We Know: All About Molding

What is molding?

Molding (or wood molding) is architectural woodwork, or strips of wood materials, used to decorate or finish a surface of a wall, wall opening, or a piece of furniture. In some cases, use of molding is a necessary part of home construction, at other times it is optional and purely decorative.

How is molding used for finishing home?

A home is not complete without certain pieces of molding installed. For example:

  • The architrave is a molding that frames openings like windows and doors.
  • The brick molding is a milled wood trim piece that covers the gap between the window frame and masonry. It can be rectilinear, curved or composite-curved.
  • The drip molding: A projecting molding around the head of a door or window frame, often extended horizontally at right angles to the sides of the frame, intended to channel rain away from the opening. It is also called a drip lintel.
  • Baseboards: Narrow boards, attached to the base of an interior wall and covers the joint between the wall and the floor.

How is molding used for decoration?

While a home is generally complete after framing windows, doors, and floors, many homes also have decorative molding. Decorative molding may come in many shapes, sizes, and designs. Some popular design styles are dental molding, and egg and dart molding. Some popular types of decorative molding include:

  • Cornices are projecting molding that tops the elements to which it is attached, used especially for a roof or the crowning member of other decorative elements. Cornices are also popular for their use in window treatments.
  • Wainscoting: This type of trim is made of individual tongue-and-groove hardwood boards. It is typically installed along the bottom third of a wall, about 32 inches from the floor.
  • Chair rail: Chair rails are often used to top wainscoting. It is also used alone to accent wallpapers and other design elements. It is installed 32 to 42 inches above the floor, where most chair backs would hit the wall.
  • You may find crown molding used to top chair rails. More typically, it used to accent the top of the wall where it meets the ceiling.

What type of wood-substitute molding is available?

Due to a shortage in natural resources, other materials have been produced to substitute for wood in making moldings. These include:

  • Polyurethane millwork: This flexible molding is ideal for round top window casings, curved wall surfaces and crown molding applications.
  • Plastic molding is made from recycled plastics and is the primary process used to create or reproduce plastic parts for architectural restorations, and home dˇcor products

How does synthetic molding compare to wood molding?

  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Easier to install than wood, plaster, or other more traditional materials
  • Can be stained or painted to have the same classic look
  • Plastic molding can produce virtually any shape
  • Effective at reproducing small
  • Inexpensive to produce
  • Products require little finishing and upkeep

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