For 2 hrs this evening I cut out the upper.and lower strips for this room, and installed them. A few trips back and forth to the workshop to rip the strips. The some measuring, and more measuring and cutting. Then finding the studs, marking them and using the 18 gauge brad nailer with 2-1/2 inch nails to secure the 3/4 MDF through the 1/2 inch drywall and into the studs. For the most part it went smoothly.
One thing to keep in mind that if you have someone load your MDF sheets for you, make sure you tell them to ensure all of the MDF you are getting is the same thickness. I started off with an 8ft strip on that long wall and needed another 24 inches. I cruised along, measuring, cutting and installing the 8ft piece. Measured and cut the remaining length from another sheet and what do you know….its about 1/16 thinner. So its either throw that out and find a board of proper thickness or make do and touch up with a random orbit sander. Well the joints will have to be hit with the ROS anyway so a little more elbow grease will flatten the joint. With maybe a little help from a belt sander. 🙂
Now we have to stand back and decide what width to use for the panels. Those blocks in place on the lower strip represent where the vertical pieces will go, they are 4 inches wide. In the picture above they are separated by approximately 26 inches. The vertical space is 22-1/4 inches so its almost square. The problem I forsee is the inside trim molding comes in 8ft lengths and using a 26×22-1/4 measurement leaves a lot of wasteage unless I miter mid-way and sand the joint so that it all gets used up. The problem with that in the future it will be a guaranteed issue of fixing/filling joints that come apart as the humidity changes. Another spacing we are also considering is something more narrow as shown on the picture below, set at 16 inches wide with a 22-1/2 height, I can easily get the 4 pieces of trim needed to wrapped the inside of the panel with minimum wastage. And, when you add the 16 inch length with the 4 inch wide vertical pice, that equals 20 inches. It just so happens that the majority of the walls that will get this wainscot are all a factor of 20. It should be a simple decision.
Something that is not so simple..actually its downright scary…is the ability for a 2-1/2 inch long 18 gauge brad nail to blow out from a 3/4 inch piece of MDF.!! Always wear eye protection! I’m just lucky that this nail decided to grab just enough MDF to stay in place. At the curved path it was on, it would have headed right for my face.
I repositioned the nailer and took the picture below to give you an idea of the position the gun was in. It was a straight in shot. I could see that if the nailer was on a 45 degree angle or something similar that an accident like this could occur. This one surprised me for sure and it also left a big hole after the nail was pulled out.