Ah… the age-old dilemma — is PVC trim better or wood trim?
Well, what comes to your mind when you hear the word PVC?
Straight and rigid
Prone to cracks
Risk of wear and tear
The same can be said for wood. Every trim material is prone to show some wear and tear signs after some time. However, we are not talking about traditional PVC!
Before we proceed to the advantages and disadvantages of both these materials, here’s a little story that will explain to you why peel and stick trim molding is better than wood molding:
Janice and Samuel recently bought a new house. Thanks to their old friend, they were the first ones to bid on the house. They acquired the house in just a month. The initial home inspection revealed that the house had no problems and they could move in right away. The house was pretty big and Janice’s dream to decorate it was finally in reach. The first room she wanted to renovate was the living room. The wood paneling and the floorboards were an added bonus, but she could see a little bit of mold around the edges. Samuel decided to get a wood trim installed to complete the look. The room was done in just 2 days, and Janice was extremely happy with the results. After a couple of months, she saw mold again near the trim. In fact, the wood trim was starting to rot from the edges. Turns out, her dogs had peed in the corner and Samuel had cleaned up the mess with soap water.
After seeing the mess, Samuel’s neighbor and an old friend recommended that he use flexible vinyl edge trim instead to seal the edges. It’s been a year now and the trim still looks fine. There are no signs of any wear and tear and the PVC gels quite well with the wood floor.
So, why is it that the PVC trim worked better than the wood trim? Most construction projects use PVC trim because it’s cheap. It’s not as appealing as wood, but it does last longer. On the other hand, wood is vulnerable to mold and mildew. That’s just the basics. Now, let’s have a look at why PVC is so much better than wood:
What is flexible edge trim?
Flexible edge trim is an edge molding made from flexible PVC. Simple PVC is made from synthetic plastic polymer that does not break up easily. This is why it is used for pipes as well as containers that hold water. Most of the plumbing fixtures in your house are made of PVC.
Coming to flexible PVC, its structure is a little different. Its unique design makes the PVC flexible and by that, we mean VERY flexible. It can be molded into any shape, which makes it perfect for sealing edges. It doesn’t create that ‘ping’ sound when it is tapped.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Wood Trim
In order to understand why flexible PVC self adhesive caulk strip is better than wood, you need to understand how this material works.
- One of the biggest advantages of wood is that it has a natural look. The genuineness of wood is hard to duplicate and therefore, you will find it in most modern homes
- The surface of the wood can be painted due to its porous surface
- Wood’s porous nature is also what puts it at a disadvantage. It absorbs moisture pretty quickly, which makes it shrink. Moreover, it’s prone to mold and mildew
- As the weather changes, wood shrinks and expand, which leads to bowing and cupping. As a result, the material starts to curve from the corners. With time, it pulls away and the gaps start gathering dust
- The more moisture wood absorbs, the more it rots and eventually crumbles. When mold develops underneath the wood, it affects the floorboards too. This creates an opening for ants and other pests. Plus, termites love moist wood and these critters spread quite quickly
- Wood requires regular maintenance such as sanding. A sealant also needs to be applied on top to protect the coating
Advantages and Disadvantages of Flexible PVC Trim
- PVC is quite affordable, which is why a peel and stick trim molding made from this material tends to be cheaper than wood. Wood prices change every year according to its demand, season and type. On the other hand, PVC price is pretty stable because it is used in every construction project
- PVC trim does not absorb moisture, which makes it the best molding option in humid areas. Moreover, it does not suck ground moisture no matter what the surface type
- It does not shrink or expand when seasons change
- No food source can be found in PVC, which keeps it safe from insects. In fact, nothing can get through this material, so you can install it anywhere in the house
- Like wood, PVC can also be painted but to lock in the color, you will have to coat it with a sealant
- The biggest advantage of flexible edge trim is that you don’t need to cut or saw anything. The self adhesive caulk strip will mold to the surface perfectly
- The strip is easy to apply and remove. Check out our blog “Replacing old caulk with InstaTrim” to know how to remove caulk from any surface
- It is flame-retardant. You can even install it in the kitchen for a neat and clean finish around the counter and cabinets. The trim won’t feed the fire, which makes it the best molding option
- You can easily curve flexible PVC around the corners. If a room has a unique structure, you can use PVC trim to highlight its beauty
We can safely conclude that a flexible PVC trim is way better than a wood trim. If you still want a natural wood look, you can get it in PVC too.
Greg Amundson is the founder and creator of InstaTrim & have been working in the home construction industry for 30+ years and have always had a passion to make DIYers’ life easier by developing products like black caulk tape, flexible white plastic trim, grey PVC corner trim, etc.