Q: Does VERSATEX exterior trim require special code approval?
A: No. However, VERSATEX is approved under its Code Compliance Research Report #CCRR-0149 from Architectural Testing. The report is applicable to all lengths and widths of VERSATEX trimboards, sheets, cornerboards, soffit, fascia, frieze, one-piece column wraps, Stealth Trim profiles, beaded products and moulding profiles. VERSATEX 1/2" X 6" Regular and Stealth Beadboard has passed the stringent UL580 Wind Test for coastal ceiling applications.
Q: Does VERSATEX trim require painting?
A: VERSATEX does not require painting to validate the warranty but, like any product, it will weather over time and may eventually need to be painted.
Q: Does VERSATEX require a primer?
A: A primer may be needed to receive the paint manufacturer’s warranty. Excellent adhesion can be achieved by properly cleaning the board with a detergent or denatured alcohol before applying a top coat of paint to VERSATEX.
Q: What type of paint do you recommend for coating VERSATEX trim?
A: 100% acrylic latex or 100% acrylic latex with a urethane additive should be used to achieve superior coating adhesion and flexibility. Lacquers are not recommended with VERSATEX because lacquers are a more brittle coating and will not flex with movement in the VERSATEX trim. Paints like Duration by Sherwin Williams, Manor Hall by PPG and Moorlife by Benjamin Moore adhere well to VERSATEX. Paint on VERSATEX will last three to five times longer than paints on wood or wood composites due to the absence of moisture in the substrate. Sherwin Williams also offers a field applied coating under their “Green Seal®” product designation. Kem Aqua® BP Enamel is a water reducible polyurethane, acrylic top coat that offers fast dry times and no critical recoat times. Due to its excellent adhesion properties, it is an ideal coating for cellular PVC. A primer is not recommended, but if you prefer to prime the trim, use Aqua Kem® Bonding Primer E61W525,which also offers a field applied coating under their “Green Seal®” product designation.
Q: What preparation steps should be followed before painting VERSATEX trim?
A: Follow the paint manufacturer’s preparation steps. To ensure good adhesion, the surface of the product should be clean, dry and free of dirt, mildew, chalk, grease and any other surface contaminants before applying paint. Keep in mind that cellular PVC may have a static charge on the surface of the product which tends to attract dust. Cleaning can be accomplished using a mixture of a mild detergent (Spic ’n Span®) and water. Other cleaning agents include mild household cleaners, or degreasers for more stubborn stains. Prior to cleaning, it is a good practice to fill all nail holes and remove any marks or blemishes that appear during the installation process. Sanding the surface is an acceptable method of removing blemishes if painting. However, sanding the original exterior surface will expose the micro cell structure.
Q: Can VERSATEX trim be painted dark colors?
A: Only light to medium colored paints with a light reflective value of 55 units or greater should be applied to VERSATEX. Using a paint with an LRV below 55 units will void our product warranty. Don’t assume the paint is a light color. Too many times we have had cases where contractors believe the paint they used was a light beige only to find out it had an LRV in the 20s or 30s. Consult the paint manufacturer for the LRV of your paint.
Q: Can I paint over a dark color on my VERSATEX trim with a heat reflective coating?
A: No. The dark color must be stripped off before applying a heat reflective paint.
Q: Are there any other options available to me?
A: Possibly. Some companies like Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, AquaSurTech and Blue River Coatings have developed heat reflective paint systems. Consult these paint manufacturers to determine the available color pallet, and the paint’s compatibility with VERSATEX cellular PVC trim.
Q: Do I need to scuff the product?
A: No. The gloss on VERSATEX is low enough that no mechanical form of surface preparation is required to assure good paint adhesion.
Q: How do I fasten or join VERSATEX PVC trim?
A: As with wood, VERSATEX can be fastened or joined to itself or other substrates using nails, screws, PVC glues, quality polyure-thane adhesives, 2-component adhesives (MMAs), and cyanoacrylates or super glues. A shiplap joint works best. Butt joints are not recommended. For more information on fastening, joining or gluing VERSATEX, please refer to Section C of the Technical Help page on versatex.com.
Q: What is the best fastening system for VERSATEX PVC trim that also hides the fastener heads?
A: The best system for securing VERSATEX trim is either the Cortex Concealed Fastening System or Starborn Pro Plug System. Both combine the advantages of using a screw (strong connection) with the VERSATEX tapered plug that fits into the hole created by the screw, eliminating the need for fillers or sealants to fill the nail holes. Plugs are available in Smooth or Timber Ridge.
Q: What if I want to use a nail rather than a screw? What are my options for filling the nail holes?
A: Extreme Adhesives PVC TrimWelder has been used as a hole filler. It is also an excellent adhesive. Other nail hole fillers that perform well but require painting are DAP CrackSHOT high performance paste.
Q: Do you recommend nails or screws for fastening VERSATEX trim?
A: We recommend screws over nails because screws help to limit thermal movement of the trim. However, if you do use nails, use a 7d or 8d, 12 gauge, 316 stainless steel nail with annular threads or a combination of annular threads and ring shank. Simpson Strong - Tie makes a couple of great nails for hanging VERSATEX, including their Trifecta Nail.
