DIY Bathroom furniture - veneered MR MDF or WBP suitable?

24 Sep 2004
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United Kingdom
I will shortly be building some bathroom furniture to house a concealed cistern and semi-recessed sink. The finished unit will be approx 300mm deep and fitted into a recess approx 1450mm wide. I have a good idea of what I want to achieve. However, I'm not so sure of the best materials to use and which finishes to apply.

Basically my current plan is to use 19mm Zebrano veneered moisture resistant MDF for the furniture panels and cupboard door and 18mm wbp ply for the plinth and undersink cupboard carcass. The plinth would be tiled to match the floor and the internal facings and edges of the cupboard carcass would be veneered in Zebrano. My only reason for using WBP and veneering is that I have the WBP and it saves buying another expensive sheet of pre-veneered MR MDF.

I'm undecided as what to use for the counter top of the unit as I'm of the opinion that any veneered material around a sink is unlikely to last (am I right?). With this in mind it's likely the top will be tiled in limestone to match the walls.

Given this is being fitted in a bathroom are my choices of materials suitable and if so what is the best way to seal/finish them?

Your thoughts greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Material wise it will be OK with the moisture in the room. My only reservation would be using the WBP for the carcases as this type of ply from a builders merchants/general timber supplier dies not always have the best surface. If yours is acceptable then OK if not then I would go with Latvian Birch Ply which is WBP bonded but a much better quality ply both structurally and looks wise.

As far as finishing goes then a waterbourne lacquer will be hard wearing, give a good level of water resistance and is something that can be applied by hand. Coat both sides of all panels.

For the top, I often get stone cut to suit, but you could tile a ply top that is edged in a strip of solid zebrano. Solid zebrano is another option but unless you have the machines you will have to pay quite a bit to get it machined and glued up.

It is also possible to buy MFC (melamine faced chipboard) with a zebrano "grain" and matching laminate to make the worktops, these would not need any further finishing.

Hi Jason, thanks for your reply, much appreciated.

I had considered a solid zebrano top and the place where I'm intending on buying the veneered mdf (SL Hardwoods) can make one up for me but I get the feeling it isn't going to be cheap! Tiled with a solid zebrano edge looks likely.

Sorry to ask but why it is necessary to coat both sides of the boards in lacquer. Is it to balance the board or is it to guard against moisture ingress?

Also, can you recommend a particular brand of waterborne lacquer?

Thanks once again.
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If you only coat one side moisture can enter the other making it swell which will cup/warp the board.

Dulux Diamond Glaze (from a trade center, they will sell to public though) or Screwfixes Aqualac will be OK.


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