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Join Date: May 2004
2020-04-23, 03:21

A finish carpenter taught me a trick for wood baseboards. He dry fits the pieces for any especially long wall and then glues and clamps the seam together and lets it dry before installing it as one extra long piece. I hid a seam in a 35 ft long wall this way. But I get your point. Even though know one else can see it, I know where it is. I can just make it out, and one day it will probably crack.

With the benefit of some past experience in mind, I've been considering how the materials in question (MDF and poplar) install on less than perfect surfaces. MDF's dimensional stability, light weight, and ability to flex to conform to surface irregularity makes it pretty easy to neatly join corners. But that "light weight and give" is also a bit of a liability. It can be brittle and nail holes tend to bulge if you don't use a really light nailer, which is a finishing hassle if you don't have a feel for it. I have seen guys install it so nicely that once painted it looks like plaster, but I've also seen installs that look cheap...

Which brings me to one issue with our space. Thanks to the open concept, there is 35' long, unbroken wall to one end of the space, but is only 8' high, unlike the 9' and 10' ceilings in more modern homes. This is offset somewhat by the open ceiling and stair on one side of the space. But, the crown profile and install need to be carefully considered here. It's close enough to touch for someone tall. On a ten foot, flat white ceiling, most people can't spot imperfections, not so at eight feet, at least not for me. If it's simply pressed to the wall it will fit tight but end up accentuating the undulations in the wall. I've seen this in long corridors where the chair rails end up looking wavy because the wall itself isn't true. Looks terrible when looking down the length, but invisible when looking head on. Our wall is pretty good, but where the wall meets the ceiling you can see the imperfection in both when looking down its length. The crown needs to minimize this not accentuate it. Large floor to ceiling panels should stretch the eye upwards and reduce the long low look. No chair rails - space doesn't need any additional horizontal details. I'm thinking that at least this wall should have poplar crowns because I can get a very rigid fit and fill in the low spots so this horizontal detail looks straight. The rest can be MDF.