May  2002

So Trendy
From Miterless Crown to Outer Window—The Latest Trends in Mouldings
by Kathleen S. Ziprik

Leaded glass windows are enhanced with mouldings coated with METALLON finishes in bronze.

With the introduction of new products such as flexible mouldings and miterless crown moulding systems to the industry over the past several years, it's easier than ever for both professionals and novice do-it-yourselfers to add mouldings to home and commercial projects.

“Mouldings allow people to embellish a room while expressing themselves,“ says Bruce Johnson, president of White River™ Hardwoods/Woodworks Inc. of Fayetteville, Ark. “There are both simple designs and extremely ornate profiles so that people can enhance their decorating styles quite easily.“

In the moulding arena, traditional wood products are still popular, but they've had to make way for the addition of other composite products, such as urethane and MDF mouldings. Each product offers unique characteristics and has found strong acceptance in the marketplace.

A Case for Mouldings
What category of homeowners incorporates mouldings into their dwellings? According to studies sponsored by the Economics Group of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), all age groups are placing high value on the addition of mouldings to the home.

In the 2000 survey, “Boomers on the Horizon-Housing Preferences of the 55+ Market,“ the independent research firm National Family Opinion reported that 44 percent of respondents indicated a desirable/essential preference for crown moulding in the home and a 39 percent preference for chair rails. These numbers are basically identical to the 2000 NAHB survey, “What 21st Century Home Buyers Want.“ In that study, 45 percent of respondents (with a median age of 44) indicated a desirable/essential preference for crown moulding and 36 percent preference for chair rails. Only fireplaces and built-in shelving rated higher than mouldings as features respondents preferred in the home.

With such strong interest in moulding applications, it's no wonder the demand for new and unique products has grown dramatically in the past decade.

Using Urethane
“Urethane has a smooth surface and is easy to work with,“ says Rita Warner, executive director of Decorating Masters Institute™, a national training school for custom faux-finish artists, decorators and teachers. “The product is durable, yet lighter weight than plaster and other materials. We've been able to successfully apply a wide variety of faux finishings on Style Solutions pieces, including color washes, marbleizing, metallic coatings and wood simulations.“

Warner, who is a certified decorative artist, believes there's a growing trend toward homeowners wanting to add their own decorative touch to mouldings. Once reserved for just formal living areas, mouldings are now used in kitchens, baths, bedrooms and even laundry areas.


Miterless crown moulding systems can add depth and elegance to any room. 

Metal Accents
Advances in the building products industry have allowed mouldings to do more than just paint and stain. Identified by color experts as one of today's hottest trends, metal accents are the “feel good“ finish the public is currently embracing.

“The increased desire for copper, bronze, silver and brass is part of society's tendency to return to nature in times of uncertainty,“ says Nada Napoletan Rutka, former president of the world-renowned non-profit organization the Color Marketing Group and founder of Nada Associates. “Metals typify natural materials. For this reason, we see more natural finishes versus highly polished ones. This 'softening' trend in metal finishes will continue with warm or colored washes becoming popular on metals for a more interesting, complex and sophisticated appeal.“
As people burrow down and find comfort in their homes in the aftermath of September 11th, color trends experts believe buyers will lean more toward incorporating warm metals and colors in their dwellings. “The trend is definitely away from polished, high-sheen metals and leaning more to brushed and burnished metals for a softer, more natural and aged look,“ according to Mary Jo Peterson, a certified kitchen and certified bathroom designer. 

“Consumers appear to have a greater comfort level these days for using larger concentrations of metals in homes. Metals are being incorporated into indoor furnishings, such as tables, along with accent pieces, such as mouldings, trim and millwork.“
STYLE 2                                   STYLE FAUX FINISH
Left to right:  Miterless crown moulding systems install fast and easy and eliminate figuring and making mitered corner cuts and calculations., A variety of faux finishes are easily applied to Style Solutions’ mouldings.

