Cutting Corners to Achieve Design Excellence

By Don Browne

Emulated wood styles developed by vinyl siding and PVC manufacturers are made with pocketed trim and overlapping side panels that provide functional solutions to rigid edges, tricky corners and other transitions and terminations in which authentic wood falls short. No need for caulking and spackling when you’re working with polymeric exterior products.

In VSI consultant and author Fernando Pages Ruiz’s Architectural Polymers: Best Practices for Architectural Specifications, the Final Chapter (4) is dedicated to Workarounds that vinyl siding makes possible. I particularly like the two sections dedicated to Corners. Section VII. Mitered Outside Corner Options (available in various sizes from 3.5” to 6”) demonstrates how a basic simple vinyl outside corner post can create an elegant profile. Other options include a tooled mitered corner in polyash and vinyl fluted corner post to name a few. And whereas shake siding material sticks out from the siding plane, cellular PVC shake makes a realistic, aesthetically pleasing corner.

Section VIII of this chapter shows how vinyl inside corners – contrary to some designers’ viewpoints – emulate an authentic wood appearance quite nicely. The extra width on a vinyl siding inside trim or lineal adds an attractive design component to the exterior versus the traditional wood version, which looks naked and understated.

This entire chapter of the book is intended for – in the author’s words – helping “exacting designers employ camouflaging techniques to control aesthetic outcomes of vinyl material characteristics.” It contains 13 sections on workarounds – including hiding J-channels, compensating thin millwork edges and simulating butt joints – each with corresponding AutoCAD files that you can download into your drawings (if you are using the PDF version of the book).

But start with the corners if you’re looking to add more elegance to your exterior designs – especially in traditional neighborhoods with Victorian or Colonial styles.