Wall panels

By nature I am a calm, peaceful person, more than anything in the world I love beer and my wife. With beer we have a complete understanding, but with my wife … My wife is the embodiment of activity, she cannot live peacefully without fighting the routine of everyday life. When she becomes especially bored, then she: changes her haircut, hair color, loses weight, gets fat and reads a lot of esoteric literature. If this does not help, she begins to act more decisively – she moves cabinets, sofas, bedside tables and chairs in the house (while I should take an active part – as a workforce, of course).

And recently, not finding solace even in such an exciting lesson, my mistress took a mirror, a candle, a deck of cards and locked herself in the bedroom. Coming out of there, she said: “A long journey awaits me, and on my return – changes in the house from the king of diamonds. See you in two weeks. ” Of course, at first I did not attach importance to this gibberish, but my wife was serious. She really packed her things and drove off to the Crimea to her sister. And she left me to fight over an insoluble question: who is this king of diamonds, making changes? “Maybe she has someone?” – I suffered, staring at the wall at night, studying the faded monograms on the wallpaper. After another sleepless night spent in painful meditation, an unexpected idea came to me – to make repairs for the arrival of my wife.

We moved into this apartment about three years ago, the imperfection in it, as usual, was full, but I had no time (and even reluctance) to bring our mansions to mind. So I decided not to be tormented by jealous suspicions, but to prove to my wife that the best king of diamonds in the world is me.

Taking a critical look at the apartment, he estimated his capabilities and immediately dismissed the parquet flooring, plumbing and windows: firstly, it was expensive, and secondly, I could never cope myself. But the walls … The walls in our apartment were distinguished by exceptional curvature, as if the builders made them with a good hangover. And the wallpaper is high time to change – they bubbled in the most prominent places, and in general I (and my wife) never liked this gypsy color. In short, I decided to take up the walls. Moreover, he got so hot that he planned to surprise his precious wife with a completely radical decision: down with wallpaper, I will look for an alternative.

What panels do we need?

In stores selling finishing materials, I was told that decorative wall panels have been wildly popular with buyers lately. And first of all, for some reason, in men. Why exactly did our brother get imbued with the charms of this finishing material? Yes, because only men can appreciate the convenience of installing wall panels – a whole wall is assembled very quickly, dexterously and easily.

And no hassle, screaming and swearing with my wife, no mutual reproaches and statements like: “I always thought (thought) that we are completely different people, that you never loved me (did not love) …”. Or I also remember how one friend, nervously dragging on his cigarette, complained: “Because of this damn wallpaper, they burned off their own. No, you know, it seems like they started quietly, cut pieces, I spread the glue, glue it. And then I tell my own that, they say, you are sculpting a piece crookedly. She rested – you yourself are crooked. In an amicable way, I hint that it needs to be redone. She’s not in any. And it began, I say to her, she gives me ten. In short, he spat and plopped the roll into a bowl of glue so that I myself stand in this paste, flow around … “…

Such sheet panels create a complete illusion of brickwork.

Moreover, another remarkable advantage of the panels turned out – they can be molded onto the most uneven and even frankly curved walls. I’m not even talking about the fact that the panel wall looks exactly like in fashion magazines illustrating the life of these very foreign “jacks and kings of diamonds”. In general, I chose panels.

I must say, wall panels appeared on the Russian market about five years ago. Now this progressive material is used to decorate offices and apartments. But, as it turned out, few people know that they are of three types.

The first type – type-setting rack panels, externally resembling lining, which are attached to the wall with clamps (fastening brackets), have a length of 0.9 to 3 meters, a width of 13.5 to 30 cm, a thickness of 8 to 12 mm.

And some sheet panels generally look like they can be easily confused with wallpaper.

Now read carefully and follow the logic: this type of panels, according to the assembly principle, forms – in the literal sense of the word – two families. One – “mom-mom”: panels with grooves on both sides (they are also called “groove-groove”). The second is “mom-dad”: on one side they have a groove, and on the other – a thorn (they are also “groove-thorn”, “groove-profile”, “groove-comb”). These, you know, are the ambiguous details of this lovely family! The price for this type of panels is from 3 to 20 $ / sq.m. (depending on the finish).

