How to Easily Prime Exterior Trim End Cuts


For maximum durability, I back-prime exterior trim components such as fascia boards with 100% acrylic primer. But what about the ends of these boards?

If they are primed and caulked together, end-grain splices Prime Exterior Trim End Cutswill last over the long haul. Without priming, end-grain cuts will quickly soak up moisture and begin to rot.

The problem with priming them is that end-grain cuts can’t be painted until they are cut and fitted by the carpenters.

Since priming boards can be a potential headache for carpenters, I devised a simple system to make the process go as smoothly as possible:

  • As shown in the accompanying drawing, I keep the primer in a clear plastic container with a lid on it.
  • There is also a paint pad in the container, resting in a smaller plastic box to keep the pad’s handle out of the pool of primer.
  • When the carpenters are running exterior trim, they can easily swab the ends of the boards with a pass from the paint pad - you could also use a brush, but I’ve found that a paint pad is much faster because it carries more paint. 

I used this technique on the last spec house that I built - and it worked great.

The carpenters billed me for only a couple of extra hours of work because it barely made a dent in their speed.

- Byron Papa, Durham, N.C.

Tips & Techniques provided by Fine Homebuilding.
©2005 The Taunton Press


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