Is Composite Trim Truly Maintenance-Free?

Is Composite Trim Truly Maintenance-Free?

When someone replaces rotted wood trim on their home with some type of composite trim, initially there may be a feeling of satisfaction knowing that what they just installed will never rot on them again.

They may even have a slight feeling of invincibility at first as they may like to believe that what they have done has even created a maintenance-free situation for them.


I believe this to be at least partially true.

Yes, the composite trim that was just installed will not rot out on you.

Maintenance Free?

Well…that is another story…


It depends what you mean by

“Maintenance Free”…

Technically, after installing it, you could leave it alone and not have to touch it ever again.

Depending upon the situation though, there may actually be a bit more than meets the eye to do from a maintenance standpoint.

If the rest of the trim on the home is painted, then the majority of folks would elect to paint the composite trim to match.

Some folks may want to paint the composite trim due to the way it may look after the nail holes are filled [assuming it is shot in with a nail gun or fastened in such a manner where some type of nail (or screw) is showing].

Or, even if it is fastened with a no-show nail/screw system, after it is caulked in place, some may not like the way the caulk appears after it dries.

Composite trim will actually hold paint better than wood trim will.

Composite trim does not hold moisture behind paint coatings like much wood trim does and when painted with the correct system, its coatings will tend to have a tighter bond than a similar system may have to wood trim.

Even if you do not elect to paint it, composite trim may shrink on you over time and may have to be re-caulked.

To properly prep & paint composite trim, I suggest the following:


  • Fill nail holes
  • Caulk in trim
  • Use the appropriate bonding primer
  • Apply 2 coats of a latex/waterborne, high quality appropriate grade (exterior/interior) paint product.

After painting it, it really should not peel and should simply be repainted to freshen its look each time the house is painted going forward.

Composite trim is a WONDERFUL product!

We use composite trim often when we replace rotted wood for Clients.

We do typically prep & paint our composite trim after we install it.

Although not absolutely necessary, painted composite trim can cosmetically be very beneficial to do and after it is painted, it is virtually impossible to tell whether it is a piece of painted composite one is looking at or traditional wood trim.

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