Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) trim has become a popular and beautiful option to wood trim in recent years. This material can be used for a lot of different things in home building and remodelling, like window frames, skirting boards, and artistic moulding. Its growing success can be traced to a few key benefits that make it a great choice for many homes and builders.
Some Primary Advantages of PVC Trim
- PVC trim holds up for a lengthy time.
- Not prone to rot, bugs, or bending.
- Keeps its look and structure stable in bad weather and constant wetness.
- Well-suited for wet places like bathrooms, kitchens, and the outdoors.
- No need to paint or stain it as frequently as wood.
- Soap and water are all you need to clean it.
- No extra coats are needed to protect it.
- Saves time and money for homes.
Resistance to Moisture
- PVC trim doesn’t let water in.
- Stays the same and isn’t changed by moisture problems.
- Ideal for wet or muggy areas
This blog post is meant to answer some questions and concerns that people often have about using a nail gun on PVC trim. Many individuals and professionals know how to use nail guns on wood trim, but they may not know how to use these tools on PVC trim the best way. This detailed guide will help you install PVC trim correctly by covering important topics like the type of nails to use, nail sizes, nailing methods, and more.
Can You Nail Through PVC Trim?
There are some big changes between working with PVC trim and wood trim when it comes to fixing it. Understanding these differences will help make sure the fitting goes well and keep the PVC trim from getting damaged.
First of all, it’s important to know that PVC is lighter and more flexible than wood. So, if you don’t do it right, the force you use to nail can cause the PVC trim to shrink or change shape. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t nail through PVC trim; it just takes a different method and a little more care than nailing through wood trim.
Yes, you can nail through PVC trim, but there are a few things to think about:
- Nail Selection: Choose the right kind of nail for PVC trim to make sure it lasts long and doesn’t rust. The best nails for this job are made of stainless steel or zinc.
- Size: The size of the nail should be right for the thickness of the PVC trim so that the material doesn’t crack or break. As a general rule, you should choose a nail that is at least twice as long as the thickness of the trim. This will make sure that the nail goes deep enough into the base or frame behind the trim.
- Pre-Drilling: If you want to keep the PVC trim from breaking or cracking, you may need to drill holes in it first. This is especially true near the edges or when using bigger nails. To make a test hole, make sure to use a drill bit that is a little smaller than the nail.
- Nailing Technique: When nailing PVC trim, be gentle because too much force can damage it. Hold the nail gun perpendicular to the surface of the trim and apply even pressure to keep the nails from being driven in too far. If you’re using a hammer, tap the nails gently and try not to hit the PVC trim directly.
What Type of Nails Do You Use on PVC Trim?
Choosing the right kind of nails for PVC trim is very important for the success and durability of your project. It is best to use nails made of stainless steel or galvanised metal when nailing PVC trim. Both of these types of nails have benefits that make them good choices for PVC trim.
Stainless Steel Nails
- Highly immune to rust and rusting, so it will work well for a long time.
- Ideal for use in coastal areas or other places with a lot of water or salt.
- Comes in different types, but 304 or 316 stainless steel is the most famous because they don’t rust as easily.
- Coated with a layer of zinc to keep rust and rusting from happening to the steel.
- Compared to stainless steel nails, they are cheaper and still offer a good amount of security.
- Fits most general PVC trim uses, but may not be the best choice for places with a lot of corrosion.
You can’t say enough about how important it is to choose the right kind of nail for PVC trim. When you use the wrong nails, like plain steel nails, rust, and rusting can happen over time. This not only makes your PVC trim work less durable and less attractive, but it can also damage and break down the trim itself. By using stainless steel or galvanised nails, you can make sure that your PVC trim stays strong and looks good for many years.
When choosing nails, it’s also important to think about things like the length and width of the nails. Make sure to pick a nail size that works for the thickness of your PVC trim and the job at hand. This will help keep the trim from cracking or breaking when it is being put in place, and it will also make sure that it is securely attached to the structure underneath.
Nail Size for PVC Trim
When adding PVC trim, it’s important to use the right size nails to make sure the link is strong and doesn’t damage the material. The right nail size will depend on how thick the PVC trim is and what it will be used for. Here are some general tips for choosing the right nail size for your PVC trim project:
- The nail should be long enough to go through the trim and into the base or board behind it by at least 1-1/2 times the thickness of the trim. This makes sure the link is strong and lowers the chance that the trim will pull away from the building over time.
