How To Cut Mdf Panels
When choosing a method of attaching MDF to a crate, you will first have to make a strong frame from a metal profile or wooden beams. At the same time, it is worth paying attention to the fact that the wooden structure requires preliminary impregnation with antiseptic solutions, which will protect it from rotting and mold. If you plan to lay thermal insulation, then the thickness of the beams is chosen according to the thickness of the insulating material. It is not recommended to use a wooden frame for cladding brick walls and rooms with high humidity.
So that wooden beams do not deform during installation, it is worth choosing a well-dried tree. The structure is fixed perpendicular to the direction of installation of the panels, leaving a small margin of 5 cm from the floor and 3 cm from the ceiling. First of all, the vertical elements are fixed, which are located at the edges of the recesses, in the corners and next to the openings. The planks should be 700 mm apart from each other. For fastening the structure, self-tapping screws or nails with a diameter of 4 to 6 mm are usually used.
The CD profile is inserted into the rack and everything is fixed to the wall with self-tapping screws. Metal profiles can be cut with a special circular saw. If the ceiling is finished with panels, then the frame must be assembled only from horizontal elements, using additional fasteners.
Calculation of the amount of material
The installation of MDF, like any other material, must be started with a preliminary calculation of the number of panels. For this, first of all, the area of the room is determined: all the necessary measurements are made, and the perimeter is multiplied by the height. It is also important to consider the presence of doors and windows in the room. Their squaring is calculated in the same way, multiplying the height by the width, the result obtained is subtracted from the total area of the room.
Then, knowing all the numbers, you can go shopping for wall panels. Since the products are sold in different sizes, you will have to additionally calculate how many square meters are in each plate. Usually manufacturers write this on packs. If, for example, a panel with a width of 900 mm and a length of 2600 mm is purchased, then it is enough to multiply 2600 mm by 900 mm. As a result, it turns out that in one slab 2.34 m2. Then the area of the room, which is planned for the cladding, you just need to divide by 2.34 m2, and you get the right number of panels.
Execution of works
Due to their performance and aesthetic appearance, MDF panels are widely used in finishing works. Wall panels can not only decorate the ceilings of a corridor, a passer-by, but also original sheathing of a doorway or window slopes. Furniture fittings and wall corners are also easily made from the material at home. Since the product is easy to install, it is quite possible to do all the work with your own hands. Before fixing MDF, you should prepare the surface for finishing, cleaning it from the old coating and eliminating all defects.
For additional thermal insulation of window slopes, walls and a doorway, it is recommended to lay an insulating material, it will not only serve as a good insulation, but also cope with the task of steam and waterproofing.
To install panels on slopes, they can be fixed along or across, it all depends on the size of the slope. This finish looks original, made from a combination of light and dark pieces of slabs. Installation of panels on walls and ceilings is carried out both on glue and on a pre-assembled frame. To do this, first, the starting profile is attached, and then the guides, along the length of which you need to correctly join the decorative parts. To make a beautiful corner, before installation, you should trim the material, rounding its edges.
It is recommended to saw or cut panels using special tools for working with wood. A jigsaw is considered the best option for this, but if it is not at hand, then a saw with fine teeth will do. Having decided on the direction of MDF sheathing, the panels are measured and cut to the required length. In this case, at the first plate it is necessary to cut a spike along the entire length, if this is not done, then difficulties will arise when installing the corners.
An important point before starting MDF sheathing is the preparation of the tool. Since the installation of wall panels is not particularly difficult, it is quite possible to do it yourself, without the help of specialists.
To do the job quickly and efficiently, you need to have a basic set of tools at hand.
Before sheathe MDF walls, you need to determine how to fix them. You can install decorative panels with glue or on the crate. Each of these methods is characterized by its own installation technology.
Before choosing, you should evaluate the condition of the surface, taking into account some of the nuances.
