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Porch Post Trim

Adding Trim to a Porch Post

Dear Concord Carpenter,

I have a side porch that has painted 4×4 posts.  They are fairly new and in great shape but ugly.  I want to make them look bigger and better.

A friend told me to buy 1×4 and 1×6 trim and rip the 1×6 trim to fit.  Any ideas?

Thanks Ron F

Dear Ron,

Your friend is “almost right.”  Most 4×4 posts measure 3-1/2″ x 3-1/2″ or slightly larger than that – especially if it’s pressure treated.

I suggest you buy 1×6 for all four sides and rip them  slightly larger than the actual dimension.    I prefer to assemble 3 sides, slip it over the post, shim as needed and then install the final trim board to the post.

Allowing for shimming here is not a bad idea as the post will expand and contract differently than the trim.

When fastening the post trim make sure to the install nails only at the top and bottom of the post and only into two opposite sides.  Fastening to the post this way will allow the trim to be less affected by the posts seasonal movement.

Your trim can be primed pine, cedar, pvc or other depending on your budget, tastes and desire for maintenance free.  I prefer pvc.  be forewarned that dark colors and pvc  are a recipe for massive movement, especially on sunny sides of the post!  Avoid the  dark colors on pvc.  Read this post on Porch Repair



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