The second type – typesetting tile panels. They are fastened in the same way as rack and pinion, have a “mom”, “dad” and other relatives. But they look a little different: these are square-shaped tiles. Stacked tile panels are good because they can be used to lay out a mosaic on the wall, combining panels with different patterns and textures in a checkerboard pattern. The most “popular” sizes of tiled panels: from 30 x 30 cm to 98 x 98 cm. Prices – from 5 to 50 $ / sq.m.

Finally, sheet panels. They look like a large piece of plywood, only with a pattern. “Sheets” are attached to the wall with nails and (or) glue, or “planted” on the crate. The joints are sealed with a sealant or covered with plastic slats. These panels are much larger than type-setting ones (their dimensions are mainly 1.22 x 2.44 m, and their thickness is from 3 to 6 mm). The price of sheet panels ranges from 14 to 30 $ / sq.m.

Ours or not ours?

A whole department of accessories for wall panels

In the store, a slight parentage happened to me: my eyes flared up, and my heart beat faster in anticipation of the choice. Honestly, this only happened to me in my youth and only in the company of pretty girls. And the choice, the right word, was from what: in front of me lined up a variety of panels made in the USA, Canada, Germany, Poland and Russia.

I confess I first decided to buy our panels. Do I have the right to provide support to a domestic manufacturer to the best of my ability and ability ?! But when in one store he began to ask what the Russian wall panels were good for, there was a small dispute. Some sellers found fault with our products and said that, they say, everyone knows what and what quality is produced in Russia. They argued that in the typesetting wall panels (I apologize for the ambiguity), it often happens that the “mom” does not fit with the “dad”, that is, the spike does not enter the groove. In a word, they discouraged them from getting involved.

But, I must say, our manufacturers also found heroic defenders. They ardently argued that Russians buy equipment and raw materials mainly abroad. It’s just that our producers do not need to save money, but it is better to invite specialists from beyond the “hillock” to set up production. Then these panels will be in no way inferior to similar imported ones. In addition, the defenders of native products had another convincing argument – our wall panels are much cheaper..

And one more thing: a Russian factory for the production of panels, as a rule, is located very close to Moscow, maybe even next to your summer cottage. This means that a large consignment of goods will be delivered to you much faster than from abroad. Moreover, a possible marriage (with whom it does not happen!) Will also be replaced very quickly. Well isn’t it bad?

All would be good, but even patriotic sellers admitted that the range of Russian panels is still noticeably poorer than that of their western competitors. As a rule, domestic manufacturers produce those “colors” that are traditionally in demand among the inhabitants of our vast homeland. And our people, traditionally not spoiled by the attention of the domestic industry, are afraid to experiment with new colors and textures. Even if you crack, they will never buy panels “like a tree with mold”, or imitating the rough surface of a rough board, or something else that is ideologically unstable. Either out of habit they are afraid of neighbors, or we have no problems with mold? In general, our consumers choose basically the same thing: standard panels for ash, oak, pine, maple, birch, white and black marble, less often for beech and cherry. But I wanted something extravagant, original, heartbreaking! You need something to hit (and return to the house) wife.

What are they really made of??

Further, the counter worker told me that in general, wall panels are made of different materials: from natural wood, from PVC (polyvinyl chloride, or more simply – plastic), chipboard, fiberboard. In this store, only typesetting and sheet panels made of chipboard and fiberboard were sold, so most of all they told me about them. Apparently, the seller was pleased to explain to such a “teapot” as me, what is what. But first I asked:

– Please decipher what is particleboard and fiberboard?