- To keep the trim from breaking or cracking, especially near the edges, the nail should be the right size for the thickness of the trim. Thinner nails are best for thinner trim, while thicker nails can be used for thicker trim.
Here is a table with suggested nail sizes and the trim widths that go with them:
|Trim Thickness||Recommended Nail Length||Recommended Nail Diameter|
|1/4 inch||1-1/2 inches||0.072 inches (15-gauge)|
|3/8 inch||2 inches||0.072 inches (15-gauge)|
|1/2 inch||2-1/2 inches||0.092 inches (12-gauge)|
|3/4 inch||3 inches||0.092 inches (12-gauge)|
|1 inch||4 inches||0.113 inches (10-gauge)|
Please keep in mind that these suggestions are general rules that may change based on the product and how it is installed. Always follow the instructions that came with the PVC trim you’re using for the best results.
By using the right size nails for your PVC trim job, you can keep the material from getting damaged and make sure the installation is safe and will last.
Can You Use a Nail Gun on Plastic Trim?
Yes, a nail gun can be used on plastic trim. Nail guns, which are also called pneumatic nailers or power nailers, are flexible tools that can be used for many things, like putting up PVC trim and plastic trim. In fact, using a nail gun has several benefits over nailing by hand, which is why professionals and do-it-yourselfers both like to use them.
Advantages of Using a Nail Gun on PVC Trim
Using a nail gun to put something together is much faster than using a hammer and nails. This is especially helpful for big jobs or when you have to finish quickly.
Nail guns make it easy to get the same amount of pressure and nail level, which can be hard to do by hand. This makes the fitting faster, more regular, and less likely to overdrive or underdrive nails.
The accuracy of nail guns makes it easier to be consistent with nail placement and depth, which is important for a professional finish that looks good.
Tips for Using a Nail Gun Safely and Effectively on PVC Trim
Choose the Right Nail Gun
Choose a nail gun that works with the type and size of nails suggested for your PVC trim job. This will help make sure the nails go in the right way and lessen the chance of damaging the trim.
Adjust the Pressure
Before you start, use a scrap piece of PVC trim to test the nail gun to find the best pressure setting. This will help you get the depth you want without overdriving the nail or hurting the trim.
Hold the Nail Gun Perpendicular
When putting in nails, hold the nail gun perpendicular to the surface of the trim to make sure the nails go in straight and evenly.
Avoid Nailing too Close to the Edges
Try not to hammer nails too close to the edges. When you nail too close to the trim’s edges, it can split or crack. When nailing, keep the nail at least 1/2 inch away from the edge of the trim.
Wear Safety Gear
When using a nail gun, you should always wear the right safety gear, like safety glasses and earplugs.
Stay Safe: Can A Nail Gun Kill You? Understanding the Dangers of This Construction Tool.
Pre-Drilling Holes for PVC Trim
In some cases, it can be helpful to pre-drill holes in PVC trim to make sure the fitting goes well and keep the material from getting damaged. Here, we show when and why you might need to pre-drill holes, as well as how to do it right.
When and why you might need to drill holes ahead of time:
Near the Edges
When nailing close to the sides of the PVC trim (within 1/2 inch), pre-drilling holes can help keep the trim from breaking or cracking from the force of the nail.
Thick or Dense Trim
Trim that is thick or dense: For PVC trim that is thick or dense, pre-drilling holes can help reduce the amount of force needed to drive the nails. This makes the fitting process easier and less likely to damage the material.
When it’s cold, PVC trim can become more brittle, which makes it more likely to crack or split when you nail it. This risk can be cut down by pre-drilling holes before installing them in cold weather.
Tips for Pre-Drilling Holes Correctly
Choose the Right Drill Bit
Use a drill bit that is just a little bit smaller than the nail you want to use. This will make a starter hole that gives the nail a better grip and makes it less likely that the trim will break or split.
Space Holes Evenly
Pre-drill holes at regular intervals, usually following the manufacturer’s instructions, to make sure the support is even and the job looks professional.
