Decorative Molding Materials Decorative Molding Materials

The fact that decorative molding can make a room more attractive isn't news to anyone. Moldings have been used for centuries to make rooms seem larger, more finished or simply give them an elegant appearance. Surprisingly, even today the materials used to make moldings are the same as were used long ago, obviously because they continue to provide the traditional finished look many homeowners want in their houses. However, as we all know, nothing remains the same and decorative molding are now also commonly made from a number of non traditional products that provide their own interpretations of elegant and attractive appearance. Here's a quick run down of some of the materials used to create decorative moldings.

Solid wood

  • Oak and other hardwoods such as maple are the traditional molding materials and they continue to provide that warm, rich natural look of wood many homeowners want. Oak is the most commonly used hardwood primarily because it's easy to find and takes stain beautifully. Natural hardwood is still the only way to achieve the beauty of natural wood grains, but unfortunately, hardwood is expensive and natural wood can warp and change it's shape depending on humidity and temperature.

Finger jointed pine

  • Finger jointed pine is made from small pieces of pine wood joined end to end with a number of pine 'fingers' that align with each other. Pine is relatively inexpensive and finger jointed moldings can either be stained to provide a wood grain appearance or painted to provide a contrast with walls and ceilings. The disadvantage of using finger jointed wood is since some pieces will be harder than others, when the molding is stained, the satin won't be absorbed consistently resulting in a 'blotchy' appearance of the molding.


  • Medium density fiberboard is a man made product manufactured from wood fibers and a resin. Since it's man made it's quite versatile and can be used to create create large or small decorative moldings shaped into a variety of profiles and produced in pieces up to 18 feet long to make installation without joints possible. MDF has no natural wood grain and it's smooth finished surface can even be used with high gloss paints to provide an interesting appearance. As well because MDF is a man made product, it won't absorb moisture as readily as natural wood, so it won't warp, making it a good choice in humid climates.


  • Polyurethane or plastic moldings provide a modern way to replicate traditional wooden moldings. They are made simply by pouring polyurethane into a a mold, resulting in a molding that is consistently the same piece after piece. Since they are molded, polyurethane moldings can also provide intricate details that are costly and time consuming to create when working with wood making them an economical choice.
  • Other advantages of polyurethane moldings include the fact they are totally impervious to moisture and temperature changes and cannot be harmed by termites or other insects. They're also easy to work since they are light enough that they can be installed using industrial cement rather than nails so there is no extra finishing (such as filling nail holes) after installation.
Murray Anderson is an experienced freelance writer with over 600 articles published on the web as well as in print magazines and newspapers in both the United States and Canada. He writes on a wide range of topics and is a regular contributor to He can be contacted at [email protected]

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