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The wood wrap on all my porch columns needs help. Vertical pieces are fine, but pieces with a red dot (and equivalent on the backside) are starting to rot. The outer pieces are angled weird, slightly downward toward the column. Rain would sit there, and now they're all soft.

Is there a quick fix? Maybe replace the outer pieces and the cove molding with PVC, then caulk the seams properly? Should I have the SLIGHTEST angle downward away from the column, or just have them level and count on the PVC and caulk to hold up over time?

porch column wrap

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    I would redo it with wood for the looks, but do it right so the water drains away. Treated wood will last a long time.
    – crip659
    Jun 7, 2022 at 23:34
  • You've noted that the trim pieces slope toward the post and that water puddles there. Be aware that the parts of the post you can see may be fine, but when you remove that trim, you may well find punky wood hidden behind it. This isn't meant to scare you or deter you from doing the work, but to prepare you for the fact that there may be more work than you were anticipating.
    – FreeMan
    Jun 8, 2022 at 14:44
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    @FreeMan Good point! I've already removed the rotten trim pieces on all the columns. Thankfully, the wood behind is still in great shape.
    – SomeGuy
    Jun 8, 2022 at 21:54

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Replacing the outer pieces with cove molding with a slight angle to cause them to drain away from the column would be a workable approach.

I think the best approach for looks is to use treated lumber. Then angle it just enough so it drains away from the column and finally properly caulk it and you should be good for many years. Vinyl will probably last longer but the wood would look the best.

If the lumber has been chemically treated with chromated copper arsenate (CCA), you must surface-treat it before applying paint. It is best to use exterior latex paint instead of standard outdoor oil-based paints or stains. The reason is the chemicals used in the treated lumber are sensitive to oil-based paints.

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  • Hasn't CCA based pressure treating been outlawed in the US for a number of years?
    – FreeMan
    Jun 8, 2022 at 14:42

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