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How to Use MDF Beadboard in the Bathroom

A clean and bright bathroom is the perfect way to start your morning- it makes getting ready more fun. There are many different ways to update a bathroom, but one of the most inexpensive and most effortless is MDF beadboard panels. You will love the textural look they add to a room or an otherwise dull space! But what about the humidity? Humidity is hard on wood, and it causes boards to pop up.

MDF beadboard is a great option for bathrooms, as it doesn’t absorb water or stain easily. You can use them as a backsplash in the shower, on all four walls, or as floor underlayment. They can also be used in the ceiling, shelves, vanity, and even under your sink if you have an open space below it.

Moisture Resistant (MR) MDF Beadboards are perfect for rooms with high humidity and/or the capability to get wet such as a full bathroom and or damp basement. They offer an easy way to renovate and decorate internal areas in many building types—experts design Moisture-resistant MDF panels for architectural design with interlocking sides for a smooth finish.

Applications of MDF Beadboard in the Bathroom

Moisture resistant MDF beadboard is a more durable and thicker version of standard MDF. It has an added layer of primer and paint, which makes it immune to moisture. This makes it a great option for bathrooms, as it doesn’t absorb water or stain easily.

Here are the different ways in which you can use this material in your bathroom:


You can use MDF beadboard panels on all four walls to make a room feel cozy and give it more of an authentic look. MDF is cheaper and easier to fit than tiles and less frustrating than hanging wallpaper. It’s adaptable, comes in many styles and sizes, ready to paint to match your interiors. It also adds a very sophisticated finishing touch. 

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How to Panel Your Bathroom Walls with MDF

Paneling, your bathroom walls with MDF beadboards adds warmth, depth, and character to your space. Below are some DIY ideal steps to follow;

  1. Before you get the look you want, it’s essential to plan and prepare your wall by drawing a sketch. It will help help you stay on track and know how many panels you need.
  2. Measure all your walls’ length and width to determine how many panels you will need. The number of panels you will require will determine the number of strips required for each partition, calculated by multiplying its height and width.
  3. Mark out panel dimensions on the wall. 
  4. Mark out where you want to fix your panels on the walls by drawing pencil lines between each stud or joist, if possible, 12″ apart. It will help install all of your screws directly over a stud for maximum support and stability when hanging MDF beadboard panels.
  5. Attach boards to the wall one at a time by drilling pilot holes and using machine screws to attach them securely.
  6. Fill in any gaps with joint compound and sand smooth with fine-grit sandpaper 
  7. Paint or stain your MDF beadboard panels to match the rest of the room, making sure you use an oil-based primer before applying paint for best results. If painting isn’t your thing, get creative with decorative finishes such as stencils!

TIP: You can opt for large-sized panels for smaller walls that will give your space a bold look while making it feel more open and spacious!

You can also try creating some visual interest on smaller walls with vertical paneling instead of horizontal installation; they can be a great way to add some flair.

The most crucial aspect of installing MDF Beadboard panels is making sure they fit securely and correctly so that there aren’t any future problems like sagging over time due to the weight of the boards, causing warping or bowing.

 Characteristics of Wall MDF Panels

  • Easy to install (DIY)
  • Lightweight and easy to work with
  • Durable
  • You can paint them
  • No special tools needed for installation 


A homeowner can use MDF beadboard panels on ceilings. If you’re looking for a smooth finish, consider using jointed paneling with tongue-and-groove edges that fit together to give your top an incredibly sleek look and feel! Space the joints, so the seams won’t show once you install them; it’s perfect for those who want a smooth finish without seams. 

MDF beadboard panels also make great replacements for damaged ceilings in the bathroom.

If your ceilings are low in the bathroom, use beaded wood ceiling planks instead. You can make your ceiling from MDF panels by hand if you at least have a minimum of experience in repairing and installing roofs.

