK trim is one of the more versatile, long-lasting alternative materials on the market. It can be cut and molded using the same tools you would use for wood, and AZEK trim is great in areas that require extra protection from moisture (where wood will degrade quickly and require a lot of maintenance). AZEK trim is not a structural product, so that should be accounted for when planning your project.
The material can be ripped, routed, turned, milled and sanded to the desired sizes of shapes for install. Plus, AZEK trim has a great system for specialty post wraps. Another feature with AZEK trim is a hidden fastening system that consists of a counter-sunk screw and plug (which incidentally doesn’t need to be glued or finished). Bondo can also be used on AZEK trim, as well as caulking, primer, and vinyl safe paint. Refer to the installation PDF for finishing advice.
Because AZEK trim is a PVC material, it’s important to use their proprietary PVC adhesive when connecting joints or adhering components to make larger sizes. It’s the glue that will compensate for any movement and keep your joints and connections from separating.
Below are four main points to keep in mind when installing AZEK trim:
Be mindful of AZEK’s expansion and contraction
It’s important to understand that AZEK trim has a higher expansion/contraction value than wood, so it’s very important to follow their recommended gluing and fastening systems. As always, it’s up to the craftsman, architect, engineer, or contractor to become educated about suggested manufacturer’s installation techniques and applications.
Pay attention to material handling and cleanup
AZEK trim shapes like wood for the most part. Material can be adhered, routed, cut, lathed, milled and sanded to just about any shape imaginable! There are a couple of things to expect. First, work with it like it’s finish material. And secondly, the dust created has a lot of static electricity so it clings to everything (Clothes, tools, etc.) Solution? Get some anti-static spray and spray your clothing, your tools and anything else you want to clean up more easily.
Consider this when gluing AZEK trim together
The PVC adhesive creates a bond that is stronger than the material itself. I glued two boards together and tried to pull them apart, and the material broke before the glue separated! Check out the video above to see the demonstration.
Remember this tip when fastening AZEK
You have two options when fastening AZEK trim: screws or nails. I like using the Cortex Screws because they countersink perfectly and then are plugged without glue. This option will provide you a nice, finished look. If you choose to use nails, you will have to use a full round head, smooth nail with a shank size that you can’t bend in your hand. Once again, consult the installation PDF for further instructions.
If you’ve worked with wood, transitioning to AZEK trim should come easily, and allow you to produce attractive, more durable results.