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Re-siding cedar house and need advice on trim materials – composite perhaps?

gtmsmith | Posted in Green Building Techniques on

Hey guys… I’ll ask my question first and then you can read into some of the background and build/remodel details:

Question: Is it silly to consider composite trim for windows/doors/skirt/corner boards and at the eaves on a horizontal 1×8 rustic channel western red cedar sided home?

31ish year old western red cedar house with 1×8 channel rustic cedar siding and original no longer manufactured wood/metal casement windows.

I am planning a large project to re-side/re-trim/install new windows on two sides (then angled siding brings water directly to the windows, the windows are old and destroyed and the trim has had its best days already) I am changing the siding on these two sides too from being on a 45 degree angle to horizontal. The siding has actually held up well considering the previous owner probably only solid stained the home twice in 31 years. There currently is no rainscreen/gap etc. The home is 2×4 construction with wood sheathing and a no name house wrap.

I have decided to use Andersen casement 400 series vinyl exterior and wood interior windows (already on order and yes I know there are better windows out there)

I have also already decided on the Hydrogap house wrap and their flashing tape for the windows. I also have the stinger cap stapler too.

I havent seen folks mix composite trim and this cedar siding before (I am sure its been done) but I havent found photos or just homes in my area like this. I know the composite will expand more than the cedar and it will take a specific paint. My idea was to paint it the same color as the windows exterior (Andersen’s Sandtone) and then keep the cedar siding a natural cedar brown solid stained color similar to what it is now.

The reason I am considering this is the composite will last longer, shed bugs/woodpeckers (and those things done care for the siding the seem to care for the edges/corners etc) and it will give me the chance to bring in a little bit of a two-tone approach.

The plan was to tear down, add new wrap over existing, install windows, install all new composite trim, and then install new horizontal cedar siding.

What are your thoughts or opinions?

Thank you!


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  1. User avatar GBA Editor
    Brian Pontolilo | | #1

    Hey Greg.

    I have seen lots of projects with mixed siding and trim materials and haven't heard of any problems. I've done it myself, mixing fiber cement, PVC, and wood siding and trim materials without a problem at least in the first 5 or 6 years (haven't seen the house in a while). And of course the aesthetic choice is yours to make. As you mentioned , it is important to think about how the materials will move and install them properly. And if the manufactured materials have a warranty, follow the install instructions closely.

  2. User avatar
    Michael Maines | | #2

    Greg, I agree with Brian--two houses I built on the Maine coast over ten years ago (2006, 2008) are still in fine condition, with all PVC exterior trim and wood siding. One was hand-split red cedar shakes, the other a mix of white cedar shingles and western hemlock clapboards, literally built on sand dunes. In fact I wrote about one of them here: The windows on both were aluminum-clad wood windows (Marvin and Kolbe).

    These days I do not use PVC exterior trim because of health and environmental concerns of PVC manufacturing and disposal, but it is durable.

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