Installing mdf paneling on ceiling

Old 08-05-06, 03:21 PM
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Question Installing mdf paneling on ceiling

I had a plan to put beadboard on my kitchen ceiling. I couldn’t find the pattern I wanted, so I changed plans when I found ¼ inch mdf paneling in the right pattern. I now have many questions about how to do the installation. I need your advice.

Should I use adhesive? If so, what kind? The paneling will be going across the joists, so the nails will be 16” apart along the panel edges. Also, I intend to paint the back side for moisture protection. Will this be a problem if I use adhesive?

Can I use finishing nails from a nail gun? Is 16 gauge enough or is 15 a must? What spacing along the joists? What length nails? It’s going over new drywall. Should I try to put the nails in the grooves?

I found directions from one manufacturer that said that their mdf panels should never be butted together – at least a 1/16” gap is required. Do I need to leave this gap? How do I make it look right? Some sort of filler? These panels do not have a lap joint that would hide such a gap. Four panels will cover the room, so I would have three seams to deal with.

Thanks in advance for your help,

Old 08-05-06, 06:20 PM
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You are not going to be a happy camper. Have you thought of installing tongue and groove pine on the ceiling? It is solid, looks good, and you won't have the problems you will encounter with the MDF. And I'd check to make sure they are actually MDF rather than Masonite.
You will have to leave the gap between the panels or they will tend to warp. And you can't use a filler, or you will negate the expansion process. Yes, you use construction/panel adhesive, but a finish nailer won't do. The nails will pull out, or you will overdrive them. When I install it as wainscotting, i glue it up, and nail it on the studs at the top edge with narrow crown staples. The chair rail will cover the staples. You shouldn't have a moisture problem, so painting the back side of the mdf won't add anything to it. It may even hinder the gluing.

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