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Done right, exterior trim can last a long time. I've seen 17th and 18th century homes in New England whose original moldings — everything from cornices to watertables — were still solid after centuries of exposure to the elements. But done wrong, exterior trim will be one of the first parts of a house to go. While working on contemporary homes on the West Coast, I've encountered 10-year-old window casings and porch railings that needed repair or total replacement. Why do some trim jobs last while others don't? Unfortunately, there's no simple answer or single solution. Instead, I've found it best to pursue a combination of strategies. These include using rot-resistant woods and designing