Best Wood for Exterior Trim

Exterior trims are the materials you will find on a building’s exterior, especially the doors and windows. They serve as finishing and help block wind and every other kind of weather. They are extremely popular and almost in every home.

Now that you have picked wood as the material for your home’s exterior trim, it is essential to know the best wood to use for this purpose. There are different kinds of wood, but which is the best option for your exterior trim?

Best Wood for Exterior Trim

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Types of Wood That Is Best for Exterior Trim

It would help if you considered several factors when choosing wood for your home’s exterior trim. All woods are different; some are difficult to work with, while some give you little to no stress. Appearance is also an important factor.

Written below are some of the best types of wood for your exterior trim.

Fir Wood

Fir is one of the widely used wood for exterior trims. It is affordable and has minimum knots. These knots are always tight, making the work easier and faster.

The grain of Fir is generally straight and plain. The color of the heartwood is light reddish-brown with a hint of yellow. Fir is mainly used for finishing purposes because of its strength and appearance.

Cedar Wood

Cedar wood is also an excellent choice for exterior trims. This wood is rot-resistant, weather-resistant, and is resistant to insect attacks. These properties increase the durability of the wood, thereby making it long-lasting.

Why pick Cedar? Apart from the fact that Cedar has an aromatic scent, its grain pattern and rugged texture are also admired. Cedar has a straight grain with a coarse texture, and the best way to enhance its beauty is by using an oil-based stain.


Like Cedar, Redwood is naturally resistant to rot, decay, moisture, and insect attacks making it perfect for exterior trims. It is an expensive wood, but it is long-lasting and requires little to no maintenance as it does not need to be stained. Redwood grain is typically straight, with figured pieces sometimes being irregular.

The appearance of this wood will add an aesthetic value to your home. The heartwood color ranges from a pinkish-brown to a reddish-brown, and the sapwood is white or yellow. Redwood does not shrink or warp, making it strong and perfect for your home.

Pine Wood

Pine is not exactly the strongest wood for exterior trim purposes. It is easy to work with but can crack, split or warp if not appropriately sealed. Pine is also an excellent option for exterior trims, especially for those on a budget.

Pine is a light-colored wood with a closed and typically straight grain. The heartwood color is a light brown, while the sapwood color ranges from a creamy white to yellow. It can resist shrinking and swelling but is susceptible to dents and scratches.

What Material Do You Use for Exterior trim?

There are many other materials that you can use for the exterior trim of your home, but most people prefer to use wood. One of the reasons being it has aesthetic value.

Although, some kinds of wood tend to rot and decay over time which is its disadvantage compared to other materials. Apart from wood, below are some materials you can use for your exterior trim.

Plastic Trims

Different kinds of plastic trims are available, such as Cellular PVC, Vinyl, Foamed Polystyrene, Polyurethane, Polymer Composite Resin, etc.

Cellular PVC is made from polyvinyl chloride and can be shaped into different styles and sizes of your choice. Polymer trim is made by injecting a polypropylene resin into already formed molds of various sizes.

One disadvantage of using these trims is that they tend to contract, making them a wrong option for places with extreme temperature changes.

Plastic trims are very costly, about four times more expensive than wood trims, but they are easy to work with and are lightweight materials. You can paint them as you desire, although this is not required.

Fiber Cement Trims

Fiber Cement Trims do not require as much maintenance as other trim materials will. Compared to wood trims, they are highly durable and will last longer. This trim material is rot-resistant, impact-resistant, and resistant to insect attacks.

Unfortunately, Fiber Cement is not easy to work with. It is a heavy material, but it releases toxic dust (Silica) when being cut, which requires extra hands on the job. This trim is more expensive than wood trims, but luckily, most manufacturers offer a 15-year warranty.

Can I Use Pressure Treated Wood for Exterior Trim?

Pressure-treated wood is not the best choice for exterior trim. One primary reason is that the chemicals used to treat the wood often leave a greenish tone. This means that before you paint the wood, it is essential to prime the wood first, equal to additional expenses.

Apart from this disadvantage, there are many other reasons why pressure-treated wood is not the best option for exterior trims.

Pressure-treated wood is delicate, and it has a tendency to crack, split and warp. This is because the wood is soaked in a chemical solution for an extended period. When working with this type of wood for trims, one needs to be extra careful as it also contains a lot of knots. Constant maintenance is essential.

Is MDF Good for Exterior Trim?

MDF is Medium Density Fiberboard commonly used as an interior trim but not the best choice for exterior trim. The first downside of using MDF is more costly than most exterior trim materials.

It is not waterproof and does not do well with resisting moisture. This material will disintegrate and contract when it comes in contact with water and damp conditions. Although, painting this material provides little protection.

It is likely to make mistakes when choosing the perfect wood for your exterior trims. Some might even choose the best wood for interior trims and not exterior. Woods that are not resistant to moisture are wrong choices for exterior trims.

Let us take a look at Oakwood, for example. Oakwood has different types, and not every type is perfect for exterior trims. Red Oak is a better option for interior trims because of its porosity. When choosing Oak for this purpose, ensure to choose White Oak and Not Red Oak.

Southern Yellow Pine is sometimes used for exterior trims because of its affordability, but it is not the best option. This wood is prone to insect attacks and warping when it comes in contact with water. This reduces its durability, making it require regular maintenance.


Every type of wood has its advantages. When choosing wood for exterior trims, it is essential to pick water, rot, and insect-resistant wood. Pinewood is the best option for those on a budget. Redwood and Cedars wood are the top choices for your exterior trims.

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