- Boards are produced from wood fibers, so the material must be protected from contact with bases damaged by mold. Installation on walls in rooms with high humidity is not recommended either. In addition, the panels must be mounted on a flat base.
- In the event that the walls are well cleaned of old finishes, dry, then MDF can be installed on them with glue or liquid nails without assembling the lathing. This will simplify the fasteners, but exclude the possibility of replacing individual plates if they are mechanically damaged.
Installation of wall blocks on the frame is as follows: guides are attached to the surface, serving as the basis for installation, then MDF is fixed to a metal profile or bar.
This technique has many advantages.
- The lathing hides the defects of the base, so the walls do not need to be level and leveled. This, in turn, significantly saves time and money.
- The formed "void" between the cladding will serve as an ideal place for laying important communication systems and laying a thermal insulation layer. In addition, additional sound insulation is created, which is especially important for apartments in which inter-wall partitions have poor sound absorption.
- The ability to quickly repair the finish if individual panels have been damaged.
In contrast to the previous technique, the gluing does not have significant drawbacks. MDF boards are attached directly to the wall, in this case glue serves as a connecting element. To fix the panels to each other additionally, clamps are also used. Thanks to this finishing option, the area of the room does not decrease, the installation is carried out quickly, without damaging the material with screws or nails. But if the surface of the cladding is damaged during operation, then not one fragment of the finish will have to be restored, but the entire wall.
When deciding on the choice of this or that method, it is worth considering not only the features of the room, but also to calculate the cost of the cladding. For example, in some cases, it is much more economical to putty the walls, and not to erect the frame. For large rooms, of course, it is best to install a crate, since it will be problematic to perfectly align their walls.
After the frame structure is ready, the paneling is started. MDF slabs are fixed to each other using a tongue-and-groove lock, consisting of a recess and a ridge. The parts are attached to the wooden crate with small nails, they are hammered obliquely with a hammer. To install the material on the metal profile, clamps are used, they are placed in the groove of the plate and fixed with self-tapping screws.
When installed vertically, MDF begins to be fixed from the corner, smoothly redirecting to the left. The first plate is fixed to the timber with nails, and from the side of the groove, fixation is carried out with clamps. Then the ridge of the next plate is placed in the groove of the first. The last panel should be cut to length, leaving a small margin of 5 mm, and its ridge should be cut in half. It must be inserted into the groove of the previous panel and fix the free edge.
On a metal profile
In order to install the panel on a metal profile, you will need the following consumables:
- SD profile (3m) for racks;
- UD profile (3mm), guide;
- Straight suspension;
- Additional strips and corners for joints;
- Corrugation (self-extinguishing) for electrical wiring.
Walls under MDF do not require special preparation, unless, if necessary, additionally insulate them.
The position of sheets (type-setting plates, rails) on the wall is determined.
The wall is marked using a level, self-tapping screws and a nylon thread for UD profile guides. Areas of open wiring are removed into the corrugation.
A frame is being built from a metal profile under MDF:
- UD profile is fixed with dowels to the ceiling and floor (wide side to the surface);
- Suspension under the LED profiles are fixed on the walls with a “quick installation” fastener;
- SD profiles are attached to the ends of the UD profile of the floor and ceiling; fixed in suspensions with a step of 60 cm; the vertical of the position is verified with a plumb line;
- Additional horizontal profiles are installed using crab joints on vertical posts in places of possible impacts: 60-70 cm from the floor, and between them.
Installation of MDF panels on the frame using clamps and small screws, in the sequence: panel, groove at the end, fastening with screws to the profile. Places of corner joints are closed with additional PVC parts.
The first panel is additionally fastened with self-tapping screws in places that will be hidden at the end of the work: to the floor (under the plinth), and to the ceiling (under the decorative cover).
This is a good example of how you can decorate a wall with mdf panels with your own hands.
On a wooden crate
On a wooden lathing made of slats with a section of 20×40 mm, the panels are fastened along horizontal logs using tongue-and-groove locks. Why hammer small nails into the corner of the lock groove. For the accuracy of the work, a metal firing pin is used, which allows you to hammer a carnation to the very head.
