Exterior molding styles

Written by hannah wahlig
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Exterior molding styles
Trim and moulding refer to any exterior surface distinct from the siding. (home sweet home image by David Dorner from Fotolia.com)

Exterior moulding and trim can dramatically impact the visual appearance of a home's exterior. Exterior moulding is available in a wide variety of materials and styles, each of which create a different feel for the exterior of a home.


Exterior moulding and trim have been incorporated into the exterior of homes, palaces and temples for centuries. In the seventh century, Japan's Asuka period saw the incorporation of ornate wooden detailing in the form of moulding and corner trim into traditional Japanese buildings and temples. In the European Victorian era in the middle of the nineteenth century, elaborate architectural detailing introduced a revival of Gothic styles through detailed exterior moulding and detailing. The industrial revolution created a mass-manufacturing process that made trim and moulding widely available to general consumers. Exterior moulding is now a common piece of exterior home design.


As a visual, aesthetic element to exterior home design, exterior moulding is a simple and inexpensive way to remodel or update a home's exterior. Exterior moulding styles can be used to create a cohesive look to the outside of a home, particularly in historical restorations. Exterior moulding can match the colour or style of a home's exterior, or it can serve as a contrasting element to a modern home in terms of moulding colour or style.


Exterior trim and moulding are available in a wide variety of styles and types. Wood moulding is one of the less common moulding options because of its tendency to warp with exposure to heat and moisture. However, wood moulding can be handcrafted into several elaborate design styles, making it an ideal choice for restored historical homes.

Plastic exterior moulding is a more common material choice, because it is resistant to weather damage. Plastic mouldings can be purchased in a variety of styles that resemble interior crown mouldings. Plastic exterior moulding is typically a single, solid piece, which means that some designs that are possible in handcrafted wood moulding are not possible in plastic moulding. Other synthetic materials such as DuraBoard are designed to look like wood and have all of the advantages of wood without the potential drawbacks associated with warping or weathering.

Modern homes in the craftsman or post-modern styles incorporate minimalist trim in simple vinyl or wood beams. Typically the minimalist style uses trim in white or cream colours to minimise visual distractions.


Exterior moulding contributes to a home's value by increasing the curb appeal of the home. Selecting appropriate exterior moulding is an essential component to home renovation and historical restoration. Exterior trim and moulding also provides an opportunity to add colour to a home's exterior. Trim and moulding make a home look finished, increasing the overall value of the home.


Exterior moulding can be used to frame windows, doors and the sides of a home. Exterior trim and moulding can also add detail to roof lines, gables or porches. It's important to choose exterior moulding in a style and colour that complements the overall exterior design of the home, as well as the surrounding landscape. For example, a minimalist home pairs best with simple moulding rather than ornately detailed handcrafted wood moulding.

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