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Wierd wall material

I am buying an 80+ year old bungalow and need help identifying the wall material in my finished attic. The main floor walls are plaster but it looks like they finished the attic later and put up this wierd wall material that I can't identify. It looks like really thick cardboard. It has some holes in it and some big gashes that I wouldn't know how to repair. It is also painted white. I am thinking of putting up wood paneling over it. Does anyone know what kind of material this would be? Should I just leave it up and panel over it? It is quite unattractive with the dents and holes in it. Thanks for any help.

Re: Wierd wall material

Sounds like something that once went by a trade name of "Fir-tex". It is still used in some places as a sound barrier. Reparing it is nigh unto impossible.

You could put paneling over it, but I think you'll find that it lacks the strength necessary to support the paneling. Over time, the paneling would warp and end up looking just as bad, and it would be more susceptible to getting holes punched in it. I don't know what the fire code implications are; I doubt it has the same fire rating as drywall.

My personal preference would be to rip it down and put up gypsum drywall (Sheetrock). If taping drywall joints isn't your thing, you could put the paneling over the drywall, then it would have the proper support and probably look pretty good.

A. Spruce
Re: Wierd wall material

I think Fencepost is right on both accounts. It is either an insulation or sound board. There is little strictural value to as it tends to sag over time. I'd pull it, insulate it, and put up drywall. From there if you still want to panel it, go for it, otherwise just texture and paint it.

Moon Over My Hammy
Re: Wierd wall material

Masonite is strong. Can be repaired. Paints well, trim seams with wood or wall paper flat. No need to tear it out if it isn't water damaged. Should last as long as the house. Find it as finished wall board in a lot of upper floor or attic conversions in older homes. Its very green no adhesives or tar in it to off-gas like mdf or other particle products.

Re: Wierd wall material

It could be Masonite, as MOMH has suggested. Masonite is generally 1/8" - 1/4" thick and very dense. Firtex is around 1/2" thick and is soft enough that you can easily push a thumbtack into it. Firtex makes an excellent bulletin board.

A more modern material is MDF -- medium density fiberboard -- which is like a really thick paper not as dense as masonite but with a consistency approximately like solid wood. MDF is used in inexpensive moulding, and is taking the place of particle board in inexpensive cabinets. MDF can be moulded into different shapes and can be cut and routed just like wood. Norm has even used MDF on TOH projects.

Having grown up in Northwest Oregon and seen my local economy shattered with the decline of the forest products industry due to environmental regulation, I have to say that I personally don't like using engineered lumber products. Milled lumber is a renewable resource that has far less impact on the environment than some politicians *cough*AlGore*cough* would have you believe.

Re: Wierd wall material

It might be Homasote fiber board.

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