Types of material
According to the density of the face layer, fiberboard is differentiated by marking:
- LDF from 200 to 600kg / m³;
- HDF. over 800 kg / m³.
According to the regulations of the standard:
- General purpose (MDF);
- Moisture resistant (MDF.H);
- Structural (MDF.LA).
By the type of front surface, plates are distinguished:
- Embossed (milled);
By covering possibilities:
- Rack (type-setting). from 150 mm wide, up to 3700 mm long;
- Tiled (type-setting). within: 30×30 and 98×98 cm;
- Sheet. 122×244 cm.
By finishing method:
- Laminated. pasted over with a polyvinyl chloride film (plain, with a pattern, glossy, matte, imitating natural materials);
- Veneered. with a top layer of valuable wood veneer;
- Painted. coated with paints and enamels (pouring method), creating an elastic layer, using the printing method.
In addition to synthetic film, paper-based films and paper laminates are used for finishing boards.
The film coating is not afraid of cleaning agents, resistant to mechanical stress, shows resistance to direct sunlight, but raises the cost of the material.
Advantages and disadvantages
The raw materials used for the production of MDF panels give them the properties of natural wood, and even surpass in mechanical properties.
MDF panels, like any material, have their pros and cons.
The obvious advantages of MDF:
- Moisture resistance.
- Frost resistance.
- Uniform structure.
- Large selection of decorative finishes.
- Imitation of expensive natural materials.
- Long-term preservation of product geometry.
- Ease of installation.
- Fragmented repair availability.
- Convenient transportation.
- Relatively long service life.
- Sound insulation properties.
- Environmental Safety.
- Dead weight.
- Unsuitable for fastening with nails.
- Waste from processing in the form of dust.
- Vulnerability to open fire.
- Swelling in high humidity.
- Susceptibility to deformation under mechanical stress (impact, fall).
When traditional natural materials begin to dry up, as happened with wood, there is a natural desire to minimize waste and even use production waste.
So there were analogues of wooden boards based on sawdust and shavings. chipboard and fiberboard. From the "Mason’s cannon", a fiberboard was produced, which later received the name. MDF.
Plates launched in the USA in the second half of the 20th century. In our country, it entered the line of building materials only after 30 years. But most of all, China has succeeded in its production.
Reference: For the manufacture of MDF under production conditions, two methods were used: "wet" (similar to the technology for producing cardboard) and more modern. "dry".
Do-it-yourself methods for attaching wall MDF panels
The most common method of leveling and simultaneously decorating walls is to sheathe them with MDF plates.
Wall plates can be fixed to the wall in two ways:
- By frame technology (to a metal profile or to a wooden lathing);
- Glue mounting (liquid nails).
How to cut?
During the installation process, situations occur when building materials need to be adjusted to the desired size. And to install the first panel, you need to cut off part of it (comb). According to experts, cutting MDF products practically does not differ from cutting wooden products.
Some difficulties can still arise during this process.
- The edge of the cut line may crumble.
- The film coating may peel off or wrinkle under the influence of tools. Especially if the quality of adhesion to the panel itself is poor.
- The glossy surface is very easy to scratch, and therefore requires special care.
For cutting with your own hands, you need to make a markup. For the calculation to be correct, you will need: a ruler, square, tape measure, level or laser level. We cut the cutting line so that it can be easily erased. In this case, the decorated side should not be below so that there are no scratches on it. We put it on a workbench, fix it securely and start cutting. To make the cut more even, you can glue it with tape, or lead the tool immediately along the pressed bar.
The main controversy concerns tools. Any tool used for this purpose in the woodworking industry can be used.