The seller, probably, was surprised at my denseness, but did not show it and calmly, like a lecturer of the pre-perestroika society “Knowledge”, recited:

– Chipboard is a particle board, fiberboard is a fiberboard. All over the world fiberboard is known under the abbreviation MDF (MDF) – Medium Density Fiberboard’s, which in English means “medium density fiberboard”. But for some reason, many believe that fiberboard and MDF are different things. They even try to find the differences between them. So, don’t trust anyone and remember: fiberboard and MDF are one and the same.

The basis of the wall panels: on the left – fiberboard, on the right – chipboard

All clear. In addition, I learned that chipboard and fiberboard are made from wood shavings. As a rule, people think that wood shavings are a by-product of wood production. But this is not entirely true: it happens that sometimes solid logs are allowed for this business when there are not enough shavings. In order to bond the chips together, to increase the strength of the board, the durability of the panels, synthetic binders are added to the chip mass. As a rule, these are formaldehyde resins and adhesives. True, a new technology has recently appeared – with the use of lignin (a substance that is part of wood). The last stage of “dressing” chipboard and fiberboard – pressing the chips by hot pressing.

“In addition, do not forget,” the seller continued, “that chipboard is a material that crumbles easily and is“ afraid ”of water. Therefore, chipboard panels cannot be fixed in damp rooms – in a bathroom, for example.

But fiberboard is a completely different matter. To make this board, wood shavings are broken into fibers in several ways: mechanical, friction, and even explosion. Then the fiberboard is moistened so that the moisture content in it corresponds to the humidity of the climate in which it will “live”. It is clear that, for example, in Germany, Spain and Russia the climate is different, so the panels will behave differently under different conditions. (I immediately decided that I would never buy panels made somewhere south of the equator.)

The boards are then pressed, cut to size and coated. For the production of sheet panels, the so-called thin fiberboard (aka MDF) is used – 2.5–8 mm thick. Thicker slabs (16 mm) are intended for furniture making.

If in doubt, ask for a certificate!

I listened, penetrated, nodded, but all the time I was tormented by vague doubts. “Interesting thing,” I thought, “he mentioned formaldehyde resins. But I read somewhere that formaldehyde is harmful! ” And then the seller said:

– Well, finding out how safe the wall panels are is elementary – ask the seller to show the certificates. In general, keep in mind that all construction and finishing materials must have a hygienic certificate from the State Sanitary and Epidemiological Supervision and a certificate of conformity from the State Standard of Russia. I also had them somewhere, now I will show.

I have carefully studied the copies of the certificates. Coats of arms, seals – everything is in place. There seems to be nothing to complain about.

– Do you have permission from the firemen? – I remembered the instructions of a school friend, a firefighter by profession.

It turned out that, in principle, decorative panels made of chipboard and fiberboard are not subject to mandatory certification in terms of fire safety. But in some cases, firms still express a desire to pass exactly the “fire” certification. This is why this is done: in public premises or in places of evacuation (on staircases, in hallways leading to elevators, in corridors and foyers), it is allowed to install only those panels that have strictly defined fire safety indicators. Flammability, flammability, toxicity of combustion products must comply with clause 6.25 of the Building Regulations and Rules of 21.01.97. It is clear that such “proven” panels are the safest and most reliable.

What are they “wearing”?

With the “filling” (chipboard, fiberboard), we sort of figured out. But, as it turned out, this is still half the battle. Move on.

– So, the “individuality” of the wall panels is given by the outer shell (the coating that is applied to the base). It is she who creates a variety of colors and textures. But Tanechka knows best about this in our store..

“Knowledgeable” Tanechka appeared before my eyes. She told literally the following:

– One of the most common types of coatings is laminate, that is, a film depicting textures of various types of wood (oak, pine, cherry, beech, ash, etc.), stone (marble, granite, etc.), bold fantasy colors. Such a film does not fade, is resistant to moisture (so that panels with a film coating can be safely wiped with a wet rag), does not succumb to dirt and bleach, is not afraid of mechanical damage (unless, of course, you cut out on it with a knife “Manya + Vasya = …) … I will add that the film is matte and glossy. When buying panels, be sure to pay attention to such a moment: whether they are evenly covered with a film, does it bubble?