Q: Does VERSATEX require pre-drilling before fastening?
A: Pre-drilling typically is not required unless large diameter fasteners are used (not recommended) or the product is installed or has been outside during low temperatures, below 40°F.
Q: Do you recommend gluing a PVC trim fascia board to the wooden sub-fascia?
A: We do. It is just one more step in controlling thermal movement in the VERSATEX trim. Products for gluing VERSATEX to wood include Liquid Nails Heavy Duty Construction Adhesive, Liquid Nails Sub-Floor Adhesive, and even NPC Solar Seal #900.
Q: Do you recommend all joints be glued or should we leave a caulked joint(s) to allow for product movement?
A: We recommend the highly visible joints be glued and other less visible joints act as expansion joints. A common method used by contractors is shiplapping the edges of the boards on long runs. This allows for product movement while never exposing the substrate or house wrap. It also increases the surface area of the joint should you decide to glue it.
Q: What is the best glue for joining two pieces of VERSATEX trim? What is the best glue for bonding PVC trim to wood? To metal?
A: We recommend a PVC pipe glue with solvent for bonding the ends of VERSATEX boards to themselves (Weld-On 705 or Christy’s Red Hot White Vinyl Adhesive) or better yet Extreme Adhesives PVC TrimWelder whenever you are bonding a shiplap, scarf or miter cut (window surround) or even sheets of VERSATEX.For bonding to wood, we recommend Liquid Nails Sub-Floor Adhesive or Heavy Duty Construction Adhesive. For VERSATEX to metal, we suggest Extreme Adhesives PVC TrimWelder. There are three types of Extreme Adhesives PVC TrimWelder: Slow Cure and Fast Cure, both used for field joints and small glue ups, and Laminating Grade, used for sheet glue-ups. Slow Cure should not be used at temperatures below 40°F.
Q: How do you recommend VERSATEX trim be secured to masonry?
A: We recommend the masonry be troweled with a sealant or adhesive first to provide a level/plumb surface to accept the board/sheet and the trim secured with Buildex Tapcon masonry fasteners.
Q: Can I use just glue or do I have to use glue in combination with fasteners?
A: You should use a combination of glue and mechanical fasteners. The glue is not enough to insure a long term bond.
Q: Does VERSATEX burn?
A: Cellular PVC will not support combustion and will only burn when in direct contact with a flame source. It also carries a flame spread rating of less than 25 giving it a Class “A” fire rating when used in an exterior application.
Q: VERSATEX trim is more expensive than finger-jointed pine and composite wood trims. Is it worth the price?
A: VERSATEX offers a limited lifetime warranty (please refer to versatex.com/warranty for full warranty information). Unlike wood or wood composites that are typically wrapped with trim coil and require periodic painting and sealing to protect them from the elements, VERSATEX Trimboards do not require any special installation details or protection from the weather and will last a lifetime. Independent third party studies have shown the life cycle cost of VERSATEX to be less than wood, wood composite and other composite trims.
Q: What is the compressive strength of VERSATEX trim?
A: When tested in accordance with ASTM D 695, VERSATEX trim (1/4” to 3/4”) achieved ultimate compressive strength values between 2000 psi to 6000 psi, depending on the product thickness. The thinner the VERSATEX sheet/board, the higher the compressive strength.
Q: Can I rip a 3/8” or 1/2” VERSATEX sheet into boards and use them as a fascia provided I have a solid wood sub-fascia? What is the recommended method of attaching this thin board to the sub-fascia?
A: Although not recommended, some contractors have ripped 1/2” and 3/8” sheet for use as a fascia trim. However, in all cases there has been a structural sub-fascia to which the 1/2” or 3/8” fascia board has been fully glued and fastened (screwed or nailed). These thicknesses should never be used as trim unless they are glued and mechanically fastened to a solid substrate.
Q: When using VERSATEX trim as a column wrap over a treated 4” x 4” or 6” x 6” can I fasten the column wrap directly to the treated member?
A: You should not attach the VERSATEX column wrap directly to the treated column post. These posts are typically wet from pressure treating and when they dry, they have a tendency to twist. This twisting action can cause the miter or butt joints on the column wrap to open up if the column wrap is placed tight against the post. Instead, install furring strips or blocking around the load-bearing post, making sure the outside dimension of the furring strips or blocking is no larger than the inside dimension of the column wrap. Some contractors use a dense foam insulation as the furring strip. When the post twists the foam insulation is crushed to compensate for the twisting action.
Q: Can I use the VERSATEX Stealth Trim System with Fiber Cement sidings or any composite siding without voiding their warranty?
A: Yes. Stealth is an accepted trim system with these siding products. Stealth Trim not only improves the overall aesthetic value of the finished product, but also helps you meet certain installation criteria, such as keeping the siding six inches (6”) above grade (Stealth Skirtboard) or two inches off a roof line.
Q: What are your recommendations for dealing with expansion and contraction?
