Soon after their introduction in 1910, Dahlstrom’s metal mouldings were being used exclusively by some of the most famous architects in the developed world. These designers framed doors, windows, and storefronts with Dahlstrom mouldings; they accented living spaces with Dahlstrom’s baseboards, chair rails, vertical battens, and cornices. But, what exactly made these Dahlstrom products so popular?
Well, metal mouldings provide a supreme advantage over wood – they are fireproof.
In the early 1900s, technology for smoke detection and integrated sprinkler systems did not exist. Most sprinkler systems at that time utilized perforated pipe and had to be turned on manually. When the first automatic sprinkler systems appeared in the 1920s, their use was mainly focused on manufacturing plants with large supplies of wood, textiles, and other materials that are highly susceptible to fire. Electronic smoke detection was not even invented until the 1940s.
Prior to those advancements, however, architects turned to metal as the essential decorative material because metal does not contribute fuel or develop smoke during a fire. As more and more floors were added to high-rise buildings, the ability to trim rooms with noncombustible mouldings became extremely valuable to those designing them.
So, now that we understand decorative metal mouldings were inspired by a need to resist the spread of fire, let’s examine some other advantages of using metal mouldings instead of wood…
Impact and Corrosion Resistance
In comparison to wood, metal mouldings provide superior impact resistance. The dent resistance of 18ga. steel is over 20x stronger than hardwood and never splits, chips, or breaks. Copper, bronze, stainless steel, and galvanized steel weather naturally and beautify with age.
Also, when coated properly, steel mouldings are remarkably corrosion resistant. Raw steel is available in a pre-primed version with a galvanized base layer that offers even more protection. Metal mouldings will not rot, promote mold, and they are impervious to insects
When considering LEED credits and environmental responsibility, wood moulding fabrication kills trees. Metal mouldings, on the other hand, can be made from nearly 100% recycled steel and will maintain the qualities of steel produced in a conventional manner.
Metal mouldings are uniquely beautiful. You can trim the grand entrance of a five-star hotel with copper frames or door frame casing, build a multi-lite series of glass panels using naval-bronze muntins and mullions, or convert the doldrums of the New York subway system into a visual masterpiece with colonial stainless steel railings. Why not hang modern art on galvanized picture rails in a Washington, D.C., gallery?
You are only limited by the imagination of design!
If you think metal mouldings are ideal for your next project, please contact a Dahlstrom Roll Form design specialist to have your questions answered today!
Many architectural projects must back up their beauty with backbone. It’s not enough to create a great design -- it’s got to stand up to wear and tear in a mass-shared space, too.
That’s why this video series attempts to answer, "What is the most durable type of base trim in the industry?" Wood[...]
The status quo isn’t going to advance your designs. Sometimes you need to reassess what’s always been considered "acceptable" and see it for what it is -- kinda ugly. A door casing is a prime example of an opportunity to take the “ugly” and turn it in to something beautiful.
What makes a metal[...]
All mouldings, whether metal or wood, look great when they roll off the manufacturing line. They look strong, sturdy, and beautiful. The durability of mouldings when applied in the field, however, is a reminder of how poorly we humans treat our things.