Study Finds Urethane Millwork More Cost Effective Than Wood

October 30, 2009

A recent hands-on comparison field study suggests its more cost effective to install urethane products on a home than wood. The study, conducted by Market Resource Associates and sponsored by Fypon Ltd., looked at trade contractors installing entry door surrounds.

A small group of contractor teams were each asked to build two door surrounds–one from built-up wood pieces and the other from a Fypon door surround kit.  MRA findings in the study include:

  • “Built-up” wood systems require substantially more time and dedication toward measuring, re-measuring and checking than the kit pieces.
  • The quality of work supplied by different contractors tremendously affects the look of the finished product. Those home exteriors in the study with wood built-up pieces showed dramatic inconsistency. Home exteriors with urethane pieces installed showed consistency of product appearance.
  • Repetitive use of built-up systems (for example, in town homes) will have more continuity and accuracy when using standardized urethane pieces.
  • Job site waste was significantly less for the urethane products than the wood pieces.
  • Installation skill level needed for installing urethane products was far less than for piecing together a built-up wood system. Thus, subcontractors may be able to more successfully work with the urethane pieces than the wood products.

“Our research shows that contractors save on time and labor by installing urethane products versus using built-up traditional wood pine pieces,” says John Cashmore, MRA president. “Overall, using urethane products saved our research participants up to 19 percent on labor over a similar project that required wood product.”

According to the study, installing a set of urethane plain fluted pilasters flanking an entry door and topping the door off with a crosshead costs just an average of just $44 for labor and takes under an hour. To create the same door surround out of built-up wood is estimated to cost an average of $181 in labor and can take up to four hours for the same project.

“The fast out-of-the-box and onto the house application of urethane products really speeds up installation time and saves on labor,” says Tina Mealer, Fypon product manager. “Plus, you may need a more experienced craftsman to create the wood build-ups who know how to correctly miter corners. The urethane pieces come completely ready to install ‘as is’ out of the box, so all levels of installers can easily tackle these projects with urethane pieces."

More details on the study are available on the Fypon Web site.