Answers to some Common Questions:
We have put together a list of the questions we get asked on a regular basis. For full instructions on how to install your panels please see our English Panelling Brochure.
However, if you are stuck on anything, please just give us a call and we can talk through the options with you to help you make your choice and assist with estimating the number of panels you need.
Unlike our Georgian reeded panelling, which is made from solid sheets of MDF, the Open Backed types literally have perforations in the shape of rectangles or squares to create the panelled look.
This will depend on four factors:
1. The condition of the walls: If the walls are uneven then they can be battened out first and then Georgian panelling applied (or the other types if you fix plasterboard or MDF to the battens first - ie dry lining). If the walls are smooth, flat and dry you can use any type of panelling direct to the surface.
2. The need to conceal services: If there are pipes or wiring to be concealed, use our Georgian panelling directly on studwork or any of the open backed types on plasterboard fitted to the studwork. Remember to allow access panels where necessary or required under building regs.
3. The proportions of the room/area and style considerations: Generally speaking, the finished room will look best if the top of the panelling run is either 1/3rd or 2/3rds of the height of the room, rather than dividing it in half. Other factors which may influence choice would include the height of fire surrounds, fitted cupboards and window sills, or the presence of existing dado rails. Style considerations would take into account the age of the property & its existing features (simple or ornate).
4. Suitability for the type of room/area:
- Georgian lends itself best to utility areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and cloakrooms - and circulation spaces such as passages, hallways, stairways and landings.
- Regency is better suited to larger spaces, where the larger pattern repeat can take advantage of the longer runs of wall.
- Victorian with its unique ability to be fitted to either dado or picture rail heights compliments spaces particularly well such as studies and offices
- Edwardian provides a slightly more contemporary feel than Victorian and works well in living rooms, dining rooms and other reception rooms.
Full instructions on how to install your panels can be found in our English Panelling Brochure.
Smooth flat and dry walls? Our Georgian panelling can be glued directly to the wall using a panel adhesive such as Gripfill or No Nails. The Open Backed panelling only requires a thin film of adhesive for its application, so that a homogenous appearance is achieved. Use of PVA - applied with a mini roller - is one very effective method, but always check the suitability of the glue being used to the wall surface to which it is being applied. Use a pin gun or panel pins to hold panelling in place, whilst the glue sets, and then remove or hammer home afterwards.
Rough walls? Fix battens to walls and then fix either Georgian direct to these or dryline with plasterboard if using open backed types. On external walls insulation can be placed between the battens to enhance the thermal performance of the wall.
Residual damp? Ensure the cause of damp has been dealt with first, and then fix as described in 3 above.
Where services are to be concealed? Construct studwork using a minimum of 50mm x 50mm timber, ensuring that all panel edges are fully supported. Fix panels to the studwork created using panel adhesive - use screws over sections that may require future inspection access.
Some types of skirtings have a flat edge, on top of which the panelling can sit, but most will need to be fitted after the panelling has been installed.
The panelling should then be taken down to either just below the skirting line or almost down to the floor - it is always a good idea to leave a small gap here, and then fit the skirting afterwards, using panel adhesive and pins.
Dado rails can be used both to finish off the top of the panelling, and also to straighten up any variations or inaccuracies in the datum line - this is done by fixing them just slightly higher than the datum and then filling. We sell three types, including rebated ones that neatly fit over the top of 9mm MDF panelling.
The panelling is ready to paint although it will benefit from a quick wipe down using fine sandpaper to take the sharpness off cut edges. It is a good idea to vacuum afterwards and especially the grooves of Georgian.
Apply a general purpose water-based primer and if there is any raising of the grain a very light sanding should make the surface smooth again. This will only tend to occur on the machined edges (or grooves in the case of the Georgian) and will be minimal owing to the high quality of the MDF we use.
When dry, apply a coat of water based eggshell paint - if the paint is thick then it can be diluted with 10% water as this will help (particularly with the grooves of the Georgian).
Then, when dry, apply a second coat of eggshell. Always use a good quality brand of paint, particularly important in bathrooms and kitchens. Little Greene Intelligent Eggshell is particularly good here as it is extra water resistant compared to other brands (it can even be used outside!)
We would advise you to consult an electrician, but, by way of guidance, power points can be re-sited on solid panelling, by using standard plasterboard boxes - subject of course to the amount of play in the existing wiring.
With open backed panelling, in most cases the sockets will fall within an open part of the panel, but otherwise relocate as the existing wiring will allow or alternatively cut the panelling to suit.
Good advance planning is the key to avoiding and minimising any difficulties. It is advisable to lay the panels against the walls to see how they coincide with socket positions, as a simple adjustment here or there - with the size of one panel - can usually reduce, or even eliminate altogether, the need to re-locate a socket.
If you are dealing with existing radiators you may find it easiest to make slits in the panels to slide down behind the radiator and around the brackets.
If you are having to batten out the wall first with the intention of fitting the radiators after panelling we would recommend extra wide battens in the vicinity of the brackets to make the job even easier.
Again, careful planning and setting out is needed prior to fitting. In the case of the Georgian panelling - due to the vertical nature and small pattern repeat of the design - this is less of an issue, although care should still be taken when deciding where to place the cuts.