I squinted at the panels along the walls of the store. They looked like nothing, cute, even so, did not bubble…

“But the film is not the only material used to cover the panels,” the girl continued, meanwhile. – There are veneered panels, that is, covered with veneer (this is such a thin layer of wood, glued to the chipboard or fiberboard by the “hot press” method). Veneer panels are more expensive than laminated panels because wood is a natural material. But on the other hand, they will decorate your home, apartment, office, creating an atmosphere of warmth, comfort, solidity and prosperity in the room..

I immediately imagined the prospect of creating an “atmosphere of warmth, comfort, and most importantly – solidity and prosperity” in my two-room panel “room” and realized: if I buy such panels, my wife will probably forget about all sorts of nonsense.

Moreover, it turns out that wall panels are not only with a flat smooth surface, but also with embossing. It is done like this: on chipboard or fiberboard, a press squeezes out some intricate or, on the contrary, unobtrusive pattern. For example, you can leave a Pithecanthropus paw embossing on the wood chip or wood fiber pulp. Then the slab is covered with paint. If you take a closer look at the embossed panels, or even touch them, you will see for yourself that the surface of raw stone or brickwork is reproduced as real. Such panels are often made “under the tiles”. And some panels generally look like they are easily confused with wallpaper..

Installation of type-setting panels

It is clear that it is not enough to buy panels, they still need to be attached to the walls. As you remember, I was going to do it myself. Tanya knew nothing about the installation, but she took me to the seller and presented him succinctly: “Vyacheslav. He knows everything. ” And flew away.

– Have you already selected the panels? – Vyacheslav asked sternly, casting an unfriendly glance at me. (For some reason, he apparently did not like me).

“I think so,” I said uncertainly. To be honest, I haven’t really had time to choose anything, but I didn’t dare to object (just in case). These laminated slatted panels of the German company HDM (HDM) in lagoon blue color will decorate my bedroom, these with the exotic name “tundra green” are suitable for the corridor, and these oak veneer tiled panels – the dining room.

“Keep in mind,” Vyacheslav warned, “that if you“ lay ”the type-setting slatted panels horizontally, the wall will visually look lower and wider. If you “put” them vertically, then the walls will slightly “grow”, but the room will seem elongated.

Fastening of type-setting wall panels according to the “groove-groove” scheme

I also learned that typesetting panels are “set” on the crate – wooden slats that are screwed or nailed to the wall at a distance of 50 cm from each other. The rule is this: the rail must be fixed perpendicular to the direction of the panels. That is, if you are planning to mount the panels vertically, the slats must be nailed horizontally. And vice versa. The advantage of stacked panels is that they can sheathe uneven walls..

In addition, the typesetting panels should not be nailed, because if later I want to dismantle them, then it will be extremely difficult to do this without damaging the panel. It is much better to use clamps. These are the “hooks” with which the panels are attached to each batten.

If the assembly is done according to the groove-tenon principle, then the tenon of the next panel is inserted into the side groove of the previous panel. If these are “groove-groove” panels, then a jointing (a strip connecting the grooves of two panels) is inserted into the side groove of the fixed panel. The jointing is necessarily included in the set of groove-groove panels and has the same color.

– Someone, – here Vyacheslav for some reason looked at me meaningfully, – they like the embroidery to be “golden”. So, – the seller made a dramatic pause. “Even such tastes can be satisfied. Buy the piping separately – at least “gold”, at least “silver”, at least mirrored.

Frankly speaking, it was absolutely not part of my modest plans to buy any gold or mirror embroidery. “Why is he up against me?” – I got bored, but decided not to give up:

– How to fix tiled panels?

