Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Making your own 1/2" round door & window trim

I neglected to post what we did for the exterior windows a few months back. Since we're just about ready to apply this new trick to the exterior doors, I figured I'd back up a little bit and fill in the gaps.

Here's what the original (a.k.a. old and battered) trim looked like. A 1" 1/2 round to which the shutter pins were attached.

We noticed the trim missing from a couple of exterior windows; I guess they had rotted away when the shutters were removed long long ago. It wasn't a big deal, I mean we overlooked it for a year, so what the heck. The problem lied in what to replace it with.

And this one (the 'back window') is without the 1" 1/2 round trim.

I wanted trim.

So we looked for it.

And looked. Nothing at HD or Lowes, nor the local lumber yards.

We found that we could special order the 1" 1/2 round wood trim from a lumber yard about an hour away for about $10/foot.

Ouch. Not in the budget, particularly since this was NOT even discovered as a 'want' until later on. We'd be needing about 16' for each window at a cost of $160/window.

Time to improvise.

What we DID find at Home Depot was 1" 1/4 round plastic PVC trim. I figured, we'd lie them on a flat surface, glue them together with Loctite Power Grab, use zip ties to hold them together overnight and viola! 1/2 rounds that will NEVER rot.

So that's exactly what we did. And it cost about 50 cents per foot, well... $1/foot if you add both sides together.

The next day, after cutting the zip ties off of the lengths of plastic, they needed sanded where the glue squeezed out and I couldn't wipe off the excess under the ties. No problem.

Then we set off to cut them to 45 degree angles in the corners, cut all three pieces to make sure they fit together, then used industrial glue and nails to set the pieces in place.

Hint: When sawing the angles, do it outside. The plastic melting smell reeks.

Here's the first one with the trim installed on the right side of the window. This is the kitchen window.

Here's where it got tricky:

After all of the PVC 1/2 rounds were installed, it looked great, but there was still the 'channel' in the center of the two 1/4 round pieces where they were glued together. It wasn't going to look right if we just painted them over, we'd have to fill the gap, which was kinda the plan along the way... it just didn't work out the way we planned.

We decided to use caulk to fill the channel, smooth it out to a perfect invisible round, then paint it.

Caulk would just not work. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how many hours I put into the endeavor, I could not get the caulk to lie smoothly. I had DH try it himself when he was absolutely incredulous that I (me, the caulk queen of windows) couldn't make it work.

Much to his chagrin, he couldn't either. It was WEIRD.

So we gave up on caulk and decided to do a 180.

"Why make it perfect? If it looks perfect, it won't match the rest of the exterior. Let's make it look OLD instead. "

So what's going to look imperfect, but hold onto the PVC, and perhaps even be sandable so we can make it as smooth as we want? Wood epoxy. Specifically, Minwax® High Performance Wood Filler. It's a 2-part epoxy you mix together and apply quickly. It sets up very fast, so if you're using it for the first time, use small batches.

We mixed it and spread it on the channel, not too smoothly, but enough to cover the channel and make the PVC look like older wood. I made a small inverse-spatula to spread on the wood filler (see drawing.) by tracing the outline of the PVC 1/2 round onto a piece of plastic (I think from the lid of a cat litter container) then cut out the curve smoothly. I used this to smooth out the filler onto the installed PVC right over top of the round.

After 30 minutes, we sanded it, then it was ready to caulk the sides and prime for paint.

Here's the final outcome: (back window)

Both of these two windows were done (below), the one on the left was the door we bricked in and made into a window, the one on the right is the one I call the 'back window' above).

We have plans to trim out our exterior doors the same way.

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