Author Topic: Any reason not to make wainscoting out of MDF?  (Read 2815 times)

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Offline rizzoa13

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Any reason not to make wainscoting out of MDF?
« on: November 15, 2014, 11:58 AM »
I'd like to get some opinions on my idea for making the wainscoting in my living room. I live in the Northeast of the U.S. and we get very large swings in temperature and humidity in the seasons. This wainscoting will be on the exterior walls so will be more susceptible to expansion and contraction. The problem is compounded because we run our AC in the summer and burn the woodstove in the winter.

My idea is to make the craftsman style wainscoting out of full sheets of MDF to minimize the amount of gaps that could move on me. I'd be using the drywall as the "panel" portion of the wainscoting and then cutting the sheet of MDF into what would amount to a 1 piece face frame. I'd then put a chamfer on the cut and attach to the wall with screws on top and bottom that would be hidden behind chair rail and baseboard. The only joints would be between 8' sheets and I would have them fall half way on a panel to make the smallest seam possible.

Does anyone with more experience than myself (anyone who's done wall panelling lol!) see any issues with my plan? Ive not done much work with MDF so any concerns of love to hear now. Thanks!

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Offline jonny round boy

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Re: Any reason not to make wainscoting out of MDF?
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2014, 12:51 PM »
MDF will work, but I always use moisture-resistant MDF for situations such as this - that way if you do get any moisture coming through the wall, it won't affect the panelling. Plus, I find MR MDF takes water-based paint much better, without furring up.
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Online jmbfestool

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Re: Any reason not to make wainscoting out of MDF?
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2014, 02:12 PM »
Like mentioned MR MDF is better for paint finishing than regular MDF.

But its MR moisture resistant and even that isn't really true.  Direct contact with damp will cause it the swell and fur up.   Only reason I buy MR because it paints better that's it.  They should call it PB MDF (paints better MDF) not moisture resistant.

Any way if you want MDF which is totally water resistant you want tricoya MDF but it's very expensive.

 So you are best sticking with MR MDF.   If you paint the MDF ALL round you shouldnt have a problem. 

Also I wouldnt joint half way in a panel area I would joint from rail to style.   That's where a joint would normally be any way so if it did show a hair line crack it would make sense.   Doing it halfway on a rail section would look odd if it showed up.   Like hey why wasn't a full length rail used man. 
« Last Edit: November 15, 2014, 07:46 PM by jmbfestool »
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Offline rizzoa13

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Re: Any reason not to make wainscoting out of MDF?
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2014, 03:43 PM »
Doing it halfway on a rail section would look odd if it showed up.   Like hey why wasn't a full length rail used man.

Solid point there lol. As its my first time really working with MDF I'll sound ignorant and ask, can I paint it with oil base? Oil base lays down so much nicer from my under powered conversion gun and I'd really rather use oil.

Offline Deansocial

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Re: Any reason not to make wainscoting out of MDF?
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2014, 04:05 PM »
Yeah oils fine. Works better than water based on mdf imho

Online jmbfestool

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Re: Any reason not to make wainscoting out of MDF?
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2014, 04:54 PM »
Yeah what Dean said.

Oil based is a lot better on MDF than water based.

Like you said flattens out better but also doesn't fur the MDF up.

Definitely use oil based.
 
« Last Edit: November 16, 2014, 06:21 AM by jmbfestool »
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Offline awil66

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Re: Any reason not to make wainscoting out of MDF?
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2014, 07:28 PM »
Yes, defiantly and with purpose!

Offline rizzoa13

  • Posts: 582
Re: Any reason not to make wainscoting out of MDF?
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2014, 06:11 AM »
Thanks for the help everyone I really appreciate it!