Untreated Wood OK in Bathroom?
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Melanie in California on the line with a decorating question. What can we do for you today?
MELANIE: I have untreated knotty pine throughout the house. I would like to continue into an 8×12 bathroom with the same. Is this the best application for the bathroom or will untreated wood hold up to condensation?
LESLIE: Now, where are you seeing this? On the walls? On the ceiling?
MELANIE: Oh, well, I’d like to do the whole bathroom. Yes, walls and ceiling.
TOM: I would say, Leslie, that knotty – untreated, knotty pine is a really bad idea for a bathroom.
TOM: I actually do have a bathroom that’s got pine wainscoting but it’s completely sealed. And it goes up about halfway up the wall. I would definitely not put unfinished wood in a bathroom because it’s going to soak up the moisture. It’s going to grow mold or mildew and just is not going to look right. You can’t clean it, either. So, a bad idea for the ceiling.
That said, if you like the look of wood, there are many ceiling-tile products that do look quite a lot like wood.
MELANIE: OK. We’re limited. We’re in a small area, so we’re limited as far as hardware goes and paneling. We checked out our local hardware stores. And where’s the best place to find, oh, say, ceiling paneling and …?
LESLIE: Well, now, a clever, creative idea – which, you know, you might be able to source online and perhaps you haven’t looked at some of this in the local places to you – would be to install a laminate flooring that’s a plank that looks like a knotty pine so that we could utilize that in the same application that you’re talking about. But it’s made to withstand high-moisture situations because it’s a manufactured product and not a natural product.
MELANIE: Sure, sure.
LESLIE: And that, because it’s sold in planks, if you do have to order it online or if somebody has to order it from the vendor directly through your local stores, it ships really easily because of its packaging. And being plank size, you’re not going to have a hard time getting it in, rather than a sheet product.
MELANIE: Oh, OK. Very good. And I think that would look far better than a sheet product. We just – I think that’s why I don’t care – the wainscoting or coating, how do you pronounce that?
LESLIE: Oh, absolutely.
MELANIE: Is that …?
LESLIE: I say “wainscoting,” but I think everybody says it every way they feel like. Tomato, tomato.
MELANIE: OK. It’s just very attractive. But we need to do this complete, up the walls.
TOM: You don’t have to. You could go partially up the walls and then trim off the top edge of it.
MELANIE: Hmm. And then would – OK.
TOM: It depends on what look you’re going for. For example, Leslie, you’ve often given the suggestion that you can take an old door, turn it on its side and that could be a wainscoting.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. That works out beautifully, especially because it gives you the paneling sort of built right into the door. The only issue there is that anywhere you’ve got an electrical outlet or something that might protrude from the wall, you’re going to have to bump that out to accommodate the extra thickness of the door. Not a big deal but it’s an extra step.
MELANIE: Boy, it sure is. Oh, boy. OK. Well, thank you so much. That’s a lot to think about and I really like that plank-flooring idea. That was a thought that never even crossed my mind, so – nor my husband’s.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project.
MELANIE: Thank you so much. And thank you for taking my call.
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