Industry Info

Industry Information

Types of Prefinishing
Finishers apply a wide variety of finishing systems and methods. For example, a woodworker or jobsite finisher might apply the finish by hand; custom prefinishers, in a booth. High-volume prefinishers employ a production line, using robotics, lasers, and technology. Midwest Prefinishing is a high-volume prefinisher with custom capabilities.

Various Finishing Systems
Formulas include latex, catalyzed lacquer, nitrocellulose, conversion varnish, UV curable, and more. In fact, the Architectural Millwork Standards (AWI, Volume 1) lists thirteen different finishing systems; the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA), 16 systems. Both lists focus on architectural applications. But prefinishers for residential and hospitality applications typically create their own proprietary formulas, working closely with their paint, stain, and equipment vendors. Their goal is beauty, durability, fade-resistance, and repairability at a reasonable cost.

So, although you should choose a high quality finish, don’t overspecify a finish with properties you do not need and at a price you should not pay. AWI states it more formally: “Choose performance characteristics which meet, but do not exceed, the needs of your project in the interest of value engineering.”

Industry Standards and Trade Organizations

Architectural Millwork Standards, Volume 1, Section 5:
Finishing; also, Appendix B: Finishing

WDMA’s Industry Standard for Architectural
Wood Flush Doors: I.S. 1A-04

Associated Millwork Distributors

National Hardwood Lumber Association

Related Articles

All About Lacquers, William Duckworth

 HVLP’s Evolution is an Interesting Story, Bob Flexner, Woodshop News

Maple Color Variation, Gene Wengert,

Clean Finish (causes of contamination and importance of a vinyl sealer)

Moulding, Millwork & Trim (growth in factory-primed moulding; MDF and FJ mouldings are environmentally-friendly

Ivan Eastin gives an update on the wood moulding market, DWM Magazine, March 24, 2012

NHLA’s, Why North American Hardwoods

NHLA’s, Truth About Trees

Small Business Marketing Philosophy, Todd Burud

Publications, Periodicals

Forest Product Lab Wood Handbook, Centennial Edition

Window and Door Magazine

Wood Digest

Minnesota Technical Assistance Program, Wood Finishing

DWM Magazine


LBM Journal