Attention to detail will yield tidy trim jobs

By Michael Haigley
September 03, 2002

Old ways are the best ways, part 1.
"You want to hire a carpenter who knows how to use a hammer.For some jobs, nail guns are the tool to use, but not always fortrim. Guns drive nails so fast and hard, you lose the ability toselectively snug a board up against a particular surface. Workingmethodically, close-up with a hammer, forces you to concentrate onnuances of the job you might miss otherwise.

Old ways are the best ways, part 2.
If you read my column last time, you know my preference forsplines (gasket-like layers of metal or felt paper tucked behindtrim). Before I nail corner boards in place, I run a spline of feltthe entire vertical length of the corner, letting about 9 inches offelt overlap each side. That provides an extra water barrierbeneath the corner board and siding joints.

Watch the angles. Ideally, corner boards and fascia boards wouldextend the length and height of a house. But that's not possible onbuildings wider or taller than about 16 feet. So you have to joinlengths of lumber together. You want to avoid butting sectionsblunt end to blunt end. The joining ends should be mitered?cut on45-degree angles to increase the bonding surface. Besides nailingthe mitered joints, use a silicon-based caulk to seal them. And usethe same caulk to join the edges of corner boards previouslyassembled on the ground. An important point about mitered joints onvertical trim, such as corner boards: Assemble the trim so that thejoint points downward to channel water to the outside surface andto the ground.

Pay attention to the breathing spaces. Ventilation systems insoffits help houses exchange inside and outside air. But becausethey're holes, they can also let in undesirables, from rain tonesting critters. So make sure vents are installed in a way thatkeeps water from draining from the outside to the inside and thatscreens out creatures. If you're checking out a house, look closelyat the condition of the soffit screens. Are there gaps or tears?And look closely at the vents. Has some overeager painter cloggedthe breathing holes?