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Using Baltic Birch for headliner in old motorhome

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Forum topic by digdig posted 07-06-2020 06:46 PM 358 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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digdig

4 posts in 33 days


07-06-2020 06:46 PM

I’m hoping to use 3 inch wide strips of 1/8 or 1/4 inch baltic birch to replace the headliner in our old motorhome. something like the attached photo.

i’ve heard rumors that others who’ve tried this had problems with condensation from the roof penetrating the wood and causing discoloration or mold growth.

could you suggest a sealer/finish combination that would prevent this?

thanks

dave london


7 replies so far

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MrRon

5925 posts in 4048 days


#1 posted 07-06-2020 09:46 PM

You could use pre-finished tongue and groove flooring.

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digdig

4 posts in 33 days


#2 posted 07-07-2020 02:31 AM



You could use pre-finished tongue and groove flooring.

- MrRon

thanks MrRon, but the curved ceiling would make that a bit difficult … besides i really like working with baltic birch plywood. this afternoon i spoke with a guy at waterloks. he suggested a new their products of theirs called Truetone – a heavy resin tung oil. sounds interesting.

digdig
.

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Woodknack

13439 posts in 3185 days


#3 posted 07-07-2020 04:46 PM

Can you put tyvek house wrap between the wood and roof? Even better would be foam insulation. Last ditch: truck undercoating.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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CaptainKlutz

3352 posts in 2299 days


#4 posted 07-07-2020 05:05 PM

I’ve used 1/4” tongue and groove cedar planking on curved surface before. BORG is easiest place to find it, unless you have cedar mill operation nearby.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/1-4-in-x-3-5-in-x-96-in-Western-Cedar-Planks-6-Pack-14-sq-ft-8203015/202106509
Cedar is more water resistant than most woods. If you need large bend radius, score the back with long saw cuts. Which would also work for flooring suggested above.

Will guess you are talking about roof line on metal Air stream trailer?
The only way to stop condensation is to prevent the moisture getting to the cold metal surface, Period.

To stop condensation on the metal it needs to be insulated with zero gaps to stop any air flow and humid air penetration. Once insulation is bonded to roof, and wood is bonded to the insulation and mounting strips; then the inevitable condensation will be on inside of trailer wood surface, and not under the wood.
Since water will not be trapped, it will dry and not mold; providing the trailer has sufficient airflow to dry out.

IMHO – Big challenge is the seams on metal shell trailers are prone to leaks, as they move a lot. Every used Airstream I see for sale has broken roof rivets, and/or roof leaks; which is one reason I never bought one. Getting control of roof leaks is #1 priority, or your new ceiling panels won’t last long.

Best Luck.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

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digdig

4 posts in 33 days


#5 posted 07-07-2020 05:19 PM

good idea.

i’m restoring a 1978 GMC motorhome. the roof itself is aluminum and the ceiling has sprayed foam insulation. i tried using PVC beadboard slats.

i’m not at all happy with the way it looks or feels. i’m a wood guy.

another suggestion from a paint guy is to add a biocide/fungicide to the finish i use on the backside of the baltic birch plywood slat i plan to use. not sure if i can mix it with waterlox truetone, but i could probably just use paint for the backside. i hope that makes sense.

still open to suggestions.

thanks

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digdig

4 posts in 33 days


#6 posted 07-07-2020 05:26 PM

captain klutz

i posted the above before i saw your reply.

cedar is obviously a good choice for mildew resistance. i only hesitate to use it because thin slats (i can’t go over 1/4 inch) seem more likely to split when bent with the grain and the color when finished won’t look right with our walnut cabinets.

thanks anyway … you know your wood.

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CaptainKlutz

3352 posts in 2299 days


#7 posted 07-07-2020 06:06 PM

If you want dark finish, +1 MrRon suggestion.
Buy a pack of prefinished wood flooring you like, rip some slots in back side every 1/4-3/8” about 60-75% the thickness, and test for bend radius you need. Can seal back side with water based poly if have water issues.

With a fine grain wood (not oak/ash), can wrap a 24” OD vertical column in prefinished wood flooring with ease using this method.

Test it out: Go out in shop and rip slots into some popular/maple and see how it bends.
I think you will be surprised how much wood can bend with right encouragement.

Best Luck

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

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