Mouldings are not a feature that many people think about, until they undertake a renovation or refurbishment and face the issue of reviving or replacing period features. This can be a challenge when you are suddenly faced with a number of decorative and functional features which need to match, and your interior design has become a much bigger project.
Usually you will be faced with a choice between hardwood and MDF when considering a material for mouldings, which can include door and window architrave, skirting boards, picture rails and ceiling mouldings. Many people will immediately look to the cost element of this decision, but that can be very misleading. When you are renovating a period property, it is a task you don’t want to keep repeating, and you don’t want to be installing features which require annual maintenance. For this reason, many homeowners are now choosing wood mouldings over MDF, and here we have outlined why.
When considering your overall interior design, you face many more visual options when working with wood. MDF has to be painted in order to seal it, and you can paint wood too. But you can also sand it, stain it and use a clear coating to retain a more natural look.
There are other ways that wood can look different and be made to match other features also. The main one is the ease of machining different moulding profiles to match skirting or architrave in a room, and match it to a Victorian, Georgian or Edwardian feature. With MDF you are really faced with one plain option in terms of profile, because this material is mass-produced and rarely made to a bespoke order or profile.
MDF is undoubtedly strong and solid and is light and easy to handle and machine, but it does show holes, dents and imperfections more, and will certainly create more dust when machined or drilled. As a result, MDF may create much more waste material. In comparison, wood is stronger and more robust.
The natural fibres of wood mean it holds nails and other fasteners better, whereas the manufactured fibres of MDF tend to result in fasteners working loose. Wood will also handle damp and humidity better, and in terms of chips, scratches and cracks, wood is certainly more durable, and this can be critical if you have small children or pets in the home. Ultimately, wood will retain its appearance for much longer, and with a renovation project, this is what you are after.
A final consideration is waste and recyclability. Although MDF is made from lots of wood fibres, they are bound together using chemicals such as resins and formaldehydes. These can slowly release chemicals over time and also mean that MDF should be disposed of to landfill and not recycled. Wood of course is a natural material and can easily be re-used or recycled.
Hopefully this gives you plenty of reasons why homeowners are continuing to turn to wood as an enduringly effective product when renovating period properties. Wood is the most practical and flexible product, and therefore is cost effective over a period of time, and when you are investing wisely in a showpiece renovation project in your home, that makes the decision to use wood mouldings very simple.