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Architectural Detail Experts | A Blog by Worthington Millwork

12 Specifications High-Quality Builders Need in Their Cornice Suppliers

Posted by Worthington Millwork on 9/24/19 5:00 AM

IMG_8642_3335_edited-1In the construction world, cornices are a part of your everyday life. Cornices can be found on both commercial and structural residences and are one of the final additions before completion. Cornices can also make or break the look of a room or building. A cheap and poorly built cornice will take away from the attractiveness of the structure and make for very unhappy clients. Just as you take care to pick out the best quality materials for the flooring, walls, ceiling, etc. It is just as important to make sure that you choose suppliers who provide only the highest quality cornices with the best possible service. Failure to choose the right supplier and you will end up with a product you aren't proud of, wasted money, and frustrated customers. Let's take a look at 12 specifications that high-quality builders need in their cornice suppliers. 

The Purpose of Cornices

As a builder, you know that there are two types of cornices: interior and exterior. While interior cornices are primarily for looks, exterior cornices serve a dual purpose of functionality and decoration. Cornices serve the following purposes:

  • Protect both the inside and outside from environmental elements
  • Helps with the energy efficiency of the building by reducing the overall temperature inside the structure
  • Certain styles of cornices even offer shade for passersby
  • Adds to the visual appeal of the structure
  • Cover and hide imperfections at the seams

Quality cornices should last for many, many years if not a lifetime. However, more often than not builders get ripped off by false promises and attractive prices only to find that you get what you pay for. Choosing the right supplier from the start will ensure that you have set yourself up for success. What should you look for in your cornice supplier?

Cornices that Meet Regulations

First of all, you want to make sure that all materials meet federal, state, and local codes. Failing to consider building codes will only lead to frustration, loss of money, and angry clients. Each state and county will have specific regulations that builders must follow when constructing commercial and residential structures. Make sure to check with your area to make sure you are using cornices built out of materials that are up to code.

If you use cornices which are not up to code and it is discovered, you will be required to replace the cornices with ones that do meet code.  

Fire and Flammability Requirements

Structural fires are no laughing matter. Did you know that there are over 355,000 home fires a year in the United States which result in over 2,500 death? Purchasing cornices that are fire rated are extremely important. 

You must make sure the cornices meet ASTME 84 E requirements. As mentioned above specifics will vary depending on your location. Building materials, including cornices, must meet certain fire and flammability requirements. 

  • Fire Resistance - refers to how the material can either hold out against fire or to what degree the material can provide protection before it is consumed in the fire. 
  • The Spread of the Flame - How likely is the material to promote the spread of flames in the event of a fire. 
  • Reaction to Fire - Is a combination of the previous two. It is an assessment of how the material reacts to fire. Does it help to reduce the flames, contribute to the spread, offer protection, etc?

When looking for a cornice supplier, verify that they offer products that not only meet the requirements but options that exceed these requirements as well. Some clients will be okay with cornices that meet the bare minimum fire and flammability requirements, while others will want to exceed these requirements.  

Lead-Free Cornices

The presence of lead in cornices and other building substances poses serious health hazards and therefore are not recommended when it comes to either restoring older structures or building new ones. According to the CDC, lead has been known to cause the following health issues:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irritability
  • Memory loss
  • Tingling and weakness in the extremities
  • Depression
  • Nausea
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart Disease
  • Kidney Disease
  • Infertility

Lead not only poses a threat to adults but it also poses a threat to children and pets. The reason is that most adults would never lick or eat chipped off pieces of cornices. However, very small children and pets do not discriminate when it comes to what they will put in their mouths. Lead can be a real problem if pets and children come into contact with it. 

When vetting suppliers, verify that their cornices are constructed out of lead-free material. Most clients you encounter, understand the dangers of lead and will want to steer clear of cornices which contain even the smallest amounts of lead.  

Freon-Free Cornices

Cornices made from materials containing chlorofluorocarbons, more commonly known as Freon poses short-term health risks to those that come in contact with it. People with cardiovascular issues should be the most cautious because it can cause heart arrhythmias. Other symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Burning of the lungs and throat
  • Irritation of the mucous membranes 

The supplier you choose should offer products which are freon-free. As with lead, your clients will not want to install cornices made with materials that could pose health hazards. 

Requirements Set Forth By UL Standards

Make sure the supplier meets UL Standards. UL is a worldwide safety certification company that is one of only several companies to be approved by U.S. federal agency Occupational Safety and Health Administration to conduct safety testing. Discuss with potential suppliers about whether or not they meet any and all UL standards.  

Does the Supplier Inspect Materials Before Being Shipped?

Time is money. When it comes to a construction site and building, the last thing you need or want is to receive damaged or defective cornices. Not only, does this cause a delay because now you must have new cornices shipped, but it also costs you money. You must somehow either return or dispose of the defective cornices based on the supplier's preference.

