Convert indoor armoire to outdoor entertainment center

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Old 04-14-16, 08:07 PM
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Convert indoor armoire to outdoor entertainment center

Hello All,

I wish to embark on a project to convert a pocket door armoire into an entertainment center that can survive the elements.

Goals

- unit will house a tv, cable box, and soundbar year round

- bottom drawers or doors will be used for deck or grill storage (charcoal, utensils, etc)

- unit will be decorated in a way that will allow me to weatherproof so not much moisture penetrates

Facts

- unit will be outside unprotected from sun, temperature, and moisture.

- unit is made out of wood

- unit is not yet purchased. I am eying several on craigs

Million dollar question

How can I weatherproof this unit and decorate it at the same time to flow with the brown deck and cream house siding?

My ideas

- use vinyl siding
- find plastic sheeting that ia decorative
- consider metal sheeting
- paint
- epoxy

That is about as far as I have made it in my project.

Please feel free to express your ideas and opinions!
 
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Old 04-14-16, 08:22 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Just off the cuff here...... you are not going to be able to buy an indoor cabinet and be able to waterproof it for outside use. You'll need to start from scratch or purchase something built for outdoor use.

A link to what you are thinking of or a picture would be useful.
 
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Old 04-14-16, 08:35 PM
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Why couldn't I use an indoor unit? I realize that 100% waterproof is unrealistic so I can accept the fact that i may have to replace the unit every few years.

But my thought process is if a wood framed house can be weatherproofed, why couldn't a wooden armoire?

Here is a cheap example of an armoire I am considering. It's a whopping $65 :-)

Oak Entertainment Armoire
 
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Old 04-15-16, 05:59 AM
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Indoor furniture is usually not made of materials that withstand moisture so right off the bat you'll have to be extra vigilant to find the right piece of furniture. Worst are particle and chip boards and veneer finishes. Notice that I did not say rain. Moisture in the form of humidity can also destroy furniture albeit not as quickly. If you find something made completely out of real, unprocessed wood you've got a chance of getting it to last. Unfortunately almost anything new and affordable has chip or particle board or is made of lighter weight soft woods. Old furniture is probably your best bet. The front "pretty" part of furniture often is made from real wood. Areas that often contain chip and particle board or masonite are the back and drawer bottoms so you'll have to inspect the piece carefully before buying.

I spend a lot of time in Costa Rica. Because of the climate there is no need for heat or AC so most homes are very open and don't even have windows that close. So, while everything inside is protected from rain it is exposed to the varying humidity levels. Furniture made completely of real, unprocessed wood survives well and those made from local rot and insect resistant woods can do very well. Anything with particle or chip board, masonite or has a veneer applied soon starts to swell and come apart. People have tried many different finishes like paints, varnishes, stains, sealers and epoxies and nothing really works. There is always an edge that doesn't get sealed or a scratch or pinholes that lets moisture in, swelling the wood and begins it's demise.
 
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Old 04-15-16, 06:36 AM
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Understood.

Let me add in this late clarification (my apologies for not including this to begin with).

I do not wish to preserve the look of the cabinet, only the functionality.

Think about this concept: wrapping or vapor barriering (prob not a word) a house prior to adding siding.

Why couldn't this work?
 
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Old 04-15-16, 06:49 AM
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Location

What is your location? What are your average climate conditions?
 
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Old 04-15-16, 07:06 AM
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Knoxville TN

We get snow a couple times a year
 
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Old 04-15-16, 07:15 AM
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Sounds like a lot of work for little gain.

Why not just buy something meant to be outside in the first place?
 
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Old 04-15-16, 07:29 AM
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Well that wouldn't be very DIY'ish would it?!

Believe me, we have looked. I keep finding very narrow outdoor storage cabinets and they don't look very good.

At least if I had a project, I could decorate to flow with the deck and house
 
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Old 04-15-16, 12:36 PM
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Best would be to build from scratch using marine grade plywood if you want DIY. Second best and cheaper exterior grade plywood.

Cabinets for inside use if cheap will be particle board which soaks up moisture like a sponge and crumbles. Good quality will be cabinet grade plywood. It is not water resistant. I have had left over scraps of it in my van that separated just from humidity after a few months.
 
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Old 04-15-16, 01:08 PM
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The unit I am considering is solid oak, not plywood/particle board.

I am going to look into wrapping the entire exterior in a vapor barrier type material. After that I will consider doing similar for the inside.

I am looking for ideas in plastic sheeting I can put on top of the barrier. I have found pvc wall panels but prefer sheet that I can cut to size.

Anyone know of cheap plastic sheeting I can use?
 
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Old 04-15-16, 01:46 PM
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I just found something at HD called "Sanitary Wall Paneling". 4X8 sheets for $20!

I am going to look around to see if I can find a different color than white although I am being told that it can be painted.
 
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Old 04-15-16, 02:31 PM
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FRP can be ordered in colors but why you would spend big bucks for oak and cover with FRP is puzzling.

Since your okay with a plastic look have you considered a shallow Rubemaid storage shed. You can get them only two feet deep.

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https://www.google.com/search?as_st=...VFkXK24ORLM%3A
 
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Old 04-15-16, 03:23 PM
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I would be spending $90 on the solid oak armoire. The Rubbermaid cabinet below starts at $350 ( model h1229 ).

I get the feeling that everyone thinks I am crazy! I do appreciate everyone's honest response. I was almost talked off the cliff with the Rubbermaid unit but the price is too high.

Why wouldn't the unit hold up better with my proposed solution? Heck, I am basically encapsulating the wood.
 
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Old 04-15-16, 04:39 PM
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Decades ago before treated T&G 1x4s my dad got tired of replacing rotten porch boards so he applied two coats of fiberglass resin* to the boards before installing. I can't comment on cost but I think that would be easier and might give more protection then glued on FRP. You might even be able to find resin clear enough to let the oak finish show through.

*Just resin, no cloth.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 04-15-16 at 04:55 PM.
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Old 04-15-16, 05:43 PM
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So I can paint, resin, and the ousted should be fine? I only plan on putting a small roof above the armoire so water doesn't penetrate from top down. But with the setup you proposed, the unit should be able to withstand rain sun snow and etc?

How about the inside?
 
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Old 04-15-16, 06:08 PM
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But with the setup you proposed, the unit should be able to withstand rain sun snow and etc?
Only time will tell. I can only guess. You will have to monitor it and take further action if needed.
How about the inside?
I'd do the inside too. It isn't just rain but moisture in the air.
 
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