Bespoke Bathroom Units - which wood & how to seal

2 Feb 2006
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United Kingdom
I've built a softwood frame (1300mm wide 350mm deep) in the corner of my bathroom and installed a semi-recessed basin in the worktop and a toilet next to it. I want to build a bathroom unit around the frame to hide the cistern and create a cupboard under the basin. The softwood frame is sized so I need a 500mm fixed panel behind the toilet and 2 x 350mm doors for under the basin. In addition I want to re-do two airing cupboard doors to match.

Hence a need 5 panel doors (4 to be used as doors and 1 as a fixed panel) and lots of lengths of timer which I can use to hang the doors off and then build the rest of the unit around the doors.

My initial thoughts were to get a local joiner to make the panel door frames using 3'' x 1'' and provide me with the other planed timber. 3'' x 1'' would plane down to about 70mm x 20mm I would think. The panel in each door could then be 9mm veneered mdf to match the solid wood which would result in approx 11mm depth to the panel door.

Any ideas on which wood to use to cope with the water and humidity in a bathroom? Hardwood is going to look better (at a price) but does it offer better protection to the conditions? What is the best way to seal the wood given the veneer panel needs to match the solid wood?
I dont want to use mahogany (due to the colour), European oak is much closer to the colour I'm after - would it be suitable?
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You will have a job finding European oak in veneered boards, but American White Oak will be no problem. To keep the colour light finish with a water based lacquer or acrylic varnish.

Just about finished a vanity, bath panel and loo boxing in european oak, but all solid timber, the european has a bit more character than the AWO. should have some pics early next week.

Veneered MDF should resist shrinking / cracking but perhaps the panel should be solid wood as well then. What thickness of wood have you used for the panels / frame?
At the size you are talking about there will be no problem with MDF panels, infact they can be glued in and will therefore add strength to the doors (solid timber must be left loose to expand & contract)

The ones I was talking about are not frame & panel, they are beaded T&G to match the ledged & braced doors in the house which is a 400year old cottage. But 25mm prepared will come out about 18-19mm which is fine and will suit consealed hinges (kitchen type) these will give you a bit of adjustment if you don't get it quite right. I would go for a 6mm panel an have 6mm of frame either side of panel, thats what I use when making shaker type doors out of MDF for painting

One other option is to use 12mm veneered board cut to the O/A door size and glue 6mmx70mm solid wood to it to give a frame effect then cover the edges with iron on real wood veneer. like this and this

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cheers Jason,

very smart, if mine looks half as good I'll be more than happy (you dont work in the Cheshire area do you!)

Been to a local joiner today, he suggested AWO as he has the veneer to match - he reckons 6mm will be fine in doors this size and says he glues 1 of the 4 edges in to stop rattles and leaves the rest to accomodate any movement. 2 part laquer to seal - 'duo sheen' (I think).

I'll see what is quote is tomorrow.

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