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Millwork and Casework - Know the Differences

When investing in a space, it's important to know the differences in what you're potentially purchasing, as well as the reasons you might choose one over another. One common choice in the decision-making process is choosing between millwork and casework.

These two forms of carpentry are often used interchangeably, but the reality is that they having striking differences in how they're created, how they fit into a space, and how they appear compared to other products from the same company.

The Custom Difference

One of the main differences between millwork and casework is exactly how either one is made. With millwork, every piece is custom-made, in a mill, to the customer's precise specifications. This ensures that every single piece that leaves the mill is unique in it's own way, and that there are never two products that are exactly alike. Armoires, embellishments, and mantels are all examples of custom pieces that are created in mills, specifically designed to match a customer's requests.

When we take a look at casework, we find items that are factory-produced, usually en masse, with many or all of it's pieces through an assembly line or with a template. This allows the manufacturer to easily produce many of the same product and sell them quickly and cheaply, without taking into account any specific customer requests. Common casework pieces include tables, chairs, and desks.

Architectural Millwork

Though much of millwork refers to pieces like armoires, it can also refer to architectural millwork, which is the moldings, accents, and trim that are used to embellish surfaces on a building. These are usually done on-site and are very specific to exactly what the building's owner would like, as well as what works best in the space provided. This level of craftsmanship adds value to a building, as nothing else like it can be created with the same amount of care and detail.

Since casework is created with no customer specifications and in a more rushed, templated format, there is not the possibility that casework is created with the same amount of care and precision as architectural millwork. Therefore, casework simply cannot bring the same exact amount of detail into a space.

Differences in Price

Most consumers will find their main difference between millwork and casework in the price. Due to its custom nature, millwork can be much more expensive than casework, but for a much higher quality. The time and attention that is put into every piece that comes out of a mill is well worth the higher price tag. It's important to remember, especially with architectural millwork, that the detail and beauty of these items ultimately brings up a space's value, or the value of an item like an armoire or mantel.

Consumers who are looking for something to fill a space on a budget may find solace in the lower price of casework, however, and select some items that are factory-made and therefore can be purchased at a cheaper price. Due to the quality of materials, as well as the way in which they are put together, it can be much more inexpensive to go with casework items when necessary.

These differences in millwork and casework help to understand exactly what a consumer may be looking for in a piece of furniture or in filling or decorating a space. Though prices for custom-made items made in a mill are generally higher, the quality and care that is put into every single piece is well worth it. You'll also find that the beauty of architectural millwork in the molding and trim of a building or room adds value that simply cannot be obtained through any other means.