A: Use stainless steel annular shank nails or screws designed for wood trim and long enough to penetrate the solid substrate a minimum of 1 1 / 4”. Screws are better for controlling the thermal movement of the trim. Allow VERSATEX to acclimate to outside temperatures before installing. Bond VERSATEX joints to prevent separation. Be sure to allow adequate expansion and contraction space at the end of long runs. Decrease the on center spacing between fasteners to 12” or less and bond boards to substrate when practical. Leave a full 3 /16” gap when installing on a day where temperatures range from 35°F to 45°F.Leave no gap at all when installing on a day when temperatures range from 80°F to 100°F. Finally, shiplap joints are superior to scarf cut joints, especially on long runs.
Q: Any suggestions on what to do to exposed edges or exposed cells once VERSATEX has been cut, routed or milled?
A: There are a couple of methods used by contractors and OEMs to seal the exposed cells on VERSATEX Trim. One technique is to wipe the exposed area with a solvent. Solvents tend to soften or melt the cells, sealing them from dust and dirt. Another technique is to sand the exposed cells with a very fine 320 grit sand paper and then either wipe them with solvent or paint the area. The fine sanding reduces the cell size, allowing better paint coverage. In some cases, sanding with 320 grit paper and then wiping down the area with solvent eliminates the short term need for painting.
Q: What type of fasteners are recommended to secure VERSATEX to the building?
A: Use 8d stainless steel fasteners designed for wood trim and siding. Fasteners with thin shanks, blunt points, and full round heads are preferred; annular threaded or spiral type nails are also recommended. If screws are preferred, use a #7 or #8 stainless steel trim screw with a painted white head. We do not recommend galvanized fasteners, since they tend to lose their coatings and rust.
Q: What is a recommended nail?
A: Simpson Strong - Tie 316 SS Trifecta Nail (combination of annular or screw threads with ring shanks near the top).
Q: Do these nails come in strips or collated so I can gun nail them?
A: Yes. Contact VERSATEX or Simpson Strong-Tie for more information on gun types to use with the Trifecta SS nail. As for screws, you have choices: #8 gauge TrimTop 305 SS with sharp type 17 piercing point by Fasten Master; 305 SS Headcote #7 or #8 trim screws with auger points; or Simpson Strong-Tie finishing (trim) screw.
Q: What is the best way to hide the nail/screw head?
A: The absolute best way to hide the fastener head is to use the Cortex Concealed Fastening System by FastenMaster or the Pro Plug System by Starborn. Both systems utilize a countersunk trim screw and a plug made from VERSATEX. If you are painting the VERSATEX trim, CrackSHOT by DAP is an excellent high performance spackling paste that is also a very good nail hole filler. If you don’t intend to paint the trim, use one of the screw and plug systems mentioned above.
Q: What is the recommended fastening spacing for a VERSATEX board used in a long fascia, rake or frieze application?
A: 16” on center spacing (max), although 12” on center is preferred with 2 fasteners on nominal 4” and 6” wide boards, 3 fasteners on nominal 8” and 10” wide boards, 4 fasteners on a nominal 12” wide board and 5 fasteners on a nominal 16” wide board.
Q: What is the recommended fastening spacing for a soffit application?
A: 12" on center spacing (max) along the perimeter edges of the board, 16" on center across the width at the rafter tails.
Q: What is the maximum temperature VERSATEX trim should be allowed to reach?
A: Since a white trimboard facing due south at a 45° angle will not exceed a temperature of 120°F, the maximum temperature should never exceed approximately 125°F. Keep in mind the heat distortion temperature of most cellular PVC trims ranges from 145°F to 150°F.
Q: What are the recommended installation temperatures?
A: Try to install VERSATEX trimboards between 40°F and 90°F. The ideal temperature for installing long runs of VERSATEX is 60°F to 65°F. This is roughly the midpoint between the high and low temperatures the boards will be exposed to. Keep in mind the board may be colder than the air temperature, especially during the winter months, so if possible, try to warm up the boards before installing them.
Q: What are the recommended adhesives/sealants I should use with VERSATEX?
A: There are many adhesives to choose from, and it depends on the application and the substrates you are trying to bond together. For bonding VERSATEX to itself, use a PVC cement with solvent or a two-component adhesive. Weld-On 705 or Christy’s Red Hot White Vinyl Adhesive are acceptable PVC adhesives. If a two-component adhesive is specified, use Extreme Adhesives PVC TrimWelder. It provides a near structural bond to most substrates that is stronger than the product itself. As for sealants, there is nothing better than NPC Solar Seal #900 Sealant/Adhesive in Trimboard white #111.It bonds and seals to VERSATEX as well as many other substrates. Other recommended sealants include Quad by OSI, Geocel 2300, PL-S40 by LOCTITE, and just about any polyurethane sealant. Do not use silicone sealants since they are not compatible with cellular PVC trim.
Q: Can VERSATEX Trim be used in interior applications?
A: VERSATEX trim products can and have been used on a variety of interior applications. However, check with your local building code official before installing VERSATEX in any interior application.