Completion of your work will be given by all kinds of joining (left), as well as corners, baseboards, cornices and other accessories (right) to match the color of the panels

– The difference between tiled panels and slatted panels is that they have grooves on four sides (that is, “mothers”). Therefore, these panels are attached only with jointing and fasteners. But also on the crate. Here, however, there is one subtlety: you need to correctly calculate the distance between the battens of the crate. Typically, tile panel firms have specialists who can help you solve this problem. Yes, here’s another thing, all kinds of corners, skirting boards, cornices and other accessories to match the color of the panels will add completeness to your work (see photo on page 39), – Vyacheslav broadcast. – You can perfectly seal the joint between the wall and the ceiling with a special cornice, and the corners, respectively, with corners. You see, we have such cool cornices that imitate “stucco”. And finally, skirting boards, without which no interior will have a finished look. All of these accessories can be glued or nailed down. And they are made of plastic or fiberboard.

And then my interlocutor smiled for the first time.

– Don’t be embarrassed, everything will work out. You see – we have a whole department of a variety of panels and accessories!

Installation of sheet panels

Inspired, I got really bold and comfortable.

– You know, I decided, perhaps, to sheathe the walls with panels in the bathroom. What do you recommend?

– Only fiberboard panels are suitable for the bathroom. And not on the wall where the shower is attached. It is better to put plastic panels or moisture-resistant sheet panels made of fiberboard here. I can recommend these ones – under the tiles. And most importantly, such panels easily tolerate high humidity – they do not warp and do not lose their appearance. They are covered with a special compound that does not allow moisture to pass through, in addition, mold does not form on it.

Do you think it’s tiles? But no! These are moisture resistant sheet panels

Indeed, these panels are exactly like a real tile! By the way, have you ever tried laying tiles yourself? I tried. This is a long, dirty and very nervous case. It is necessary to dilute the solution, then lay each tile, insert matches between the tiles so that the gaps are even, then cover these gaps. But the most offensive thing is that it is still not known what the final result will be. Even experienced craftsmen can screw up so much that they even cry. And here is a ready-made tile “masonry”, which you just need to glue to the wall – and you’re done!

In the end, I chose a moisture resistant panel called marble mosaic. Vyacheslav, however, warned that such panels also need to be glued wisely.

– Before starting work, they need to be left for a day or two in the room where you are going to make repairs. During this time, the panels “get used to”, “get used” to the humidity and then will not deform. Sheets are glued on moisture resistant glue and only on flat walls. To prevent moisture from getting behind the panels and between them, the crate is not made in the bathroom, and the seams and joints are sealed with a sealant. But if you want to install non-moisture-resistant sheet panels in the living room, in this case you need to do the crate, the panels are either nailed to the crate or glued.

Then I realized that I was beginning to “drown in information,” and nervously began to rummage through my pockets in search of a pen and a notebook to write down what I had heard. But Vyacheslav consoled me:

– Don’t waste time: how to install the panels, their dimensions, color, material and other information can be read on the label.

Epilogue

And I decided that really enough to talk, it’s time to get down to business. Half an hour later, a pile of selected panels stood near my old Zhigulenka. I brought all this wealth home, and on the same day I set to work with fervor..

I fastened the panels vertically, horizontally, tilted and herringbone, combined the colors and widths of the slats and tiles. Each wall turned out to be completely different from the other. I installed sheet moisture resistant panels in the bathroom in just 3 hours. The whole apartment took two days. Moreover, I worked alone. I must say that I was not deceived, in fact, mounting panels is a piece of cake.

Now I am looking forward to the arrival of my wife. I can imagine how surprised she will be upon entering our colorful apartment! And he will finally believe that I am a real treasure. But if she doesn’t like something again or wants something new again, I will simply replace the bored panels with new ones. I have already figured out what to do with these. For example, I will decorate a dacha with them, sell it to a neighbor, or give it to someone for a birthday. I think they will not get old and will not lose their impeccable shape, especially, as it turned out, the guarantee on the panels of many companies is 15 years.

P.S. A friend who looked at my light (with a bottle of beer) was amazed. He always believed that wall panels were only suitable for the office. After walking around the apartment and admiring him, he gave one brilliant idea, advising to trim two old peeling cabinets in the corridor with sheet panels. There are two days left until my wife arrives. I think I’ll have time.

Vadim Samokhvalov

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