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Best Wood for exterior trim

Quickstep's picture

I'm going to make some custom trim for around my new front door. I was going to make it out of Azek, but I though that might look kinda plastic next to a traditional wooden door. So, I think I'll make it of wood. What's a good choice that will resist rot and hold paint well? It's not a lot of trim, so I can probably use something kind of expensive without going broke. I'm not using teak though......  

(post #60126, reply #1 of 7)

Painted?  Cedar.  I use cedar on exterior trim where wood is called for, unless a stock pine molding is required.  Mohogany might last a little longer, but I think cedar paints out better.  (And it's cheaper.)  Just ensure you use stainless steel fasteners.  And back prime everything.


I never met a tool I didn't like!

"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."  Invictus, by Henley.

(post #60126, reply #2 of 7)

Teak doesn't paint well, too oily.  Walnut's great.  I've often used it as an exterior painted wood.  Good luck getting it to rot.  Heartwood only.

PAHS Designer/Builder- Bury it!

Edited 2/17/2004 6:54:26 PM ET by VaTom

PAHS works.  Bury it.

(post #60126, reply #3 of 7)

Paint-grade wood? I's use cedar w stainless for it's price and availability in my area.

Sythetic? Pass on plastic and look at something along the lines of PrimeTrim.

There are 10 kinds of people in this world; those who understand binary and those who do not.

(post #60126, reply #4 of 7)

Western red cedar, redwood, mahogany, are your choices, in ascending order of price.  If your entry door is well-sheltered from the weather and sunshine, ponderosa pine or eastern white pine will do nicely.

Gene Davis, Davis Housewrights, Inc., Lake Placid, NY



(post #60126, reply #5 of 7)

Definitely not pine, it's one of the most rot prone woods there is.

I built and trimmed a door in Western Red Cedar in 1999.  The door is under a small porch roof but gets direct splash of water in storms.  I finished it with Danish Oil because I wanted a natural look.  So far it's graying slowly, but no sign of rot or checking at all.

Cedar is a very soft wood, so it's difficult to work with without dinging it.  I also got mild flu-like symptoms for a few days following every time I worked with it.  But it produced fine results for my Craftsman style home.

For added protection you could treat the cedar with Woodlife perservative and let it dry thoroughly before priming and painting it.

I concur with the recommendation for stainless steel nails.

(post #60126, reply #6 of 7)

 I've used mahogany in the past, but with the new restrictions its getting expensive as well as more difficult to find ( I'm talking about real mahogany ). My regular supplier is now recommending Spanish cedar. He says its harder than regular cedar and holds up real well outdoors. I don't have any experience with it yet, but you can ask around and see.

   BTW, Spanish cedar is not related to regular cedar.

(post #60126, reply #7 of 7)


cypress, paints well, machines well, and the price ain't all that bad.

You can get clear cypress here in TX cheaper than cedar.  I used to live in Iowa and it was far cheaper than cedar or redwood.