Architectural woodwork and architectural millwork are often interchangeable terms. Architectural woodwork uses custom-made wood and architectural millwork uses custom-made wood, as well as non-wood materials such as plaster, plastic, and laminates. Basically, millwork uses more materials. The differences are slight but the processes are complex. What ties them together is that they both have the ability to transform the inside or outside of your home or business into the beautiful space you’ve always dreamed of. Let’s dig a bit deeper into what goes into this woodwork, what it encompasses, as well as the steps involved in the process.
What is Architectural Woodwork?
Architectural woodwork and millwork
Even though it may sound simple and straightforward, architectural woodwork and millwork can be quite complicated processes. The wood is exposed in the inside of a residential or commercial building. It can be a built-in structure or it can be a complete stand-alone feature. It can be built inside the interior of the building or into the exterior of the building. The possibilities are essentially endless. The designing and building process is usually fully done by hand (a pretty meticulous process, if you can imagine). This technique is quite common and can usually be seen on staircases, trims, and moldings. The design can be either functional or for aesthetic purposes entirely (or both). Ultimately, the purpose of the piece is to either be seen or to be utilized.
Fine wood is also used in order to create super detailed and delicate pieces. According to the Architectural Woodwork Institute, “an experienced woodworker has a deep knowledge of different design practices, techniques, and cuts, and will use a range of manual and powered tools to create attractive, custom or semi-custom made woodwork pieces.” Considering woodwork is part of the foundation, woodworkers need to know other trades as well, such as plumbing and electrical knowledge.
Where to add architectural woodwork and millwork
Mahogany Inc. states that the main structures involved in woodwork include shelving, doors, flooring, cabinets, trim, moldings, staircases, and paneling. More examples of where you can add in woodwork or millwork include baseboards; built-ins, such as bookcases and entertainment centers; cabinetry for kitchens, baths, storage, offices or closets; ceiling trims, embellishments, beams, and extensions; chair rails and wainscoting; columns and cornices; crowns, moldings, sashes, trims, corner beads; doors; furniture; fireplace mantels; paneling; shelving; staircases and balustrades. As you can see, the possibilities are vast and the process is intricate.
The steps involved
The first step for carpenters is to draw up the desired design. This is the foundation in creating the ultimate outcome. Once the drawing is squared away, the type of wood will then need to be chosen. Typically, the woodwork will be highlighting a certain feature of the space. With this in mind, it will need to complement it well. Focusing on the style, as well as the durability and functionality, will make for the perfect design.
A seasoned woodworker will have the experience and knowledge to use manual and power tools in order to customize the piece accordingly. They’ll also need to be up-to-code and aware of safety precautions. Certain companies may specialize in specific areas of a building, such as kitchens, while others will be well versed in the entirety of a space. When in the decision-making process of finding a company for your project, make sure you’re aware of their knowledge and expertise before diving in headfirst.
Wrapping up architectural woodwork
Architectural woodwork and millwork is a complex and detailed trade. Because of this, you’ll want to choose carefully and wisely when hiring a woodworker. These experts need to spend significant time in their training pursuits before beginning a project. Whether it’s a statement piece you’ve been dreaming up for your commercial kitchen or workplace bathroom or a built-in design on the exterior of your office building, there are many avenues you can take. Once you find the perfect company and/or woodworker, you’ll be well on your way to the dream space you’ve always wanted.
Additional Reading: What Designers Need to Know About Architectural Millwork
Contour Construction Inc. | Commercial Carpentry in Omaha
Contour can complete large and small carpentry jobs for:
- Multi‐Family Residential
- Small scale tenant improvement and build-out projects