A reputable supplier should inspect each order of cornices before it is shipped, to ensure you are receiving a quality product. Mistakes can still happen, even under the best of circumstances. Should you receive an order of cornices that is damaged or otherwise defective, the supplier should have a policy of providing monetary compensation or some type of store credit. 

Before you commit to working with a supplier, make sure they have reasonable company policies in place for these type of occurrences. 

Are You Able to Receive a Sample Product?

When you first begin working with a new supplier, it is important to know and understand the product you are getting before placing a large order only to find it is not what you expected or needed. When vetting suppliers, ask if you are able to receive a sample of the product beforehand. This allows you to see what the final product will look like and how it feels. You can also make sure the cornices are of the highest quality and that your client will be happy. Most suppliers are proud of their work and happy to provide samples. Be wary of those who do not want to show you their work before you commit to them. 

Familiarity with Cornices

It is extremely important that you choose a supplier who understands the construction industry, the value of cornice, and its different functions. While it is possible for suppliers to successfully produce products for industries that they do not have any knowledge of, it is extremely valuable if your supplier does understand the industry. 

Using a supplier who is familiar with the construction industry is beneficial for a few different reasons:

  • Since the supplier understands the functionality of cornices, quality issues will be caught and resolved before the shipment ever leaves the facility
  • The supplier will understand how the industry works, and therefore be able to tailor production and shipping to better match those needs
  • A knowledgeable supplier is more capable of helping you with any unique custom orders you might be in need of

You can't go wrong choosing a supplier who is knowledgeable and experienced in the construction industry.

Open Lines of Communication

Lack of communication can be extremely frustrating. It is important that suppliers keep open lines of communications with builders. As a builder, you often run on very tight deadlines. In addition to these deadlines, you also must adapt to unforeseen circumstances. These include tasks taking much longer than expected and even environmental conditions such as rain, snow, etc. The ability to communicate with your supplier will help to minimize these frustrations.  

Check with the supplier and see what their preferred method of communication is. Do they use email, phone calls, text messages, etc? Make sure their preferred method lines up with yours. If not, ask if exceptions can be made. For instance, if you work in the field most of the time and are unable to respond to email, see if the supplier would be willing to make a note on your account to call you instead.

Is the Supplier Flexible?

Choosing a supplier who is extremely flexible is crucial. The construction industry can be unpredictable and demands flexibility. You often run into situations such as:

  • A client changes the style or color cornice
  • You need to adjust the number of cornices needed
  • The delivery date or time must be changed

These are just a few of the scenarios you might run into as a builder, but the possibilities are endless. Working with a supplier who offers flexibility helps to ensure you can the product when you need it. 

Let's Talk Money

Choosing a supplier with fair prices is important. You may be tempted to go with the supplier who is the cheapest. However, this is not a solid strategy plan. If you choose the cheapest supplier, you may very well be sacrificing quality which will lead to unhappy clients. Instead, price check several suppliers. Get an idea of the average price of cornices and work your way from there taking into consideration the above specifications as well. 

Often times, suppliers offer discounts for very large orders or if you choose a certain payment option. You may even be able to work out a deal if you promise to exclusively use them for purchasing cornices and send business their way. The catch is that often times you must ask, suppliers will not initiate negotiations. 

The Leader in American Made Architectural Products

Worthington Millwork understands you want quality cornices at a great price. We offer two different types of exterior cornices to meet your needs and preferences.

FRP Cornice

The FRP Cornice comes in either 8 foot or 12-foot easy to install sections. It is customizable to any profile, radius, and arch. If you wish to have certain designs such as leaves, custom shapes or more, these requests can be accommodated. The FRP Cornice is paintable, durable, lightweight, optional class A fire rated resin, optional gel coat, and a limited lifetime warranty.

Polyurethane Cornice

Our polyurethane cornice comes with a limited lifetime warranty, pre-painted a standard white with top-of-the-line nano-paint technology, and a 10-year guarantee on the top coat of paint! This cornice is lightweight, crack-resistant, rot-resistant, salt air proof, insect proof, optional Class A fire rated polyurethane, and optional custom paint and sheen!

More Than Just Great Products

With over 30 years of experience in the architectural industry, Worthington Millwork understands that clients not only need a great product, but they need a great customer experience. This is why we provide only the best products that undergo a rigorous inspection. You can conveniently order any product online and have it delivered. 

If you have any questions or aren't sure of exactly what you need, our knowledgeable and helpful staff will help you make educated purchasing decisions! Contact us for or more information or to view our extensive line of architectural products.  

Topics: FRP cornice, polyurethane cornice, commercial cornice, fiberglass cornice, cornice

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