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I'm renovating my 1/2 bath and decided to do a nice board and batten wainscoting on the walls. After debating on a drywall or plywood back, I have decided to go ahead and use a plywood back so it will be nice and smooth, and will allow me to nail nicely.

Question, which plywood would be ideal to be painted? My local lumber yard offered 1/2" Birch A1 around $65 a sheet, or Home Depot has Oak C-2 for $44 a sheet. Think the oak will be fine as long as it doesn't have knots? I don't want the knots to bleed so i'll hope to find a piece that doesn't have any showing on the front side.

The other option my local lumber yard offered was Medium Density 2S overlay which I think is an MDO for $65.

What is the best option? It will be painted so my only concern is that its smooth, and doesn't bleed knots.

Any tips appreciated.
 

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crosseyed & dyslexic
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I would go with the MDO as it has a nice smooth face. I know it's used in making signage, my buddy has used it in the past.
A bathroom is a fairly wet/damp environment, I would certainly do my homework.
 

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I would go with the MDO as it has a nice smooth face. I know it's used in making signage, my buddy has used it in the past.
A bathroom is a fairly wet/damp environment, I would certainly do my homework.

Thanks for the tips. It is a 1/2 bath so there will not be any shower moisture, just a toilet and sink. I've never worked with MDO, does it have that texture that frays on the ends or is it nice and clean like a thick piece of ply?
 

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Old School
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Thanks for the tips. It is a 1/2 bath so there will not be any shower moisture, just a toilet and sink. I've never worked with MDO, does it have that texture that frays on the ends or is it nice and clean like a thick piece of ply?
It should have an exterior grade plywood core, with a smooth sheet of resin face(s).






.
 

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If you are looking for a paint surface that will produce the smoothest finish, a birch ply or a MDO would work the best. MDO has a resin coating that provides a surface intended for painting of outdoor signs. Oak has large pores and would need to have a grain filler applied to produce a smooth surface.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If you are looking for a paint surface that will produce the smoothest finish, a birch ply or a MDO would work the best. MDO has a resin coating that provides a surface intended for painting of outdoor signs. Oak has large pores and would need to have a grain filler applied to produce a smooth surface.
Thanks for the tips everyone. So it is MDO or the Birch. Guess I'll check and see how the Home Depot Birch 1/2" looks if they have it locally and if decent I'll save myself about $20 a sheet difference of MDO price. If it looks crappy I'll go MDO.
 

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If you are looking for a paint surface that will produce the smoothest finish, a birch ply or a MDO would work the best. MDO has a resin coating that provides a surface intended for painting of outdoor signs. Oak has large pores and would need to have a grain filler applied to produce a smooth surface.
Went and checked out the Home Depot Birch 1/2", looked excellent! Think i'll probably be using this.
 

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Just happened to see this. I did (what I think) is a pretty nice board and batten style wainscot in my master bath. I attached a pic where you can see the style along with a vanity I built. I used MDF for the panels and poplar for the rails and styles. I affixed the mdf to the wall with construction adhesive and placed the edges on studs and nailed. I then laid the rails/styles over it to cover seams. They rails/styles were pre-assembled using pocket screws then laid over the mdf and nailed at the studs. I know some may frown on using MDF in a bathroom but primed, covered in two coats of latex, with the edges hidden it's really no problem. The MDF is also super smooth, takes paint great, and is way cheaper than plywood.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Just happened to see this. I did (what I think) is a pretty nice board and batten style wainscot in my master bath. I attached a pic where you can see the style along with a vanity I built. I used MDF for the panels and poplar for the rails and styles. I affixed the mdf to the wall with construction adhesive and placed the edges on studs and nailed. I then laid the rails/styles over it to cover seams. They rails/styles were pre-assembled using pocket screws then laid over the mdf and nailed at the studs. I know some may frown on using MDF in a bathroom but primed, covered in two coats of latex, with the edges hidden it's really no problem. The MDF is also super smooth, takes paint great, and is way cheaper than plywood.
First off, BEAUTIFUL WORK! Both on the walls and that vanity, really nice!

After lots of debating, I decided to go ahead and sheetrock the wall, and decided I'm going to then put 1/4" over it. A lot of people kept saying to put the rails and stiles directly on the sheetrock, so I figured I'd just rock it all, and am then going to put 1/4" of something on top. Home Depot had a nice piece of 1/4" Birch for around $28, so I think I might go that route. They have 1/4" MDF but i'm going to decide one and roll with it.

For your Rails and Stiles, what is the thickness, both in depth and width? I see people recommend anywhere from 3/8" up to 1" stock. I don't like when it gets too thick since I'm not using a molding on the inner sides. I'm considering somewhere in the neighborhood of 5" for the bottom rail, 4" for the top rail, and then use 3" vertical rails. Any dimensions (Thickness Depth and Width) you can share on top rail, bottom rail, stiles, and baseboard height will be helpful

For Rail and Stile stock, Home Depot has 11/16" X 4" primed MDF boards that a few tutorial DIY people on the web have used that I was considering also. The Poplar around here for 1" I think was around $1.85lf, the 11/16" MDF was about $1lf. I'm not covering a ton of ground since the bathroom is small so the cost difference won't be extreme. Is the MDF ideal since it may shrink/swell less?

I finally got all the sheetrock hung last night in there, amazing how much time a small bathroom can take when you bring it down to the studs and need to re-insulate, shim and add studs, get electrical in order, move plumbing and venting, etc. Thought I would have been done by now....lol. Should have known better, I've been doing this a solid few years.
 

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Thanks. I am really happy with how it came out and for what its worth i puzzled over the same questions. The rails and styles I did are poplar 1x4 plainer down to 1/2 inch by the yard where I order stock. I don't remember the cost but it was the cost of a 1x4 plus the cost of planing it. I didn't want to use mdf for the rails and styles due to moisture. Also I wanted to pocket screw the butt joints together to get them tight and so they wouldn't open up. I've done this style befor just nailing to the wall and getting the joints flush and without gaps is almost impossible.

The rest of the buildup is a stock half round nosing on top with a cove molding under the lip. On the bottom I laid 1x6 base board with a base cap over the lower rail leaving a reveal on the lower rail of about 2 inches.

I hope that helps. Took me 4 years to finish the bath after we did our addition but I love it. It was worth the wait.
 
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