Installing MDF Beadboard Panels on Your Ceiling 

  1. The first stage is the marking of the surface area and the installation of the frame; this will include the installation of box gutters.
  2. Use metal flashing tape or building paper to cover the joints where two pieces meet at corners and sides. Start by marking out widths around your walls in pencil- this is an important step! Mark places for the studs and joists. Measure the exact height of your ceiling to determine how many panels you need 
  3. Use masking or painter’s tape to mark where each panel will go on the walls, leaving about 12″ in between so there is room for screws. Drill pilot holes through all pieces before screwing them together; this way, it will be easier to screw them securely.
  4. Cut out the panels by cutting along the pencil lines- only cut the MDF beadboard using a fine-tooth blade (for example, an Olfa P-Plus knife). Use moistened sandpaper for smoothing and finishing; your ceiling will look brand new! 
  5. When you complete the ceiling marking, you can proceed with the installation of the frame. Use nails or screws to attach the bracket. It is vital that the joints are waterproofed with a good quality roofing cement and flashed with metal flashing tape, building paper, or other watertight material
  6. Attach each board to the roof rafters. Drill pilot holes and then use machine screws to attach them securely with washers, ensuring the boards sit flush over one another. 
  7. The next step is filling in any gaps between boards with a joint compound to sand-smooth once dry. 
  8. Add a primer and paint it the color of your choice. 
  9. You can use stencils for added visual flair or leave it as it is! You’ll be amazed at how much the space opens up with MDF beadboard panels on the ceiling.

If you want to make a ceiling from the MDF panels in the average size bathroom, it is best to choose reel-type workpieces. Their size varies from 2400 to 3600 mm in length; their width is 147-301 mm.

You can install them employing liquid nails or a construction stapler. The lining of the ceiling with the help of MDF boards allows you to fit the material to the required dimensions, but it’s not easy to install them independently because of their sizeable size.

Characteristics of Ceiling MDF Panels

  • Different lining and design option
  • Super easy to install (DIY) 
  • Available in a variety of sizes
  • Lightweight with no warp or twist, so it won’t sag over time despite being moisture resistant!

Bathroom Floor Underlayment

The MDF beadboard gives a smooth, consistent surface since it covers any imperfections present in the subfloor. The material is strong enough to require additional support, such as plywood, to keep it in place.

Its high density makes it resistant to wear. You can use an MDF beadboard because it adds comfort and reduces noise. The beadboard limits damage to the flooring material by disbursing the effects of repeated impact from foot traffic.

When considering MDF underlay and you’ve identified its purpose and where you want to place it, you need to look at the flooring it will be underneath. Certain flooring types are not compatible with MDF, like vinyl and other flimsy flooring materials.

TIP: It would be best if you used it as a subfloor for vinyl or linoleum tile glued to the underlayment with mastic adhesive to ensure long-term stability. 

Other floorings benefit from the advantage the MDF offers, like wood flooring. The MDF beadboard provides an even surface to rest the subfloor of your hardwood floors, which you can then install on top of it for a beautiful final product that will last years!

How to Install MDF Underlay on Bathroom Floors

  1. It’s best to install MDF beadboard underlayments when the floor is dry and free of moisture. The humidity level in a room should be below 60 percent. Everything can proceed smoothly without any issues or delays because you don’t want to risk damaging your MDF material!
  2. To install, begin by removing all base molding from the room. If you use your MDF as a subfloor, utilize construction adhesive or liquid nails to secure it in place and then apply the appropriate foam insulation from underneath so that moisture cannot seep through. 
  3. After completing this process, you can start laying down your flooring material of choice on top of the MDF beading board. 

You have three options for bonding the MDF underlay to the flooring.

  • Adhesive– MDF is absorbent, which means it can reduce the effect of glue. It contains reconstituted wood fiber, which means you can also use any adhesive that works on wood on MDF.
  • Screws– For increased stability, use screws to connect the MDF and flooring. Ensure that you drill pilot holes before inserting them into the material to be more accessible and stay put once inserted.
  • Staples– If you want to avoid using wood adhesive or screws, use staples instead. When stapling MDF, do so at least 12mm from the edges and 25mm from corners.

Once you complete the process, you should install your base molding. You can use metal or wood trim for a nice decorative touch! 

