Wooden Cladding in the Bathroom

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  • 216 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 100-300
What You'll Need
Wooden cladding
Stain or paint
Timber batting
Masonry screws or regular screws

A warm atmosphere in a bathroom can be created by adding wooden cladding to the walls. When properly sealed, wooden cladding is as easy to clean and maintain as tile.

Decor Styles Enhanced by Wooden Cladding

Soft pine cladding with plenty of knots and grain will add charm to the master bathroom in a country cottage or clapboard house with country décor. A contemporary home could feature a master bath with fine-grained dark walnut or oak cladding to contrast clean white fixtures. You can use wooden cladding planks horizontally or vertically on your walls for different texture effects. With careful planning, measuring, and cutting, you can attach the planks diagonally, or even create a herringbone pattern in the paneling.

Advantages of Wooden Cladding in the Bathroom

You can attach shelving, mirrors, and interior doors more easily to wooden-clad walls than to tile walls. Sealed wooden cladding resists mold and mildew that often forms on tile grout. You can sand and paint wooden cladding in the color of your choice with a water-resistant paint to create a non-reflective, subtly textured surface in your bathroom. Wooden cladding can also help insulate the bathroom, as wood absorbs and holds heat better than tile.

Disadvantages of Wooden Cladding for the Bathroom

As wood tends to expand and shrink as it absorbs moisture and then dries, wooden cladding is not suited for use in the tub and shower area of your bathroom. Wall surfaces must be prepared with timber batting to provide a narrow airspace between concrete or drywall and the wood planks.

How to Measure Your Bathroom for Wooden Cladding

Decide whether you will apply the cladding horizontally or vertically. Cladding planks are generally 3-inches wide by 8-feet long. Measure your space to determine how many planks you will need. Most often, the planks are sold in packs of 5.

Staining and Painting Wooden Cladding

Allow the wooden cladding to rest in your home for a week before installing it, so that it can warm up and dry out a bit before you hang it. Apply your chosen stain or paint to your wood panels at the end of this acclimatization. If you want to use this wall covering behind your sink or near the shower, seal it with marine varnish.

WARNING: Don't forget to check your bathroom's ventilation before you start applying stain or paint. Read the paint or stain container's safety instructions to see if you're advised to wear any safety gear while using it.

Applying Wooden Cladding

Apply timber batting to the bathroom walls. These batting planks measure 1-inch deep by 1.5-inches wide. Space the batting planks 6-inches apart, using existing wall studs behind drywall to anchor vertical batting. If your bathroom walls are solid plaster or concrete, attach the batting with masonry screws. Start at 1 edge of the room and connect the wood panels via their tongue and groove edges. Finish with a panel with a tongued edge that can be sawed off just before installing.

Finishing Wooden Cladding

Remove existing baseboards and trim to apply wooden cladding. Upon installing the cladding, you may want to replace your old baseboards with wider trim to balance the strong vertical and horizontal texture of the paneling.