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Wainscoting Help - Materials and Finishing

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Forum topic by Ben posted 09-06-2016 05:57 PM 561 views 1 time favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Ben

70 posts in 697 days


09-06-2016 05:57 PM

Hi Folks,

I’m gutting and refinishing my master bath and adding wainscoting. I’m a relatively new woodworker and I’m stuck on two things: (1) the materials to construct it, and (2) the best way to finish it for maximum durability and moisture rejection.

First – Construction Materials: I recently added shaker style wainscoting in my dining room using MDF and am happy with the result. I’d like to use a similar shaker-style in the bath. But I understand that MDF and water don’t play nicely together and the wainscoting will be near the usual bathroom water sources, so it seems like MDF isn’t a good idea. So that leaves PVC beadboard or solid poplar. PVC offers the best moisture rejection, but it’s not the visual style I had in mind. Solid poplar would work, but some quick math shows that buying the select poplar boards from a big box store will get pretty expensive. Does anyone have advice on this? Is there an alternative material that I’m missing here? Thanks in advance!

Second – Finishing: I used a Fuji Spray HVLP to spray my dining room with great results, and I’d like to use that again here. If I construct the wainscoting using poplar, what’s the best product to finish it with? I have read a little about lacquer and it sounds like it’s the most durable and best for moisture rejection. However, my knowledge is pretty limited – is there a resource someone can direct me to for more information on this? If someone could suggest a primer and paint/lacquer or other I’d really appreciate it. (I understand that PVC can be sprayed with any vinyl-safe paint, so I’m not too worried about that part.)

Thanks!!

Here’s a pic of my dining room completed…these posts are always more fun with a pic or two.


6 replies so far

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

2561 posts in 1717 days


#1 posted 09-06-2016 09:39 PM

Ben, you are correct that water will ruin MDF in a hurry. However, once you finish the MDF, the finish should prevent any water infiltration. I would use MDF for all the parts except the pieces that touch the floor where I would use poplar. Be certain to paint the ends of the poplar as well as the sides and edges, then caulk the lower joints.

I just finished a bathroom project (pix tomorrow) with Target's EM6500. There was a bit of a learning curve and it took 3 coats, but I am happy with the results. You could add Target’s CL100 for a more durable finish if you are concerned about the water. I didn’t use it on my project. You might also want to add a clear coat but I didn’t. I am sure there are other products that will work as well.

Good luck and let us see the completed project.

-- Art

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Eugd

65 posts in 571 days


#2 posted 09-06-2016 11:05 PM

I was going to take a simular project this summer but never had a chance to start it. I asked asked around and was advised to use Ranger board, and poplar for the baseboard, that way its more resistant, Try to see if any suppliers of Ranger board are in your area, it’s a better version of mdf. Hope that helps

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Ben

70 posts in 697 days


#3 posted 09-08-2016 02:05 PM

Thanks guys – that’s very helpful info. I really appreciate it.

View canadianchips's profile

canadianchips

2345 posts in 2457 days


#4 posted 09-08-2016 07:02 PM

Cedar fence boards ?
I personally would NOT use poplar. I have seen too much wood movement with moisture !

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

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runswithscissors

2176 posts in 1485 days


#5 posted 09-09-2016 12:13 AM

Traditional wainscoting was done with beaded ceiling. At one time, it became very hard to find, as they had ceased milling it. But I believe it is available again, as a lot of people are restoring vintage houses. Here in the PNW, it was usually fir, but I think that now it is more likely to be out of hemlock. In order of preference, for me it would be fir, hemlock, red cedar (but I don’t know whether anyone is producing this), pine, poplar, and any faux wood dead last. (Sorry, I am not a fan of mdf).

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View nightguy's profile

nightguy

213 posts in 122 days


#6 posted 09-09-2016 12:22 AM


Traditional wainscoting was done with beaded ceiling. At one time, it became very hard to find, as they had ceased milling it. But I believe it is available again, as a lot of people are restoring vintage houses. Here in the PNW, it was usually fir, but I think that now it is more likely to be out of hemlock. In order of preference, for me it would be fir, hemlock, red cedar (but I don t know whether anyone is producing this), pine, poplar, and any faux wood dead last. (Sorry, I am not a fan of mdf).

- runswithscissors

I guess not, bead board was not the Traditional!!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panelling

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