"The beauty of the finished product – coupled with the ease of installation – made me a convert. It also made our first MDF customer very happy." Ron Hazelton, DIY Expert and TV Personality gives his thoughts on comparing real wood ceiling planks vs. pre-finished MDF.
Who doesn’t love the natural beauty of solid wood? There’s just something about its whorls and knots, the pattern of the grain and the color variations that make it universally appealing. But after having the chance to work with WOODHAVEN pre-finished ceiling planks, I’ve discovered, to my own surprise, that I’m becoming a fan of MDF.
Recently, I worked with a homeowner who had started a home remodeling project, which included the kitchen. She wanted a wood ceiling to help create a “beachy” vibe. After doing some research, we recommended WOODHAVEN ceiling planks.
The planks’ beveled tongue and groove edges help to minimize any appearance of gaps, and their staggered installation keeps waste to a minimum. The best part is they snap right into the EASY UP track and clip system for an easy install. Unlike MDF planks, some real wood planks do not have the tongue and groove feature, and if they do, imperfections in the wood might leave gaps that need to be filled with caulk.
The composite ceilings have a strong structure, allowing them to be cut and drilled smoothly. Under certain conditions, MDF may perform better than solid wood, too. Solid wood tends to warp or crack when exposed to changes in humidity or temperature because of its inherent structure. This also makes some WOODHAVEN planks a great option for walls too!
But the composition and heat treatment keep the fibers in MDF evenly distributed. Although MDF can still warp sometimes, it is generally more stable and less likely to expand and contract in heat and humidity than solid wood ceiling planks.
One thing my crew and I appreciated with the WOODHAVEN product was the steps it saved us during installation – a big plus for DIYers as well. With completely pre-finished wood ceiling planks, there was no need to sand, stain or seal – it is truly an out-of-the box solution.
Compare that to the multiple priming, sanding and varnishing steps for a raw wood ceiling, or to the many priming and painting steps required for a drywall ceiling. Once the MDF planks are up, the project is done.
For DIYers, MDF planks are an option that requires few tools, goes up quickly – usually a weekend will do it – and doesn’t require finishing. Using MDF to cover up stained or damaged drywall, plaster or popcorn ceilings is a practical alternative to repair or replacement, too.
Ron Hazelton is a leading authority in the do-it-yourself home improvement field, Ron is the host of his own home improvement series, Ron Hazelton's HouseCalls, now in its twentieth season. He also provides DIY home improvement videos at www.ronhazelton.com