unhappy with window trim - looking for input

carsonheimAugust 8, 2014


Our framer has trimmed our windows and it looks horrid. Here's how they look:

and here's how I want them to look:

Approximately what size is the trim around this window? I believe what they have on mine is 1x4. Also, I think I will be purchasing pediments to put on the tops of the windows. Is that the best way to achieve this look or should the framers be able to fabricate something like that?

Thanks for your input!

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I would say that at the least, your trim should be 6" material, not 4", and they are too thin. It almost looks like the siding sticks out more than the trim in spots. If they used a 1X4, it is actually only 3/4" thick. We used 5/4 material, which measures a full inch, and it is barely enough.

As for the rest of the trim- there is a huge difference in cost between your trim, and the second pic. I think you could add trim, but you have to be careful with water management at the top of the window. Waterproofing and flashing around windows is critical, and often done wrong, even by so-called professionals. Also, the type of trim should match the style of your house.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 6:02AM
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Traditional exterior window casing trim usually: 1) is painted a different color than the siding 2) has a head casing larger than the jambs 3) casing trim is not installed below the sill (sill projects over the siding to form a "drip")

The biggest cost will probably be the labor to remove the siding above the window and install new flashing. A projecting sub-sill should replace the apron trim.

If the interior finish is not yet installed and you plan to leave the apron trim, you should water test the sill.

I just noticed that the head flashing appears to be at the window frame and not at the top of the head trim. Exterior wall materials that do not overlap must have some form of "Z" flashing to prevent water from entering the wall system. If this is a "nail-fin" window the head flashing is in the wrong place. The flashing doesn't have to be as elaborate as in the photo but it should be installed correctly.

Here is a link that might be useful: ATW

This post was edited by Renovator8 on Sat, Aug 9, 14 at 8:08

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 7:49AM
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Thanks for the feedback.

Mush -- I was also thinking 6" rather than 4"

Here's the elevation detail the architect drew of the windows (they all are pretty much the same):

So that trim job is DEFINITELY not consistent with the plan.

Excellent info Ren. Will take your comments to framer. Thinking I need to purchase some crossheads to install, right? Or should the framers be able to build these for less? Then the flashing should be installed ON TOP of this, correct?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 11:54AM
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Hi Carson- yes, that's definitely a redo. Shame on them for trying to get away with that. Sorry you're having to deal with this already.

If... the windows prescribed are beyond the framer's skill level, the builder needs to find a better crew. This is the GCs responsibilty, to catch all this before you have to pay double to have it done correctly. And even if they say they will not charge to correct bad work, at the end of the day you may find it is more cost effective to fire a bad crew before they screw too much up.

Again, so sorry this is coming so early in the project:(

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 10:37PM
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I'm the GC. Eek. Met w framer yesterday and told him I'm not happy w windows. I've figured out what needs to happen. 1 x 6 down the sides, sill on bottom and I'll probably buy those crossheads to mount on top.

Ren - nothing's painted yet. That yellow color is the preprimed Hardi siding.

This post was edited by carsonheim on Sat, Aug 9, 14 at 23:01

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 11:00PM
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Your trim should be what is called 5/4 x or really measure 7/8". The current trim appears to be 1 x 4 or 3/4" actual thickness which is why it does not stand proud of your siding.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 10:06AM
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"Our framer has trimmed our windowsâ¦"


There's your problem. That and flashing details. I cannot overemphasize the importance of flashing. Your house will rot away in months without proper flashing.

HIre someone familiar, not a framer, and don't be surprised when he insists on a siding do-over.

This post was edited by Trebruchet on Sun, Aug 10, 14 at 10:14

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 10:13AM
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Especially agree with Treb if your "framer" also installed your windows.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 12:34PM
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Appreciate the input. Here's the way the flashing was done. Is this incorrect?

Also, it is customary in new home builds here in my location for the framer to install the windows. Is that not customary in other places?

My primary concern was the appearance of the trim. I've had two separate Graduate Master Builders (whatever *that* means..) check over the house and the windows. I asked specifically about that little aluminum drip flashing on top of the windows and was told it is correctly installed.

This window still needs to have the exterior trim pieces applied. It is not finished, nor is the siding painted yet.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 1:13PM
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Hi, curious what windows you are installing as I think our houses are aspiring for a somewhat similar feel - traditional, old house inspired, brick with some siding accents.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 12:37PM
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Hard to tell that close up but it appears the window flashing could be better. The WRB should be cut in a "modified I" fashion with the head piece lapped over the top flange and side window tape. The head flashing tape should go over the window flange first. At this particular location you will probably be ok with that close of an overhang. As for other locations like gables..

Probably safe to say that the rough sill was not sloped or flashed either. This is a more important detail even in locations protected by overhangs because water will eventually leak between the frame and more exposed glass.

Did you check the compatibility of the flashing with the WRB and seemingly vinyl windows? I smell trouble here too.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 3:17PM
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The jamb trim should not be wider than 4 1/2" but the width will not matter if it is hidden by shutters as shown in the drawing. Shutters should always overlap the trim. It is the head that should be taller whether or not it has a cap molding.

The windows are flashed as if they were wood with a factory brick molding; maybe they are. It would help to know what they are so we don't have to guess.

The flexible self-adhering flashing used is asphalt based and should be kept away from thin vinyl. The plasticizers in thin PVC will make the asphalt ooze out from under the cladding. But maybe these are wood windows.

"Graduate Master Builder" is a title the National Association of Home Builders gives to licensed builders with 5 years experience who have paid to take some of their courses. It is not a measure of carpentry experience or skill so I'm surprised anyone would mention it. You can get this level of education at home shows for free. I have had to take a 12 hour course every year for 40 years but it just allows me to keep my license.

There's something strange about the material above the windows; it doesn't look flat.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 10:18PM
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I noticed Rens observation too and now that I think about it, how did they get the top piece of trim to lay flat? My guess is they cut the flashing or pulled it away from the WRB to get it to fit into the corner. Again, may not matter at that location but on your first picture, it could be trouble if they flashed it the same way.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 11:35AM
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"Is this incorrect?"

According to the manufacturer, yes. The head flashing is to extend 2" past the rough opening; yours does not. While I'm not sure this is a serious error, it does show an installer who hasn't familiarized himself with the manufacturer's installation instructions. I'd like a picture of the sill flashing.

The manufacturer also addresses compatibility issues in this link. Click on the white space at the bottom:

Here is a link that might be useful: Tamlyn

This post was edited by Trebruchet on Tue, Aug 12, 14 at 11:41

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 11:37AM
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