Trim Choice and Design

Concerned about the cost of siding in Edmonton? When I started with James Hardie Building Products in 2012, I expected that a project had a certain budget, and if our costs exceeded that budget, we either had to reduce our product price or lose the project. As I spent more time working with exterior contractors and really digging into the numbers, I found that we could create significant savings without sacrificing product choice just by changing design elements. In each post on this topic, I will detail some common ways you can save on the cost of your project without sacrificing the overall look you want to achieve.

One area that can create a significant savings is the trim. Trims can be used to create a pleasing, contrast look around your windows, doors, and corners. However, they can also add a significant cost to your project. It is my recommendation that you always keep trims on the front of your house – removing those will sacrifice some of the curb appeal you want to achieve with your renovation. However, removing the trims around the side and back windows, as well as your back corners can create a significant savings to your project. You’ll want to evaluate how important the design of your sidewalls and back of your house are before making this decision. If you have a high visibility corner lot, or if you have a large backyard that you plan on spending a lot of time in – this might not be the solution for you. But if you have a house with a narrow side passage between your neighbour, or if you aren’t concerned about the view from the backyard, this is an opportunity to reduce cost without changing the core products you decided on originally.

 Another area to look for savings with trim is the width of the pieces. Generally speaking, the wider the trim, the higher the product cost. If using a 3.5” trim instead of a 5.5” trim around your roofline isn’t going to break your heart, tell your contractor! This isn’t going to reduce your labor costs so the savings are limited in comparison to removing trims all together, but reducing the width can still save tens or hundreds of dollars depending on the size of the project. If you are taking multiple quotes, make sure each contractor is aware of the width you’re looking for so you end up comparing apples to apples with your quotes.

The standard trim widths in Alberta are as follows: 3.5”, 5.5”, 7.25”, 9.25”, and 11.25”. When referring to them, most contractors use the nominal lumber widths, meaning they round up on each width. So, if your contractor is referring to a 4” Hardie Trim and you know that the size Hardie offers is actually 3.5”, you’re likely talking about the same size. If you’re ever not sure, feel free to give me a call!