This might be an easy solution to your problem: HeatBlocker Skylight Cover to Reduce heat and Glare
I've got a couple comments I'll throw out there. Your trim likely rotted because of the way they stuck the bottom trim out BEYOND the face of the window. It would have been much better if the trim didn't stick out so far, and instead was maybe INSET 1/4 from the face of the window. If you can possibly change that once you tear down the window, by changing the way the seat was framed, I would definitely do that. That trim creates a flat ledge for water to sit on which is just ASKING for trouble. Also, I would NEVER EVER use silicone caulking on the exterior of the house where trim will need to be painted. If you have ever tried to paint silicone with latex paint you would know why. Yes you can paint silicone if you prime it with the right kind of primer but there are so many other types of caulking that would be superior. On the bottom of the seat, probably the best material you could use would be 3/8 azek sheet goods. MDO would be 2nd, and is way better than using exterior plywood. Unfortunately both are only available in 4'x8' and 4'x10' sheets. Since no material is (easily) available in 12' lengths, you will obviously need at least one seam, so just use 3 pieces (two seams) to make it easy on yourself and cover the seams with your corbels or some other piece of trim. Seams in the bottom would have nothing to do with why your trim failed. If you have a table saw, prepare to have lots of fine plastic dust when you rip the Azek to size. Also be prepared to sand the saw marks out of your wood with a belt sander or orbital. 60 grit on an orbital makes fast work of it. 120 grit on a belt sander, and move fast or it will chew up the Azek and spit it out faster than you can say... (insert favorite phrase here). It would be good if you could cut a 15 degree angle on the top edge of the bottom 1x4 trim that you replace so that water will drain off the top of the trim. Or you could install Azek subsill nose around the bay (premade piece with slope), and use an apron underneath. I'd caulk the top with either white Vulkem or OSI Quad... both are available at the Lowes in our area, the same is probably try where you live. They both stick to Azek well and are both paintable.
Thank you both for your feedback!
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