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Old 09-14-2010, 05:30 AM   #1
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paneling shower with cedar/redwood

I am thinking of paneling my center bath shower enclosure on my 1975 airstream with narrow cedar or redwood boards glued to the walls and urethaned. I'm wondering if anyone else has tried this?
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Old 09-14-2010, 07:04 AM   #2
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There is a small pict of this in the Airstream Living book page 101. Sorry dont know how to attach here.
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Old 01-07-2011, 11:37 AM   #3
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This might work for a low-use application like an RV, but I've seen it done in houses here and it is hard to make it not look funky- it takes maintenance. I would almost suggest using cedar and oiling it, get a good cedar and let it gray out. The oil will be much easier to keep up on than a urethane finish- if the finish fails and water gets behind it, its a mess to correct and will never look right. I tell clients when working with natural materials, work WITH it, it will do things you can't fight. It could be a nice, warm look with the wood. BTW, my whole house is sided with cedar boards inside just not the showers.
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Old 01-07-2011, 11:38 AM   #4
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I wrote oil, but I was thinking more of a thin penetrating oil sealer.
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Old 01-07-2011, 11:46 AM   #5
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I'm with Globie. A hard finish on a soft wood is asking for trouble and making repairs to that finish is nearly impossible.
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Old 01-07-2011, 11:52 AM   #6
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My house is all cedar outside. It does have drying out and cracking issues.We keep it well preserved.
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Old 01-07-2011, 11:55 AM   #7
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Stay away from the urethane for sure for the above mentioned reasons. My preference is Waterlox brand of a tung oil blend for anything that I care about. It is on the hickory floors in the house, I use it on the wood canoes, entry doors, furniture and harps that I build. Durable and easy to repair when needed.
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Old 01-07-2011, 12:58 PM   #8
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I love the look of natural wood as much or more than anyone, but you may be asking a lot from it in this application.

you'll probably want to use material with a thin and plain tongue and groove pattern, in no less than a "clear, all heart" grade.

I think that I'd try to configure some sort of horizontal batten arrangement to attach the boards to at the top, middle, and bottom, keeping a small airspace, a "rainscreen", behind the boards. (water drainage still needed through the middle + bottom. hmm, have to think about that detail?)

given the wet / dry, expansion / contraction of the wood, you probably want to try to use only one fastener (stainless steel nail ?) per board at each of those three points.

given your "wet" use, I think I'd put no finish on it at all. that way, you can still clean and brighten it periodically with a little oxalic acid ("wood bleach") when it darkens.


that said, I would also defer to the technical experts at the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association and the California Redwood Association


if you do choose to use some sort of coating, apply many coats (at least three, maybe five or six, depending) on all six sides of the wood before hanging your paneling.

marine grade product, not merely residential exterior product would likely perform much better....

you might like to look up "Sikkens Cetol Marine" products, or Deks Olje D1 and D2 at OWATROL MARINE - Deks Olje


best,
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Old 01-07-2011, 01:51 PM   #9
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Both sides have to be finished. To prevent warping. I would use polyurethane. I have done kitchen counters and bathroom vanities with good success. But I have never done a shower. No problem to wipe down a counter top, but I dont know about showers. Sal.
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Old 01-07-2011, 01:55 PM   #10
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As jm2 mentioned, you'll need an air space (google rainscreen system) behind the wood for water and condensate to escape, otherwise you'll have a wet condition leading to mold and rotting wood inside your trailer. I second the notion of not treating the cedar with any finish. Let the cedar breathe naturally. As it develops a patina, you may decide you like that look. If not, you can easily clean it up, as suggested above.
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:05 PM   #11
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Cedar & redwood are rot resistant and not rot proof. My approach would be to use a penetrating oil finish and not one that forms a coat on the surface*. And even an oil finish doesn't penetrate to the core. This application would mean that the wood cores would be damp all season long (more critically, these are the warm months). Like any of us with cedar decks, you will see rot some years down the road. Proceed with gusto if, 1. you have a spare shower to reinstall after rot happens, or, 2. you're 72 years old and only will be using this for a dozen years before digging a pit and being buried in your Corvette Excella II.

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* Encapsulation inside a finish has comparisons to epoxy coating in boatbuilding. The epoxy capsule will fail somewhere and allow water inside the wood -- where it can never dry out and will rot all the quicker. This can succeed if one has a trailered daysailer that can dry out between uses. Like an old wooden barrel, you're better going old fashioned if the boat (shower in this case) will be staying wet -- acknowledge that it is going to stay wet. Be prepared for some expansion/swelling.

Long as we're talking boats and rot resistance -- how about hackmatack?

Built my wife some nice window boxes out of heart redwood once upon a. Poured the potting soil in. Looked great but they started falling apart at about the 8 year point. Not many woods work well if wet constantly -- even worse if in soil contact.
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:10 PM   #12
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I like the idea of a spacer that Cameron is seconding.

Hackmatack = tamarack = larch

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Old 01-07-2011, 04:47 PM   #13
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Off topic alert! Tamarack was used as the foundation logs for log homes built by settlers and Metis in Saskatchewan. The wood was most resistant to rot. Some of the cabins I studied, which were over 100 years old, still had good, solid foundations, while the other logs were starting to show deterioration. In a past life, before getting into Architecture, I was in Anthropology, so that sort of stuff fascinates me.
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Old 01-07-2011, 05:00 PM   #14
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Been a woodworker for a long time. Built some boats. My suggestion is to just do not do it. Works great in a Sauna. Works great for water tanks that stay wet. Lousy for repeated wetting and drying. Seems like it will get slimy and moldy.
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