For a simple and yet rewarding weekend project, let us take a look at how you can decorate walls with the use of wall panels. Some perseverance will be needed but if you have it, you can nail strips during Saturdays and have Sundays available for painting and sanding. Make sure that you have basic hand tools, a good power miter saw, a circular saw, finish nailer and sanders.
You will want to use MDF, which means medium density fiberboard. It is a wood product that is pressed and that is better than solid wood. You will love the fact that it is not expensive and that the smooth surface you find does have the appearance of fresh painted wood. All MDF pieces will be straight, making installation simpler than you initially imagined. The only problem with MDF is that it is heavy. You may need some help. Regular sheets are 4X8 feet. Check out what home center cuts MDF sheets in smaller pieces so that you can use them.
The first step of this project is to make a mock-up on your wall. Use putty knife so that the drywall is not damaged. 4 inch wide strips with masking paper can be used to simulate MDF strips. Strips should first be put at bottom, top and sides. Vertical strips go along doors and windows. Horizontal strips should be lined up above windows doors and make sure that a horizontal strip will be added under your windows. Remaining spaces have to be divided in a way that would create a grid that is attractive.
Based on the measurements you get from the mock-up, you have to cut MDF strips. That is not at all difficult to do. Remember that the dust you get from cutting MDF is really fine and is going to cover absolutely everything. You will need to cover furniture, doors and windows before you start cutting or you could cut in a remote location. You will rip strips and then, you want to sand edges. That removes the saw marks. Also, do prepaint edges since that will help you out a lot in making the end paint job simpler.
Locate studs. Find baseboard nail holes or drywall screws to indentify the location of the studs. Cut the MDF rails and stiles. The rest of the stiles positions will be determined by dividing all space that remains in an even manner based on the original layout you created before.
After all stiles are in the proper location and you add the bottom and top rails, the other rails have to be filled in. That is not at all difficult to do and you will quickly figure out exactly what steps have to be taken.
Make sure that you fill nail holes and the imperfections with the use of spackling compound. Allow it to dry and then sand everything smooth. 2 spackilng coats are sometimes necessary for the nail holes. As these intersect, sand MDF strips and use orbital sanders. You have to caulk your cracks where you have MDF meeting ceiling and wall sides. MDF face painting is the last thing that you will do.
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