DIY Exterior Trim Board Replacement

Are you thinking of painting the exterior of your home but are in need of repairs that can’t (and shouldn’t) be covered by a fresh coat of paint? A great place to start, is to check the exterior trim of your home! Maybe the wear and tear is visible to the common onlooker, or maybe the damage is hiding under paint. Always make sure to check your home for exterior trim damage. That way your new paint job isn’t at risk of bubbling, peeling, or molding from water creeping under the paint of your home.  

Where to Look

Before you start painting the exterior of your home check the exterior trim around your home for cracks, holes, loose, damaged or rotting wood. Trim is typically a decorative piece of your home that can be found around windows, doors under gutters, under the roof, and virtually anywhere the exterior would need to repel water from entering your home. Rotting wood is not always visible to the naked eye, make sure to feel the exterior trim on your home, looking for soft and squishy wood. Painting over rotted wood can happen if you’re not careful, and will cause you more problems in the future if it isn’t replaced promptly. Trim board replacement can be simple. Below are some tips to help you with your  exterior trim board replacement project.

Find a perfect match

If possible, it is always a good idea to take a piece of the old board with you to the lumber store to get the best match. However if the wood is rotten and you are unable to extract it all in one piece, take good measurements. Measure exactly how long the board is so that you’re not making extra trips to the store. And save the hassle and measure twice before cutting. When cutting, using a miter saw, it will ensure you have perfectly straight lines and perfect measurements.

Replacing Exterior Trim Board

 Luckily not all damaged trim boards need replacement, sometimes it’s as easy as adding a nail and re-caulking the exterior trim to the siding! However in some cases, like rotting wood, it’s best to replace the entire trim board, and sometimes the entire exterior trim around a window or door. There are plenty of tools you can use for this job, you can remove the damaged trim by using a pry bar, screwdriver or the claw of a hammer. First you will want to remove old caulking with a box cutter or sturdy putty knife. Next you will want to begin pulling out the nails (this may require puncturing the rotted wood and digging it out if the wood is unsalvageable). In most cases -if the wood is not too rotten- you can leverage the wood with a pry bar or the back of a hammer until you have fully extracted your exterior trim board. Make sure when you are pulling up the trim that you do not dent any of the siding in the process.  


Caulk and paint your new exterior trim board right away. You do not want your new wood exposed to water or vulnerable to further damage.


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