How to Fill Nail Holes and Paint PVC Trim
Despite what manufacturers say, sometimes you do need to finish this durable exterior trim
Remember when you knew exactly what to pick up at the lumber yard for exterior trim? It’s been a while now since the obvious choice was the most rot-resistant solid wood available in your area. Manufactured trim made from wood, plastic, composites, and cement, is now widely available. These engineered options promise not only to be durable materials, but to take and hold finishes with less maintenance. PVC trim is a popular choice. And for carpenters comfortable working with wood, the switch to PCV is manageable.
There are still some things to know about working with PVC. One common question builders ask is, “Does PVC trim need to be painted?” Manufacturers say it doesn’t, however they do recommend hiding or finishing cut edges, which will be more porous than the factory surface. However, this advice doesn’t necessarily reflect the experience of builders and painter who have worked with PVC.
Pro painter Jim Lacey says PVC is a breeding ground for mildew growth. “Just last year my company completed a very large PVC trim job in which all the trim required washing and removing mildew even though the trim was installed only months prior,” wrote Lacey, “It is possible that this issue is indigenous to the New England region, however I have no evidence to support this.” He also notes that some people want the durability of PVC, but would prefer a color other than white. Given Jim’s experience, we asked him to show us how he fills nail holes and paints PVC trim for a long lasting finish.
Jim’s tips for filling nail holes in PVC:
-Use a 2-part epoxy nail-hole filler made for PVC.
-Using your hands, blend the two different epoxy components until the color is evenly mixed.
-Only mix as much epoxy as you can use in fifteen minutes.
-Applcation: For small holes use your finger. For larger holes use a 1-inch putty knife.
-Completely fill the nail holes, leaving them slightly crowned to sand after the epoxy sets. Or, work it as smooth as possible by shaving it off with a putty knife or working it in with your fingertips.
-For sanding, use 100 to 120 grit sandpaper with light pressure.
-Use a dry rag to clean away any dust.
Jim’s tips for painting PVC:
-Always paint PVC for mildew and dirt resistance.
-Don’t use a primer.
-Use a 100% Acrylic paint.
-Spot prime large nail holes with the Acrylic paint.
More on PVC Trim
How to Install PVC Trim – See the unique methods that are needed to install this trim work material.
New Trim Fit for an Old House – A traditional porch project offers lessons in style, proportions, and seamless transitions.
PVC Roof Trim – A coastal builder’s technique for durable and weathertight fascias and soffits is based on years of experience with plastic trim.
Watch more Building Skills videos.