Saturday, October 27, 2012

Trim in modern custom homes

Modern Day Construction for custom homes Part 10

In today’s modern world of construction things are changing year to year faster than they did decade to decade in any other previous time period. In this multi part series I will traverse through an entire house starting with the foundation and working my way up to the roof and then to the finishing’s. I will explain what has changed in the last twenty years in custom home building.

One thing that you should be able to take away from this is how important it is to not just hire the right general contractor to build your custom home but how important it is to hire one that is up on today’s building methods.


Twenty years ago if you wanted painted trim you used either MDF or pine. Most trim if it was made from real wood was made from one piece of wood.

Today’s trim if you are using real wood comes in a smaller one piece format. If you want larger elaborate trim in real wood it will usually come in a two piece format. There is still MDF trim but in custom homes it is almost nonexistent. Most painted trim is now popular with less people using pine every year. The reason for this is because popular has a denser cell structure which allows for easier painting. Also popular is almost completely free of knots, which saves time and money because you don’t have to spot treat the knots before priming and painting.

The big difference in trim is the how environmentally friendly trim companies have become in a short 2 decades. Most big trim companies use wood from only sustainable forests. Some companies can actually track the wood that your trim is made from all the way back to the forest that the tree came from. All cut offs and sawdust is reused in different forms, some use it to make finger joint trims (which is a cheaper form of trim that must be painted) and others use high pressure to form the sawdust into pucks. These pucks are then sold to the gardening industry as a natural fertilizer. The shift to popular has come about because it is an extremely fast growing tree and whole forests can be cut down, replanted and cut down again in the two decades that we are talking about in this blog.

The variety of different trim profiles has grown with the amount of different companies that are making it. From the big box stores to the custom trim companies, you almost have an unlimited choice of trim and trim profiles to pick from, depending only on your time and need.

There are certain types of species that you don’t see used in trim anymore, it is because the supply of those trees just doesn’t exist in the world anymore. Finding hemlock trim for example is very hard and extremely expensive. Because a lot of the large hardwoods take 50 to 100 years to grow trim companies have stopped producing trim out of them and moved to softer woods that can be made to look like these when stained.
In the future trim companies will have to become more creative in there trim making with the tree supply growing ever smaller.

Some trims like crown moldings have been shifted into other products that are easier to handle and avoid the shrinking and expanding that happens when you have a natural product like wood. Crown moldings are now being installed by drywallers instead of carpenters. This type of crown molding is made out of foam with a finished face. The drywaller mud’s the seams and corners and caulks the edges, this allows the crown molding to have a seamless finish to it.

Look for part 11 coming soon....

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

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