There are basically two types of lineal millwork manufacturers, commodity millwork producers and custom millwork producers, each having their distinct advantages. As a customer, you are faced with choosing the products of one over the other. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the two groups and how do you make the correct choice?
Let us begin by discussing the positive attributes of each group. The commodity millwork producers are low cost manufacturers of lineal millwork. Many of them have their own sawmills and can produce molding blanks efficiently with little waste. Their high-speed molders can literally produce hundreds of thousands of lineal feet per day. The end product is a low cost item for the commercial or homebuilder. The commodity millwork producers market their products through wholesale distributers, building centers, lumberyards, and home improvement centers and are universally available.
Sounds good, right? What is wrong with making that choice? Nothing is wrong with that choice if your interest is to find the least expensive molding, and style does not particularly matter. Many consumers make that choice and are perfectly satisfied with their decision. If you are considering that avenue, keep in mind that material quality, workmanship, profile and species choices may be a disappointment. In order for a commodity producer to keep their prices low, their high-speed machines need to produce large quantities. Quality suffers, as there is not sufficient time to visually inspect all lengths for quality and material defects. Fewer profiles are created so that less time is required for changeovers, which give you less profile choices. Fewer species are used to save precious warehouse space. Commodity producers are not interested in short runs, large profile varieties, and dozens of species. Lineal millwork uniqueness is not an attribute for this group.
Enter the custom millwork producers. Their specialty is craftsmanship. A typical custom millwork producer does not carry a large inventory of lineal millwork for the customer to purchase; rather, the product is made for every customer by order. Many custom producers have hundreds of available profiles while more established shops might even have a few thousand profiles.
The custom millwork producer establishes a personal connection to each customer. A wide variety of details can be modified with each order to make the product exactly to your specifications. A quality custom millwork producer can guide you through the necessary steps to achieve a product tailored just for you.
|You can and should expect a better than average product. |
You can and should expect a better than average product. A good custom millwork shop will inspect virtually all pieces for visual appearance and will replace any defective lengths. The molder operators are particularly observant of milling marks and machining variability. The goal of the custom producer is that every piece is suitable for the project.
All of this comes at a price The custom producer is not going to be your least cost avenue, but you can decide at what level you are willing to pay for the final product and services you will receive. For a new house, good quality custom lineal millwork generally can be achieved for less than 5% of the total house project. Since all of the millwork is visible in the home, the value added to the house is usually greater than the initial purchase.
Like many product purchases, lineal millwork is a value choice. If cost is your only criterion, you cannot beat the offerings of the commodity producers. However, if you are interested in an investment of millwork appearance, material quality, personal service, and uniqueness, the custom millwork shop is your proper choice.
Wood Components has showrooms that demonstrate a wide range of millwork choices to enhance any project. If you are in the area, please stop by and meet our professionals for a walkthrough. You just might find a good idea for your next project.