Don’t Drill too Deep
Make sure that when you pre-drill, you don’t go deeper than the nail is meant to go. When you drill too much, you can weaken the link between the trim and the structure below.
Use a Drill Stop
To make sure that the depth of the hole is always the same, use a drill stop, which is a collar that you connect to the drill bit.
Clean the Holes
After pre-drilling, take out any bits of PVC left in the holes before you nail. This will help make sure that the link between the trim and the nails is clean and strong.
Nailing Techniques for PVC Trim
When adding PVC trim, it’s important to use the right nailing methods to avoid damage and make sure the link is strong and will last. In this section, we’ll talk about how important it is to use the right nailing methods and share the best ways to nail PVC trim, such as where to put the nails and how far apart they should be.
Importance of Proper Nailing Techniques
Using the right nailing methods keeps the PVC trim from breaking, cracking, or becoming misshapen. This helps the material keep its shape and structure.
Using the right nailing methods ensures a strong bond between the trim and the structure underneath. This makes it less likely that the trim will pull away or become free over time.
If you use the best methods for nailing PVC trim, the work will be more regular and look better, giving your project a clean, professional look.
Best Practices for Nailing PVC Trim
Place the nails about 1/2 inch from the edge of the trim to keep them from breaking or splitting. Also, follow the instructions for where to put the nails, which may be different based on the product.
Drive the nails so that they are flush with the surface of the trim, but don’t drive them in too far, because that can cause dimples or other damage. On the other hand, underdriving nails can make the link less solid and give the wood an odd look. Using a nail gun with a depth setting can help you get the same nail depth every time.
Space the nails properly along the length of the trim, usually according to what the maker says to do. For horizontal trim, nails should be about 12 to 16 inches apart, and for vertical trim, they should be about 16 to 24 inches apart. But it’s important to follow the instructions given by the company that makes the PVC trim.
You may need to drill holes first to keep the trim from breaking or cracking, especially near the edges or when using bigger nails. To make a test hole, make sure to use a drill bit that is a little smaller than the nail.
Approach with Care
Be careful when nailing PVC trim to keep it from getting damaged. Hold the nail gun perpendicular to the surface of the trim and apply even pressure to keep the nails from being driven in too far. If you’re using a hammer, tap the nails gently and try not to hit the PVC trim directly.
Expansion and Contraction of PVC Trim
Temperature changes can cause PVC to trim to expand and shrink, just like many other building materials. Understanding how changes in temperature affect PVC trim and using the right fitting methods can help avoid problems related to expansion and contraction, making sure the finish will last and look good.
How changes in temperature cause PVC trim to grow and shrink:
- PVC trim is made of a flexible material, which means that its qualities change depending on how hot or cold it is. When the temperature goes up, the material gets bigger, and when the temperature goes down, it gets smaller.
- The amount of expansion and contraction relies on many things, such as the type of PVC trim, the range of temperature changes, and the colour of the trim (darker colours can absorb more heat, which could lead to bigger expansion).
When adding PVC trim, here are some suggestions for dealing with growth and contraction:
- Allow space for expansion: When adding PVC trim, it’s important to leave space for expansion at the ends of the pieces, especially when joining them. Depending on the product, the suggested size of the growth gap will be different. As a general rule, you should leave 1/8 inch of space for every 18 feet of trim.
- Use suitable fasteners: Choose connectors that give the trim some room to move as it stretches and shrinks. For example, when putting corner boards or soffit, use screws at the top and bottom of the trim piece and leave the middle part free to move as the temperature changes.
- Follow the advice of the manufacturer: When adding PVC trim, you should always check the manufacturer’s instructions for how to handle expansion and contraction. These suggestions will take into account how the product works and give thorough steps to make sure the installation goes well.
- Acclimatize the trim: Before putting the PVC trim, give it at least 24 hours to get used to the temperature and humidity of the area where it will be installed. This can help make the material less likely to move around when it is first put in place.
- Install trim when the temperature isn’t too hot or too cold. If you can, install PVC trim when the temperature is between 50°F and 70°F. This can help reduce the amount of stretching and shrinking right after installation.