Metals in the Marketplace
“Decorative metal accents do not need to be made of solid metal,“ according to Shawn Draper, president of Metallon Inc. of Parkersburg, W. Va. “Our durable METALLON finishes are made of 95 percent real metal and cold sprayed on top of products made of urethane, wood, aluminum and vinyl. This transforms the product into a unique metal accessory for the home and gives consumers the metal accents they crave.“

Easy-Installation Mouldings
In early 2002 Style Solutions introduced a series of miterless crown moulding systems in ten unique profiles. The one-piece miterless corners with matching divider blocks and moulding lengths make it easier than ever to install crown mouldings.

“These corner pieces eliminate the need to make time-consuming mitering calculations and moulding cuts on the job site,“ says Mike Reed, director of marketing for Style Solutions. “An interior room can be trimmed out in a fraction of the time it used to take now that miterless corner systems are available.“

While the industry applauds timesaving advancements like the miterless corners, people are also excited about flexible mouldings. Designed to bend and curve for easier installations, flexible mouldings can be used to surround interior arches and other rounded areas. Versatile and decorative, flexible mouldings can trim out radius walls, curved stairways and arched entryways. They're extremely adaptable for all types of applications, whether to surround a column or an oval window. 

Unique Moulding Uses
Upgrade finishes and new products are only half the story regarding the current surge of moulding popularity. 

“Both building professionals and consumers have become very creative during the past several years with incorporating moulding into the home,“ says Reed. “We're seeing interior windows and doors surrounded with mouldings, tray ceilings outlined with moulding and mirror frames created from mouldings.

“Americans are in a nesting stage. Especially during this uncertain time in our country's history, people want their homes to be a refuge. They're gravitating toward things that are solid and dependable. Mouldings definitely fit into this category.“ 


                                      Scrambling for Success
                                                                    by James D. Costello

The U.S. economy has recently been called slow. The economists have even described the past 18 months as a recession. Yet the housing sector has remained relatively strong. When we combine above-average housing starts with a significant remodeling market, we might argue that suppliers to the building industry should be in great shape. We would lose that argument.

Wood mouldings producers, while happy that the housing sector remains strong, have many other issues challenging their very existence. Following is a brief description of those issues and how our industry is scrambling for success.

Due to environmental concerns, timber harvesting in traditional pine forests has nearly come to a standstill. Softwood mouldings manufacturers who relied on ponderosa and sugar pine suppliers to provide their needs for the past 50 years, have had to look elsewhere. The pine plantations of South America and New Zealand are filling that need but not without pain. Drying technology, knowledge of industrial grades, shipping over the ocean, tariffs, government regulations, port authorities, long shoremen unions and many more issues have given gray hairs to even the young millwork managers.

International Competition
It seems competition is coming from all fronts. The strong dollar and weak economies around the world translate to dramatic international competition for a share of the U.S. market. Offshore manufacturers have the advantage of an affordable resource and cost-effective labor rates. 
Competition from Alternative Products

Veneer and vinyl-wrap products in hardwood and softwood are replacing stain-grade mouldings. Paint grade, traditionally represented by finger-jointed pine, poplar and other species are being challenged by multi-density-fiberboard mouldings. The quality and cost of multi-density fiberboard has found favor in the building sector and is supported by the trend to paint mouldings. Many traditional solid wood mouldings manufacturers have recognized multi-density fiberboard has an opportunity and have added multi-density fiberboard production lines to their factories.

Big Box Revolution 
The super-sized do-it-yourself building supply retailers have changed the way wood products manufacturers “put their pants on;” one leg at a time just doesn’t cut it. They want it cheaper, faster, just in time, bar-coded and certified.

The Wood Moulding and Millwork Manufacturers Association has 62 members in 13 countries. Each of these companies is scrambling for success. Each of these proudly displays the WM Logo, insuring their customers of consistent quality, reliability and integrity. Find out more about WMMPA at its website:


James D. Costello is the executive vice president of the Wood Moulding and Millwork Producers Association of Woodland, Calif.

Kathleen S. Ziprik is the public relations contact for Metallon Inc. of Parkersburg, W. Va., and Style Solutions Inc. of Archbold, Ohio.


© Copyright Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.