Frequently Asked Questions & Information
Which is better for paint grade materials, Wood or MDF?
A. The simple answer is: WOOD. For paint grade applications, wood
materials come in either FJP (finger jointed pine), solid pine or poplar.
The main benefit with real wood products is that the molding profiles are
nice and crisp. The definition and shadow casting is night and day
compared to MDF which has rounded less detailed profiles. This is mainly
due to the milling of MDF verses wood. MDF cannot hold an edge as its
brittle and easily damaged. Wood on the other hand can be tooled and
shaped to make perfect clean, high definition molding lines. Think of the
difference between watching regular cable (MDF) and watching 1080p High
definition (premium wood moldings) The experience is totally different, even
when watching the same program. However like HD cable, there is a
significant cost difference as well.
How do the MDF products compare to the wood materials?
A. A couple years ago I would still argue in favor of wood. The MDF
products we are using today are much better than they were a few years
ago. The introduction of lightweight MDF, has fixed most of the issues we
as installers have had in the past. MDF still requires some special attention
especially from the painters. Your painter should be aware of how to
properly seal up MDF exposed edges. Also the installers should not be
using 15g nails on MDF. This will cause unsightly nail hole volcanoes to
show or "flash" through the paint. Careful prep and sanding of nails holes is
extra work that the finishers may have to charge for. Even though MDF
has a material cost saving up front. You could end up paying more for
painting, because of the added work.
How do you install MDF if we choose it for our material?
A. Like most moldings, wood or MDF, we primarily use 18g nails for
fastening. We also use premium construction adhesive, and glues to back
up our nailing on some of the trim so that we can use less nailing. The
smaller nails wont flash though the paint like the larger 15g nails. The
largest nails we use on MDF are 16g and they do not leave those Volcano
puckering that look just unsightly. 15g nails work great on wood, and
backing material. We do not to use them on MDF running trim (IE: crown
molding, base, and casing) because the nail heads will flash though.
Causing a real mess for the painter. We have found through experience
that 18g nails offer plenty of holding power for most running trim
applications (wood or MDF) and leave a hole that is easily touched up,
Do you prefer NOT to work with MDF then?
A. No not at all...MDF has come leaps and bounds the in the last 10
years. We welcome using MDF products especially because we know that
the industry has been moving that direction for some time now, and the cost
differences between wood are significant. We also know how to handle
MDF and have the special equipment to help control the added amount of
MDF dust. There are places that we would prefer not to use MDF like for
door and window jambs. But MDF Trim and material is a value product that
is here to stay. One thing we do suggest is mixing and matching wood and
MDF. Moldings that command to be crisp like an entablature crown over a
door, should be installed out of wood, so you don't loose the detail when its
Can you even tell the difference after its painted?
A. Yes for some, and NO for most. Again the difference is in the details.
A premium wood molding will always have crisp lines that pop lots of
shadow, and high definition. MDF moldings are always rounded over, with
subtle weak lines. This is just how MDF is made. It cannot hold a sharp
corner or edge, so they are rounded over, and often times have flatter
elongated curves. Wood moldings will have steeper emphatic curves, and
crisp fillets and edges, that show LOTS of details especially when painted.
Even though a profile is offered in wood and MDF, they are not the same
side by side. For some people, they are fine with this, especially because
MDF trim often is half the price of wood.
I'm getting multiple estimates, why is your pricing higher than other bids?
A. We try hard to offer our unique services, at the lowest fair price. However, sometimes we are not the lowest bid. Often times this is
due to not bidding apples for apples with other contractors, either in work scope, installation techniques, or services offered.
The service we offer is backed by our trade and industry experience as well as our knowledge of current products and technology. With that
experience we have progressed in our approach to incorporate better installation techniques that give us a heightened end result, that is
longer lasting. Part of this progression is our investment in higher grade equipment, that increases our class of installation and output flow.
You won't see cheap, beat up, rusty tools on our jobs, but clean, precision, industrial grade equipment that shows we are serious
professionals that take pride in quality work.
The caliber of fasteners, glues, joinery components and supplies we use on every project are of very top notch. We don't shop at home
centers, especially for material. What you get is the reinsurance of professional quality. Cutting corners to save a buck on cheap products is
not what we are about.
We also realize that there will always be a cheaper bottom line price. Usually these prices are to good to be true, and have a whole bunch
of variables and ?'s attached. In construction, pricing will always vary. We encourage getting 3 bids and we ask that you check with your
other contractors to see if they are offering the same caliber of workmanship within each scope, so that you know exactly what your paying
Our company is small, but we do run it legit. Don and Jesse both are properly licensed and bonded as the state of CA requires all
contractors. We both carry current General Liability insurance and keep it in good standing.
So what are these "tools and installation techniques" you are referring too?
A. Jesse Wright answers:
"Over the years, my dad and I have seen just about everything when it comes to how trim is installed. Growing up in the
trade when I did was revolutionary for my generation. Techniques from yesteryears have been replaced with growing
technology to keep up with evolving materials. Its still going on today. Tools we had just 10-15 years ago are all getting
replaced with improved, higher precision models, with tighter tolerances, and dust collection. Its really exciting, as I'm a
bit of a tool hound. With these new tools come better installation procedures, and reinforced joinery! Let me show you
some of the cool things we are doing with the new technology and why it helps us deliver a better installation and
Check out my Tools, Equipment & Installation Page for more info..
Currently Under Development
Stay tuned More FAQ's coming soon...