Where panelling, other than Georgian, is to be fitted, plan each length of wall separately. Because the panels can be reversed, or rotated, they can be laid out from each corner of each wall of the room to see what happens where they meet in the middle. The chances are that you will end up with an overlap. This can easily be dealt with by simply cutting down one of the panels which meet in the middle of the wall in order to create one larger (or smaller) panel in the centre of the run. Again we suggest that you download a copy of our Easy Guide (click the "Request a Brochure" tab on the left) as we show some typical examples of how to set out the open backed types of panelling.
An alternative is to cut down the two panels on either end of the wall, so that all the panels in between are the same size. This will give you two identical but smaller panels, one at either end of the run, but again symmetry is maintained.
This method is also useful when dealing with very short runs of wall, of, say, a metre or less. The position of existing sockets may help to determine which of the above methods suits best.
Yes, you certainly can, although we would recommend you choose our Georgian panelling for bathrooms since it does not have any ledges upon which water could sit. We would not however recommend the use of any MDF based panelling within a shower cubicle itself. Here is a lovely feature from Ideal Home Magazine showing our panelling in a bathroom setting. See also the question above regarding painting panelling.
Exact quantities of panelling will depend on the actual dimensions of the rooms to be fitted, the number and size of openings, as well as the presence of projections such as chimney breasts etc..
However, If you are just running a single row of panels (eg Georgian Tall) we suggest adding up the total number of linear metres you are covering and dividing that by the width of the panel. So to do a 10m run with Georgian Tall, for example, it would be 10 divided by 0.6 which would work out at 17 panels.
If you intend to cover most or all of a wall with panelling such as Short Victorian or Jacobean it is probably easier to work out the area in square metres and divide that figure by the area of the panel you are using (eg Short Victorian = 0.48 sqm).
We recommend allowing a wastage factor of about 5% for all designs. This will also assist with the setting out. Contact us if you need any advice on quantities.
This will naturally vary from case to case, and particularly, where chimney breasts and other architectural features exist, more framing strips will be required. As a rule of thumb allow around 10% extra for cutting/wastage and to give you more flexibility when working out how best to set out the panels. Conversely openings, e.g doorways, and large expanses of flat wall will tend to reduce the amount of wastage you need to allow for. It is a good idea to do a very simple working drawing prior to ordering, just as you would when measuring up for tiling in kitchens or bathrooms. Remember we are just an email or phone call away if you need a hand working out quantities!
If you want your panelling to go up to a picture rail, or even full height to a cornice or ceiling itself, this is possible with our Short Victorian panelling or our Jacobean panelling. These products differ from all the others in as much that the sheets are open on two sides - in effect an 'F' shape - thereby allowing the sheets to be applied both vertically and horizontally as required. Ideal for studies and offices. This look can create an impressive effect in larger hallways and passages.
Our Georgian panelling can now also be ordered as full size sheets in either the Wide or Standard Joint. These panels measure 1220mm wide x 2440mm high with the grooves running parallel to the long sides.
These are simply the'missing pieces' from our various panel designs (in the example shown, the left hand vertical edge of Victorian). Normally, of course, each panel uses the next one as its edge, but if the run terminates before reaching a corner, one extra framing strip will be needed to complete the panel. Short Victorian, because it is capable of being used vertically and horizontally, will need framing along its bottom edge as well as the leading one. Georgian, on the other hand, needs no framing strips.
In most cases, with the exception of Short Victorian and our new Jacobean, you may not need any framing strips at all. If the panelling on each run of wall is set out from the two corners of that wall, (or from a door, window edge or wall corner) and worked back towards the middle of the run then all that is required will be a cut. (see "How do I set out my panelling..." above).
However a few framing strips may come in handy to make up gaps where cutting is not desirable. When using Short Victorian or Jacobean some framing strips will always be needed for the bottom starting rail of the run. If you are going higher with this type of panelling, you will still only need the framing strips for the first (lowest) row of panels.
There may be instances where the use of a shelf may be a useful substitute for a dado rail. If the panelling is being boxed out for services then this will probably always be the case, as the shelf acts as an ideal 'lid' to close off the top of the framework - see first image. However, even where the panelling is applied directly to the wall or on battens, a shelf can be made using simple brackets to support it at suitable intervals - as in the second image below.
MDF is a wood composite material, primarily softwood, bonded with a synthetic resin, which is usually formaldehyde-based. Although it has been commercially available since the 1960s, its use has become significant only in the last decade or so.
The atmosphere created by machining MDF contains a mixture of wood dust (typically 85-100% softwood for MDF manufactured in Great Britain), free formaldehyde, dust particles onto which formaldehyde is absorbed and, potentially, the resin binder itself and its derivatives.
Following extensive tests, the Working Group on the Assessment of Toxic Chemicals (WATCH) found there to be no evidence that the ill-health effects - associated with exposure arising from the machining of MDF - are any different from those associated with similar exposure arising from machining other forms of wood.
The 'machining' process, therefore, is the only time that MDF poses any kind of health risk. The reality is that once the MDF is cut and finished with sealant or paint, it is no more harmful than a tomato (weight for weight, MDF and tomatoes have the same percentage of formaldehyde content).
Ensure good ventilation and use a good quality dust mask whenever cutting MDF. Ideally do all your cutting outside - this also has the added benefit that there is less clearing up afterwards.
Please note that we only use the finest MDF available - normally this is the Medite brand made in Southern Ireland - the moisture resistant variant is the best of its type available on the market. It is easier to paint than standard MDF, because it is less absorbent.