Suitable for this:
- Hand saw (both for wood and metal);
- Jigsaw (regular or electric);
- A circular saw;
In order to save time and effort, it is better to carry out a large constant volume of work with power tools. One-time work can be done manually. The main thing is that the teeth of the nozzles are small. We start from either side, we drive the saw smoothly, without jerking. Small chips and irregularities on the film can be removed with sandpaper.
MDF (fine fraction) is made from the smallest wood particles, which are formed into a board by pressing. The strength of such a connection is provided by lignin, which is released from the wood fibers as a result of high-temperature heating.
Wall panels like these have valuable characteristics that make them so popular.
- Safety. Since the particles that make up the panel are derived from wood, and no toxic chemicals are used to bind them together, such material does not pose a threat to human health.
- Practicality. Subject to all operating rules, the panels serve for a very long time. They perform a protective function and also improve sound insulation.
- Aesthetics. Different decor options can be selected in accordance with the design of the room.
- Ease of installation and maintenance. Installation does not require a radical change in the walls and is quite fast.
- Environmental friendliness. No special disposal procedures required, biodegradable.
- Profitability. affordable compared to solid wood products. Cost-free throughout the entire service life.
- Masking of building defects of walls, wires and pipes.
- Variability. A wide range of models will allow you to find the right option depending on your preferences, purpose and budget.
At the same time, if a frame is used as a base, the area of the room is reduced. Water, and sometimes even high air humidity, can stratify the internal structure of the slab. A blow to such a surface can cause serious damage, up to the appearance of a dent or destruction. Of course, such a mechanical effect on the walls is very rare, but in order to hang a shelf or cabinet on it, you will need to purchase special fasteners.
Features of wall decoration with MDF panels
- Panel types
- Scope of application
- How to cut?
- How to install?
- Beautiful examples of finishing
It’s more common to hear about a material like MDF in the furniture industry. Now, however, you can often find this material in construction, and as a decor. If the issue of finishing remains unresolved, MDF wall panels should be taken into consideration.
How to install?
There are two main ways to mount MDF wall panels:
- Apply to metal or wood frame.
In the first case, you need a glue suitable for working with wood products. They can not only glue, but also align the grooves in the places where the screws are screwed. The glue can be colored or transparent.
In the second case, a wooden crate or metal structure is applied to the wall. The advantage of wood is ease of installation, environmental friendliness and the use of fewer hardware and fittings. But wood is more expensive than metal, so this method is less affordable. Installation of a metal frame has its own difficulties. it requires a certain skill and the acquisition of special tools.
Let’s look at the process of fixing MDF wall panels to a frame base in more detail.
- The working wall needs to be prepared. Remove the baseboards and switch and socket boxes. Take care of the output of the wires for the sockets that will be located on the panels. Damaged wall trim must be cleaned off to the ground.
- The wood slats or bars you will be using must be pre-treated to make them resistant to fungus, mold or pests.
- Additionally, you need to take care of fastening the planks to the wall. For wood, you can use screws or dowel-nails.
- We start with corner vertical slats. They are placed in pairs to form an angle. Having made the markings, we drill holes in the wall for the hardware (with an average step of about 7 cm) and put plastic sockets from the screws in them.
- We apply the rail to the wall, transfer the markings to it and drill, connect to the wall.
- Horizontal parts are attached the same way.
- Door and window openings deserve special attention. The slats are fixed along their perimeter, regardless of whether they have a step mark on them or not.
- The evenness of the vertical battens and cross-members is checked using a level or plumb line. Irregularities at the joints of the rails must be sanded with a plane.
The technology of mounting a metal frame has its own characteristics.
- The process itself is similar to installing a wooden one. However, for a metal structure, CD profiles and UD rails will be needed.
- CD profiles are inserted into vertical posts (UD) and pushed to the required place.
- Then we drill holes in the wall by analogy with wooden logs. Long screws are used for fastening to the wall surface. And the profiles are connected to each other by short ones. The CD profile requires connectors (also called ears).
After installing the frame, the panels are laid.
