There is no doubt that custom woodwork adds an old-world style and a charming rustic look that can’t be duplicated in any other manner. Nothing is more appealing than custom-made wood doors, crown moldings, kitchen cabinets, and fireplace mantels. Custom woodwork is also a surefire way to add both functionality and value to your home. Regardless of how you furnish your interior, custom woodwork can add storage and make the entire home more comfortable, not to mention making your space more personalized.
Before you embark on any custom woodwork project, there are a few things you should be aware of to ensure that not only do you get the look you have in mind but that the contractor that you hire is reputable.
1. Be Sure You Hire a Professional:
Woodworkers have a special set of skills that enable them to create whatever it is you have in mind. It can be extremely disappointing to hire a woodworker only to discover that this person isn’t really a professional and can’t give you what you have in mind. Be sure that the person you are considering hiring:
- Has the ability to work with a variety of materials, including different types of wood
- Will provide you with a detailed estimate
- Is friendly, personable, and fairly easy to get ahold of by phone or email
- Has sufficient experience in the business
- Has an excellent reputation and is willing to provide references
If the person you are considering using doesn’t meet these qualifications, no matter how inexpensive they might be, think twice and then think three times before you hire them.
2. Be a Good Communicator:
Remember that while a woodworker may be highly skilled, they cannot read your mind. So, while you might try to describe a fireplace mantel that you saw elsewhere, a photograph would be a far better representation that what is in your head. If you see something that you like, take pictures, if you see something in a magazine, bring it with you or at least snap a pic with your cell phone. Changes can be discussed if an object is not exactly what you have in mind, but don’t say “do whatever you think is best” and then complain when the finished product doesn’t fit the product in your head.
3. Cost Isn’t Everything:
Or to put it another way, more expensive does not always equal better. Of course, custom woodwork is going to be more expensive than items you would find at a big box home improvement store, but you should have a budget in mind. If you aren’t sure, research items that are similar in size and materials from other sources, such as mail-order catalogs or furniture stores. This can help to guide you to a “base” price for your project. For example, if you see a fireplace mantel that is similar in size and made from the cherry wood that you love in a catalog retailing for $5,000, expecting a custom -made piece to be that price is not reasonable. If you aren’t willing to pay $5,000 for a prefabricated mantel, then you should consider other options.
4. Custom Made Means Time Consuming:
While many furniture and home improvement stores offer same-day shipping, don’t expect a custom-made piece to ordered on Monday to be delivered on Saturday. Weather affects production, special types of wood sometimes must be ordered, and the product needs time to be worked on and to dry. Ask your woodworker for their time estimate but keep in mind that tools break and kids get sick. If your mantel or crown molding isn’t ready on the very day of the estimate, cut them some slack.
5. Don’t Limit Yourself:
You might have an idea in mind for a truly unique custom kitchen cabinet design, for example, but if your woodworker makes a suggestion for making your design more functional, practical, or more appropriate for the type of kitchen space you have, don’t immediately dismiss their suggestions as somehow squashing your dream. Woodworkers do these types of jobs day in and day out, so they know a thing or two that you might not. While this doesn’t mean that you must take their advice, at least take it into consideration.
Turning your everyday house into a stunning home is as simple as calling a professional woodworker and talking about your dream home. What could be easier?