In Depth: Moulding & Trimboards

“The opportunity is to use trim to differentiate a property and add to the homeowner’s home value,” says Peggie Bolan, VP and general manager of MiraTEC, a division of JELD-WEN. “Communicating how using one kind of trim versus another can accelerate the value of the property to the user and is just one of the many angles to pursue within this product category. Plus, not focusing on trim as a design element leads to lower sales.”

With the Craftsman style remaining dominant across most U.S. design and remodel markets, simplicity is the guiding mantra even as opportunities present themselves to sell trim across the entire floor plan. Christopher Leslie is the sales manager for Selex trim by CMPC, and says the square edge has become the predominant profile in virtually all design applications for housing. “With the popularity of the craftsman and rustic styles, people want the square, clean look,” Leslie says. “As a result, we are seeing demand for our primed trim boards through various channels in the repair/remodel market.”

On the urethane side, vendors are likewise finding deep sales opportunities among both residential and commercial remodelers by providing historical retrofits. With easily fashioned molds, urethane moulding can be produced inexpensively on the fly to match virtually any profile. “Our molds are silicon and we can achieve exact details for reproduction projects,” Miller says. “Our tooling process makes it simple and less expensive to make custom molds and match virtually any installed product.”

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Nesper says an increased interest in historical retrofit applications where designers are looking to duplicate gables or corbels is providing unique opportunities for Fypon’s custom design capability. “Where they would pay an exorbitant price to get those products in wood, we can affordably get them exactly what they want in urethane, and get it to them quickly as well,” she says. “The beauty of our product is that when trends change, we can adapt very quickly because molds can be made and the product can be manufactured immediately. It’s never difficult for us to be on trend with millwork.”

Extreme Performance

Ultimately, powering trim and moulding sales, means helping contractors communicate performance benefits to their homeowners. “All of our products are designed with performance in mind,” says Steve Booz, vice president of new product development and product management for Royal Building Products. “Maintenance is a concern for every homeowner and providing them with worry-free, low-maintenance products is our priority. We provide products that may need a good cleaning once in a while, but they will not rot, peel or decay.”

As PVC and urethane trim continues to expand into western markets, even the wood guys are upping the performance game of their trim. “One of the things we continue to work on is the grade of our in-bound wood,” says Pidlisecky. “We are very specific about high grades of fiber and the tight grain of that fiber. It helps when it comes to weather performance. Compared to wood with wide growth rings from growing quickly, the long-standing, cold climate woods perform incredibly well.

Regardless of whether a dealer opts to go PVC, urethane, or wood, product makers emphasize as always the tactile nature of trim as a building material, and encourage yards to go deep on knowledge, back it up with training, and by all means get the product into the contractor’s hands. “From an installers perspective, familiarity will always be an issue. Any time you take on a new product there is a sense of risk there,” says Ply Gem’s Short. “It can be easier to avoid installing products that you are not familiar with. So we’re really trying to help contractors to understand that adopting new products often is not difficult, it is simply different. Once we overcome that hurdle, the products become easy to work with.”

SELLING TIPS

As moulding and trim materials, profiles, and installation methods continue to proliferate, LBM dealers can maximize category sales by focusing on value-added sales, providing product insights and education as well as tips for improving product performance and longevity. Many trim composite materials and even PVC can still be the new kid on the block in some markets, and customer service combined with availability of product are helping power sellers to reap larger, more consistent margins.

GET FAMILIAR

Education of product specs, including guidelines for proper installation in the field, can quickly warm up contractors to new trim products. “Dealers that understand the value proposition of trim and moulding and are buying into is as a category are engaged with our products, then turn to their builders and say ‘here is a product that we believe in, give it a try—cut this, rout this, put a nail in it, tell me what you think,’” says Boral’s Zimmerman. “A lot of times, people are scared of what they don’t know, so our goal is to make them comfortable: and to that end we’ll go with our dealers to see builders together.”

JUST IN TIME

“Dealers who are successful selling our product are well stocked and as a result their customers can get materials into the field very quickly and easily,” says Fypon’s Nesper. “Successful dealers know what the contactor needs and gets them product as quickly as possible. To that end, dealers can order product from us and get it with a five-day lead time nationally. We want to help dealers get the product to the contractor customer so they can finish their jobs.”

INSTALL IN ACTION

Displaying trim options in an installed setting helps contractors and homeowners visualize a project-sized scale, and also helps to reaffirm any install guidelines critical to product performance. “Trim and moulding can get lost in the lumber and hardware shuffle when it comes to pro dealer inventory and marketing,’ says KOMA’s Sinks. “The dealers that display it in a real world setting are the ones that are very successful at selling the product, probably three times as much as a peer or competitor who is not displaying it.”

COST VS. VALUE

“A big part of trim sales is product knowledge and understanding the benefits of PVC versus wood, and looking at how you can actually pay more upfront but save over the life of the product,” says Kleer’s Michalski. “You can get a higher sales volume per dollar and have a satisfied customer for longer. If you are building a half million-dollar house, you can spend more on your trim board but not have to paint it in eight years. A $20K mortgage increase is only $12 a month when you spread it over 20 years, but when that painter comes back in eight years, he’s going to want a check as soon as he is done.”

PARTNER UP

“Dealers can always sell more of a category by taking advantage of vendor partnership services including contractor training, contractor breakfasts, and showroom roadshows,” says Versatex’s Kapres. “We offer a contractor college for training and will roll a mobile showroom truck out to our distributor locations. If a dealer puts product on display and takes advantage of their vendor partnerships for contractor events, they are going to sell so much more product. Get builders excited about using something, and they’ll keep coming back.”

Allura:
www.allurausa.com

Arauco:
www.arauco.cl

AZEK:
www.azek.com

Bayer Built Woodworks:
www.bayerbuilt.com

Boral:
www.boral.com

CertainTeed Corp:
www.certainteed.com

Collins:
www.collinsco.com

EastCoast Mouldings:
www.eastcoastmouldings.com

Ferche Millwork:
www.ferche.com

FYPON:
www.fypon.com

Gossen:
www.gossencorp.com

Kleer:
www.kleerlumber.com

KOMA:
www.kommerlingusa.com

LP Building Products:
www.lpcorp.com

Metrie:
www.metrie.com

MiraTEC:
www.miratectrim.com

NuWood:
www.nu-wood.com

Ply Gem:
www.Ply Gem.com

Royal Building Products:
www.royalbuildingproducts.com

Selex:
www.selex.com

Trex:
www.trex.com

Universal Forest Products:
www.ufpi.com

Versatex:
www.versatex.com

Woodtone:
www.woodtone.com

White River Hardwoods:
www.whiteriver.com

Windsor Mill:
www.windsorone.com

Woodgrain Millwork:
www.woodgrain.com

Wood Millers:
www.woodmillers.com

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