Trimming the Roofline
Clean lines and durable details depend on careful framing and a systematic installation sequence.
Synopsis: Trimming a roofline can be done minimally, but Rhode Island builder John Spier prefers to go an extra step by using larger overhangs, elegant returns, and other exterior-trim details to make a house (or even an outbuilding) more attractive. To make sure that the trimwork will last, Spier makes sure that the framing is solid, and not bowed or out of square. He also adds detailing such as felt paper or peel-and-stick flashing to prevent water from getting behind trim or siding. He also builds the trim elements to prevent water infiltration. Spier dresses up corners by using box returns with flush fascias, tight miter joints, and a double rake detail. This article includes sidebars on why Spier prefers to nail by hand rather than use a framing nailer, and also his thoughts on the right places to use PVC trim.
I once took a prospective client to see two almost identical houses, one with economically minimalist trim and the other dressed up a bit with larger overhangs, elegant returns, and other exterior-trim details. I had to show her the plans and take out my tape measure to convince her that she wasn’t looking at two very different houses. Needless to say, she invested more of her limited budget in exterior trim, and that decision paid off in an attractive small house.
The detached garage shown here is a similar example. No one will live in or even live next door to this utilitarian structure, but it sits in a beautiful neighborhood and doesn’t deserve to be ugly. I dressed up the rooflines with simple, inexpensive 1x and 5/4 trim stock, Azek (www.azek.com) in this case.
Exterior trim isn’t quite as fussy as interior finish work, but on the other hand, it has to withstand weather…