What Is Millwork In Construction?

What Is Millwork In Construction?

What Is Millwork In Construction?

Millwork is traditionally viewed as any wood mill produced components that are used for decorative purposes within buildings. It’s often specified by architects and designers to create a certain atmosphere in a room, or to be used as a visual element on the exterior of the building.

These items range from stock profiled components, to those patterned at planning mills that require minimal alteration for installation. Additionally, modern millwork now involves using substitutes for wood such as synthetics, plastics, and pre-molded composites, all of which can serve either as a decorative feature or functional part of the building structure.

Woodworking is an ancient skill that has evolved over time, beginning with wood carving, carpentry, parquetry and cabinet making in China. Millwork originally referred to building components specifically made from wood and during the “Golden Age” of mill working (1880–1910) virtually every element in a house was made from wood.

The growth of synthetic materials has led to professionals considering any item composed of a combination of wood and synthetic elements as also being defined as millwork, such as melamine coated shelving which makes use of pressed-wood chips for its design.

Millwork building materials include ready-made carpentry elements installed in any building to create specific features, such as doors, windows, transoms, sidelights, molding, trim, stair parts and cabinetry. These items are usually made from soft or hardwood lumber but can also be made with other materials like MDF (medium density fiberboard), finger-jointed wood, composite materials, particleboard and fiberglass with steel, stainless steel, aluminum and glass components for doors, windows and stair parts. An example of external decorative millwork can be seen at the Erie Railway train station in Orange County’s NY.

Finishes like stain and semi-transparent finishes or paint are then applied to the finish product before installation.

Millwork Finishing

The choice of millwork finishing can depend on the wood species and the homeowner’s specific preference. Generally, traditionalists prefer to have the same hue for all the wood elements in the property.

However, times are changing and more people are now selecting combinations of colors for their millwork such as using a paint finish on door frames with a stained finish. Additionally, many are opting for two different types of materials like cherry and maple rather than having all elements with the same species.

Ultimately beauty is subjective when it comes to this type of work and homeowners have countless options to choose from.

Common Materials Use In Millwork

The characteristics of millwork are determined by the type of wood used. Each wood has its own unique qualities that affect its appearance and texture. Some wood species are more popular than others, such as Cedar which is commonly used due to its attractive red color and straight grain.

It also has a distinctive cedar scent and can withstand various environments. Mahogany is also frequently used in millwork due to its luxurious look, straight grain and dark red-brown color. Maple is popular for its high quality and can be used to create items in either dark or light brown.

Red oak is known for its strength and luxurious appearance, while Walnut is appreciated for its durability and rich brown color.

Uses Of Millwork

Millwork building materials are essential for improving the look and performance of a building. Exterior doors, windows and other components can often be tested and rated by independent agencies for energy efficiency, impact resistance, fire rating and sound transference.

Interior millwork products can’t be rated in the same way but still provide decorative features as well as privacy, storage and sound reduction.

In summary, millwork is an important part of any building project – offering beauty and practicality in equal measure.

Are Cabinets Considered Millwork?

Cabinets are generally considered a type of millwork, as their construction occurs in a mill and they conform to a specific size and space.

Cabinetmakers must be sure that they purchase the right amount of wood for cabinets so as to avoid inconsistencies in production due to changing materials over time.

The cabinet design is typically wood-centric, meaning that its components are mostly made from wood, and it thus falls under the umbrella of millwork.

The Difference Between Millwork And Casework

Millwork and casework are two different types of wood products used in construction and interior design. The main difference is that millwork is custom-made to fit a specific space while casework is mass-produced and is not tailored to fit a specific space.

Instead, it is made based on the general dimensions of the space. In terms of customization, both millwork and casework offer various options such as color and surface finishes. Windows, trims and other similar products are considered millwork as they are custom-made to fit the customer’s specifications.

The production process also distinguishes the two. Casework is less expensive due to its mass-production method, while millwork is more costly as it is made for a unique space and cannot be reused for other projects. The use of architectural millwork design drafting helps to streamline the custom millwork production process.


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