Using Adhesives with PVC Trim
When putting up PVC trim, sometimes glue can be used instead of nails or in addition to nails. Adhesives can be used to make a strong link between the trim and the structure underneath, and they can also be used to join pieces of trim together so that they look like they belong together. In this part, we’ll talk about when adhesives might be a good choice and what kinds of adhesives work best with PVC trim.
When you might want to use glue instead of nails:
- Adding to nails: Sometimes, glue can be used in addition to nails to provide more support and a stronger bond, especially in high-stress areas or where trim pieces meet.
- Joining trim pieces: Adhesives can be used to make tight, smooth connections between trim pieces, like mitered corners or scarf joints. This can give a clean, professional look since the screws won’t be obvious.
- Trim that is thin or complicated: For thin or complicated trim pieces that may split or crack when nailed, you can use glue to make a strong bond without damaging the material.
The best kinds of glues to use with PVC trim are:
- Adhesives made just for PVC: Some companies make glues that are made to work with PVC trim. The goal of these adhesives is to make a strong bond that works well with the material. Make sure to follow the instructions from the maker for how to use it and how long it needs to cure.
- Adhesives that use solvents: Solvent-based glues, like those with methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) or tetrahydrofuran (THF), can be used to stick PVC trim together. Once the solvent disappears, these glues chemically weaken the PVC surface, making it possible to make a strong link. Make sure to use these glues in a well-ventilated area and to follow the safety instructions from the maker.
- Adhesives made of polyurethane: Polyurethane-based glues can also be used to stick PVC trim together. These glues make a strong, bendable bond that can move with the material as it expands and contracts. Make sure to follow the instructions from the maker for how to use it and how long it needs to cure.
When using adhesives with PVC trim, it’s important to follow the instructions from the maker and give the glue enough time to fully set. This will make sure that the bond is strong and will last as long as the work setting requires.
Filling and Painting Nail Holes in PVC Trim
If you nailed PVC trim into place, you might want to fill the nail holes to make the finish look smooth and professional. Also, PVC trim is often low-maintenance and doesn’t need to be painted, but you can paint it if you want it to look a certain way. In this part, we’ll talk about how to fill nail holes in PVC trim and talk about painting, including priming and types of paint.
Filling Nail Holes to Make a Smooth Surface
Choose the Right Filler
Use a high-quality filler made for the outside that is made to work with PVC materials. Some companies make fillers that work well with the PVC trim items they make.
Apply the Filler
Using a putty knife or your finger, press the filler firmly into the nail hole to make sure it is fully filled. Make sure to get rid of any extra filler on the top of the trim so that it looks even.
Let Dry Out and Cure
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how long the filler needs to dry and cure. This will make sure that the bond is strong and keep the filler from shrinking or breaking.
Sand the Surface
Once the filler has dried and hardened, lightly sand the filled area with fine-grit sandpaper (around 220 grit) to make a smooth, even surface.
Things to Think About When Painting PVC Trim
PVC trim is often made with a smooth, paintable surface, but a primer can help make sure that the paint sticks well and that the finish is even. Choose a high-quality, exterior-grade acrylic latex filler that is made to be used with PVC.
Types of Paint
The best way to paint PVC trim is with latex paint that is 100% acrylic. This type of paint sticks well, is flexible, and lasts a long time. It can also move with the material as it expands and contracts.
Use a Brush, Roller, or Spray Tools to Apply the Paint
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how to apply the paint and how many coats are needed. Make sure to give each coat enough time to dry.
Just like when installing PVC trim, it’s best to paint it when the temperature is in the middle, ideally between 50°F and 70°F. Extreme temperatures can change how well paint sticks and how long it takes to dry.
In this blog, we’ve talked about some important things to think about when adding PVC trim, such as how to nail it, what kinds of glue to use, how it will expand and contract, and how to paint it. We’ve talked about the good things about PVC trim, like how long it lasts, how little care it needs, and how it doesn’t get damaged by water.
- Choose the right nails and glues.
- If you need to, make holes first.
- Follow the rules for spacing and placement
- Leave space for growth
- Fill nail holes with the right filler.
- Follow the right ways to prime and paint.
By following these steps, you can make sure to install PVC trim in a way that looks good and lasts for a long time. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the product you’re using, and if you have any questions or concerns, talk to a professional.