Back in the 1950s the British took against mouldings.

As our TTJ Awards’ host Maxwell Hutchinson highlights in his History of a House Channel 4 TV series, there was a time when the average householder liked nothing better than to rip out skirting, tear down mantelpieces and picture rails and board up paneled doors with a couple of sheets of plywood. Everything had to be flush, smooth and Formica‘d. Of course, after its own dip in popularity in the 1980s, Formica is now very much back in fashion, but so too are mouldings, big time.

This week we take a closer look at the market for mouldings and the technology for making them and, in general, the mood in the sector is bullish.

The mouldings manufacturers report healthy demand in new build and RMI markets and they claim trade buyers and consumers are looking for a greater range and variety of product than ever before.

According to suppliers, the biggest growth recently has come in demand for MDF mouldings, with housebuilders, especially, appreciating the consistent uniformity. But others report that there are also still plenty of consumers who want a natural timber product and see its idiosyncrasies as a plus.

Mouldings are also coming into their own in the age of information technology – other than under the floor or in the ceiling, what better place to conceal the growing volume of cabling snaking around homes and offices? The market is also being driven by manufacturing technology. The modern moulding machine, as one manufacturer tells us, does in a single pass what a couple of machines previously did in anything up to eight. What is more, it does it extremely rapidly and cost-effectively – with even complex profiles programmed in at the touch of a button – and leaves a better finish. The consensus is that the lion’s share of the market will remain in the hands of the specialist moulding suppliers. But the compactness and rapid payback of the latest moulders also puts them within reach of smaller businesses looking to tap into this growing market, focusing, perhaps on ultra urgent and short run bespoke orders.

And to those worried about a return to the philistine anti-mouldings 50s, do not fear. In a recent Sunday supplement poll it turned out to be the fashion decade the top home stylists least wanted to see revived.