- You should start from the corner. The panel with the sawn-off ridge is placed first, and the next one is attached to it using a lock, in which the ridge of one workpiece is aligned with the groove of the other.
- The panels are fixed with small nails (if the frame is wooden) or with clamps (if metal).
- To attach the last two panels correctly, the last one needs to make the ridge less wide. Then connect both at an angle and press on them, straightening the connection.
- The last blanks must be tightly pushed together and fixed with screws to the frame.
- The slots in the corner, as well as between the wall and the floor (ceiling) are closed with corners and decorative skirting boards (they can be glued).
To install MDF panels correctly, use the advice of professionals.
- For reliability, panels along their length must be fixed along vertical slats or profiles.
- Additionally, when installing panels on a frame, you can insulate the walls with mounting foam or sheet foam materials, and increase the level of sound insulation. They can be fixed in cells between the planks. Such sizing reduces heat exchange with the external environment and allows you to reduce the cost of maintaining heat in the room and its air conditioning.
- If pipes are hidden behind the panels. The height of the profile must be calculated based on the thickness plus the margin. It is better to place the wiring in special protective pipes, since ordinary MDF does not protect against water ingress.
- Since laminated panels are vapor-tight, they often develop mold or mildew behind them. This is also influenced by the material of the walls. Brick is moisture permeable, so a primer must be applied to it. And the gaps between the wall and the panel in the bathroom or kitchen are best treated with a sealant.
- With the adhesive installation method, the wall surface must be perfectly flat. If this is not the case, the wall panel will, of course, hide them, but there will be gaps between it and the wall.
- When distributing panels, take into account the drawing. For example, the direction of the wood grain. Perhaps alternating vertical and horizontal patterns looks creative, but in most cases it is better to choose details more carefully.
- If paneling is part of the wall, pay attention to the visible edge. It should not remain untreated, since it is from this place that deformation can begin. If the factory cover is broken, you need to take care of it yourself. Typically, the edge is made from a polymer tape material. It can be in contrast or in the color of the front part.
The main difference between the panels can be the peculiarities of their manufacture. They can be divided into several types.
Regular (also called solid-pressed) are wood fiber sheets made by dry hot pressing. The surface of the sheets is not treated with anything, but very smooth due to the fact that the fibers are very fine and tightly pressed against each other. But in color they are completely heterogeneous, inclusions of fibers of different colors are visible, since all kinds of residues after wood processing are used for their manufacture. And the shade of slabs from different batches may differ slightly. This type of panel can be processed or used as is for finishing non-residential premises.
Special. differ from the usual ones in that a higher grade of wood is used for their production, and they are pressed longer and at a higher temperature.
These include several types of panels.
- Moisture resistant. their properties are comparable to plastic, since it is in no way affected by a humid environment.
- Heat-resistant (i.E. Fire resistant). Unlike other fire-resistant materials, instead of phenols and resins, they contain paraffin and lignin, which are not toxic. These include products marked KM1 and KM2.
- Flexible. have greater flexibility for creating bent and arched structures. Can be single or double layer.
- High density (such as krones). withstand heavy loads.
Any MDF panel for wall cladding can have a coating that not only gives it a certain aesthetic appearance, but also serves to varying degrees of protection from environmental factors.
Various materials can serve as a decorative coating.
- Foil or plastic (melamine, PVC). In fact, plastic is a thicker film. A material laminated in this way can look almost anything: imitate any natural material (stone, wood), be glossy or matte, smooth or textured, plain, colored or with a pattern (pattern). The laminate can have a holographic or 3D effect.
- Veneer. a thin layer of wood, specially processed. a high-quality veneer product based on chipboard practically does not differ from an array panel. However, it is this coating that provides the least protection against moisture or scratches. Veneer can be painted in almost any wood shade and has the appropriate texture.
- Enamel or any other suitable type of paint is less durable than plastic, but if damaged, it can be restored locally or replaced with a completely new paint layer. The coating is monochromatic, but the choice of shades is huge.