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Assuming I've got things well insulated and don't need to attach any cabinetry or other hardware to a wall section - Is there any material that's better for wall panels (I've got some automotive upholstery fabric picked out already) than simple 1/4" plywood?

I'm simply going to cut the panels to fit the various shapes and spaces I've already made templates for, attach the fabric, and then attach the panels via pan-headed sheet metal screws. So the choice of paneling material itself is really the only remaining variable.

For reference,

1/4" ply = $14/sheet (4'x8')

1/8" "tempered hardboord" = $9/sheet

Corrugated plastic sheet = $23/ea
 

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2017 2500 HiTop 159 Cargo Van white.
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I used Luan (door skin) from Home Depot. Covered it in indoor/outdoor carpet also from Home Depot.
3M spray glue and panheads.
 

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2014, 138WB, High Roof, Gas, SW MT
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Hi,
I used the tempered hardboard from Home Depot, actually thought it was stronger than 1/4 plywood.

HD carries the hardboard already finished in white, which is what we used for the ceiling.

We found that our independent lumber yard here could get the hardboard with about 100 different patterns (almost like wall paper) -- they had a whole book of them.
We found a pattern we liked and used that for the walls and have been happy with it. The hardboard with the patterns was not quite as strong/durable as the HD white hardboard.


After 3 years use, I'm finding the ceiling a bit too glossy white, and may replace with T&G wood, but like the wall.

In the end, it seems like more of an aesthetic choice than the base material?



Hard to see the pattern in the picture, but its nice.


Gary
 

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Gary, I'm impressed your hardboard is holding its fasteners. I've used loads of it as templates, in part because it's so easy to cut even with a small Xacto. Small cuts produce a pile of paper dust.
 

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Sorry to intrude, but i have seen these 'clips' in various pics - what are they for? tia ~ Steve
 

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My experience with the eucalyptus hardboard from HD was it warped and buckled badly with moisture.

I was using it as a template for one of my Motion windows. I ran out of time and left it overnight bolted to the outside of the van. It didn’t rain at all, but in the morning I had quite a warped mess on my hands and had to wait until the afternoon until things settled down enough to make my cuts.

It may be the finish and the tempering made a difference, but I don’t think I’ll chance this in steamy Florida.
 

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Yup the power connections for your rear window defrosters - leave them alone!
 

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It's not that hardboard won't work, it can, but it needs to be sealed/finished properly on all six sides after fitting, imho. Unfortunately, the van builder seeking an inexpensive material for panels may be the least likely to spend money and time doing this.
 

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It's not that hardboard won't work, it can, but it needs to be sealed/finished properly on all six sides after fitting, imho. Unfortunately, the van builder seeking an inexpensive material for panels may be the least likely to spend money and time doing this.
Hi,
I guess I'm getting different stuff(?) -- the material we used for the ceiling from HD is prefinished hardboard with a very durable white enamel. You could soak in a bucket of water all day without any additional finish on it and it will still be very solid and hard -- its basically impervious to water.

The stuff we used for the walls was prefinished hardboard with any of a large number of wallpaper like patterns they offered. But, not quite as water resistant as the HD material.

Its about as easy as it gets since you don't have to stain and apply urethane to it as you would plywood.

Both (I'd say) at least as durable as 1/4 inch plywood.

Gary

Gary
 

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MMXVI - L2H2 in IN
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It's temper hardboard with an acrylic or similar finish on one side that makes it somewhat impervious, adds some strength, if you install it correctly you can use it in a shower stall.
 

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The ceiling sounds like Formica. I'm really bumfuzzled.
No, Formica, Wilsonart, etc are plastic laminates, as in all plastic. I think what Gary has is something on the order of melamine coated hardboard, or perhaps the slick coated material (hardboard?) used to make erase-able white boards. Having said that, you could make some very durable panels using plastic laminate adhered with contact cement to hardboard, plywood, mdf etc-properly finished on the bare back and edges, of course. Lots of work, pricey, and potentially somewhat heavy.
 

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It seems to work for Gary. It’s obviously not just plain painted hardboard or Masonite. Quick, easy and reasonably priced - a hard to beat triple play if that’s the look you are triying to achieve!
 

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Slightly off topic (but still re: wall panels) ...could you attach/has anyone attached 1/4 ply panels with Velcro or VHB?
 
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