Characteristics of MDF Beadboard Bathroom Floor Underlayments

  • Creates a smooth and consistent surface 
  • High-density material 
  • Affordable
  • Capable of withstanding humidity more than wood
  • Easy to install 
  • Simple and stylish appearance, you can achieve the perfect look with a bit of paint, stain, or DIY design. 

Bathroom Vanity

Colossal or understated, modern or traditional, fancy or plain practical: with the MDF beadboard, the bathroom vanity can be anything you want it to be. It draws attention and opens up the room to feature your personality.

MDF beadboard panels are among the best materials for a bathroom vanity because they have moisture resistance, so you won’t have to worry about water damage!

Since it comes from particleboard with an exterior hardwood veneer, MDF material is easy to paint or stain to achieve your desired look.

Characteristics of Bathroom Vanity MBD Beadboards

  • Super easy to install (DIY) 
  • Moisture resistant and durable 
  • Available in a variety of sizes and thicknesses
  • Available in different colors and styles
  • Affordable- it only costs $35 for an average size bathroom vanity. You can turn your old, dull, or outdated bath into a sophisticated modern retreat!  

Bathroom Shelving

You can also utilize MDF beadboard on bathroom shelving for a rustic look without dealing with the hassle of using metal or wood shelves that can rust.

It’s also a great idea for renters who aren’t allowed to drill into the walls and want an easy way to give their bathroom shelving some style without spending too much money!

The most common installation uses liquid nails or construction adhesive and staples such as wire mesh or mesh tape, followed by interior and exterior primers.

You can create a custom look by adding your design to the beadboard, or you can use stencils for added visual flair. If you want something more natural-looking, leave them as they are! 

Characteristics of Bathroom Shelving MDF Beadboards

  • Super easy to install (DIY) 
  • Simple and stylish appearance, you can achieve the perfect look with a bit of paint, stain, or DIY design. 
  • Available in different colors 
  • Dense and  thick material that will last for years 

Types of MDF Beadboards

There are different types of MDF beadboards. They include;

  • Standard MDF– This is a smoother and lighter colored beadboard than the other types. 
  • Rustic MDF– This has an uneven texture that gives it an aged appearance that looks great! 
  • Decorative MDF is an engineered product with a smooth finish with more refined grains for added character. 
  • Moisture Resistant– MDF board is a high-density product engineered to resist moisture, making it perfect for bathrooms and other humid areas!
  • Exterior Grade MDF is engineered with greater density to resist moisture and mold, making it perfect for exterior use.
  • Fire-rated– the MDF board has been reduced to a softer consistency to meet certain areas’ performance and design requirements. Under current building codes, it will be less flammable than standard products but is not an approved fire rating!

Pros of Using MDF Beadboards in Bathrooms

  1. MDF creates a smooth and even surface 
  2. Durable, so it is less likely to crack under the weight of heavy furniture or appliances. 
  3. You can paint or stain them for different designs or finished looks!
  4. Available in many finishes such as cherrywood, white oak, maple, hickory, and more! 
  5. Affordable– with a budget in mind, it is an inexpensive way to update your bathroom!
  6. Environment friendly– MDF production is sustainable because it uses recycled wood fiber.
  7. Easy installation- MDF beadboards are easy to install, making updating your bathroom a quick and painless process.

Cons of Using MDF Beadboards in Bathrooms

  1. Regular MDF boards absorb moisture which can cause damage if the humidity levels are too high. 
  2. Requires an excellent underlayment to have increased stability and supports for heavier objects in bathrooms with higher amounts of moisture.
  3. Potentially toxic dust, so you should use protective gear when sanding the boards.


So, if you are looking for a way to update your bathroom without breaking your bank, MDF beadboards can be the solution. As we have seen, manufacturers have come up with a moisture resistanct MDF beadboard that you can use to add character to your bathroom.

The beadboard is easy to install and comes in many finishes, which will give you endless possibilities! So go ahead- gather your tools and make that updated look happen with these affordable boards!