Wood and treatment options for window headers

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Master Scrap Maker
Corporate Member
We're going to have new windows installed in a few weeks, along with new soffit and facia trim (thanks, carpenter bees) and new paint on the house. I'm going to spec hardiplank (the concrete board stuff?) for the soffits and facias. We want to add some nice trim to the tops of the windows. Is there a name for this? I've only seen it referenced as window headers.

Anyway, we want the headers on 7 regular windows, 1 double window and 2 10' bow windows. I'm guessing that by the time I find a few vendors, compare prices, order them and return the ones that don't fit...I'm probably better off making them myself. That assumes that I can even get them for the bow windows, since those would need to be in 5 sections to fit the five sections of the window.

Here are pictures that include the big windows.

I've built a cardboard model and have spouse approval for the design. Construction looks to be pretty darn simple. Soooo...what should I make them out of? We have T-111 siding that is stained. I was thinking that any-old pine, properly sealed and stained (exterior house stain), should hold up just as well as the siding. I'll need to use exterior-grade glue.

Then I was thinking that maybe I should make them out of the Hardiplank stuff...for durability and carpenter-bee resistance. Any thoughts? My designs in wood would have required several glue joints...I'm guessing screws would be required with hardiplank?

What says the WOTF (wisdom of the forum)?


New User
Jim Campbell
A few "thoughts", taken to mean opinions/guesses.....

I usually think of a window head/header as framing, sounds like you are talking more about trim?

I looked in a few (yes, I have a few books on windows and doors. I have a problem.)

I think you are looking for casing. In this case, head casing (the sides are referred to as leg casing). So says Tauton Press.....

I too am dealing with carpenter bees. I've read they don't tunnel into painted wood. So, paint over stain leaps to mind.

Depending, you can get PVC wood I've seen used on This Old House projects. It can be painted, but comes in a white. Were I to do such a project, and didn't have a strong desire for wood, that'd be awful tempting.

The PVC Wood routes with carbide cutters, so you can also do profiling.

Just a few thoughts.

While on the topic, the book "Windows and Doors" by Scott McBride in the Build Like a Pro series from Tauton Press covers a lot on bay and bow window construction and installation.

Good luck!


Master Scrap Maker
Corporate Member
PVC wood, huh? Hadn't considered that. We had noted the irony in installing vinyl windows and casing, but having to re-paint the casing header because they were wood. I'll be looking into that option - thanks!

Carpenter bees won't bore into paint? Anyone with experience to the contrary? 'Cause that's just too easy to be true! :>


New User
Our house has HardiPlank siding and corner trim. You can nail it on. No rot, no warp, no maintenance after you paint it the first time. We love it. M2CW

Robert Brunke'

New User
I had painted garden tool handles that I had with oil base yellow paint. The handles were riddled with carpenter bee holes with tunnels, after painting. This was when i lived in Missouri a couple of summers back, maybe the NC species is different.


Carpenter bees do not eat wood but rather like their name implies construct nests into wood casting the sawdust out making their presence known. As has been mentioned there are alternative trim materials such as PVC which are impervious to their attacks. Like any other woodworker they have a preference for building material, here is the order of preferred materials which is strikingly similar to NCWW member's :gar-La; :
1) Raw wood ( figured or not :rotflm:)
2) Stained wood (slightly less preferred)

3) Painted wood (only when #1 and #2 are not available)

I base these numbers on my experiences with NJ and VA bees and internet references. My house has vinyl siding, metal exterior doors, vinyl windows but the @#$% builder used SYP trim around the doors and painted it poorly :BangHead: Before I scrape it down and repaint I am strongly considering replacing it with PVC moldings which come in white with no painting needed. :wsmile:
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