Mouldings are available in a variety of wood species, as well as Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF). The different types of available material provide flexibility around budgets and needs. Woods can be categorized based on their relative hardness using the Janka Hardness Test; This metric measures the force in pounds required to bury a steel ball halfway into a piece of that wood.
Hardwoods – Cherry, Mahogany, Maple, Northern Red Oak, Poplar, Lauan
These wood species are on the upper end of the relative hardness scale. Cherry, Maple, and Northern Red Oak are all deciduous trees of North America that have broad leaves, are fruit or nut bearing, and generally go dormant in the winter. Mahogany is typically imported from the tropical forests of Africa, the West Indies or Central and South America. Lauan refers to a tropical rainforest tree in the Shorea family. Because of the woods hardness, these species make great additions to any buildings overall architecture, with little wear over several years.
Softwoods – Alder, Cedar, Fir, Pine
Softwoods are generally categorized as conifers, meaning they are cone-bearing trees and have needles instead of leaves. These species are slightly more affordable than their hardwood counterparts, but still make a great material for architectural moulding components. As the name suggests, softwoods are softer and more pliable than hardwoods.
Synthetics – Medium-Density Fiberboard, Melamine
This category includes both completely synthetic materials, and wood based materials. Medium density fiberboard is a composite made from the broken down wood fibers of hardwood and softwood residuals. The wood fibers are combined with wax and resin binders and bound into boards using high temperature and pressure. Medium-density fiberboard is inexpensive and when primed and painted it can mimic the appearance of natural wood. Melamine is a resin based hard plastic that can be used to form architectural moulding. Like MDF, melamine resin moulding is inexpensive but may not have the same character of a hardwood.