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I'm planning on installing corrugated galvanized metal as a wainscoting in my bathroom. Is there anything I need to put behind the metal to help prevent mold/moisture from getting behind it? The walls are plaster.

This is the picture my girlfriend pulled off of Pinterest. I would run the corrugated metal vertically at 48 in in height. It looked like a good idea because it would match more of my personality and lifestyle, living on a farm. I've read where people have used it in bathroom surrounds with little issues, however I haven't found anyone who has had it installed for more than a few years.

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    You would be creating a space in which moisture could be trapped. This would be an unusual choice and there could be problems that are not foreseen. What sort of trim at the top are you planning and what sort of baseboards? – Jim Stewart Dec 27 '17 at 20:31
  • I was planning on using cedar for the baseboard, as well as for the top – ANDREW Dec 27 '17 at 22:00
  • What amplitude would this corrugated metal have? It is an interesting idea for a very inexpensive wall covering. Would the grooves go across the wall or up-and-down? How high up on the wall would the total covering be? How tall would the base be, the metal, and the top trim? – Jim Stewart Dec 28 '17 at 0:58
  • my wife saw the same thing we installed it last year verticle ribs but only 4' high it actually looks better now after being up for a while until the dog escaped the tub and shook my wife used a home made cleaner made from vinegar and orange peels not knowing the vinegar would etch the galvanized coating so I pulled it out and replaced it had been up less than 9 months so this was not a long time but there was no moisture damage at all. The vinegar did etch the galvanized coating and the tang from the oranges discolored the metal but it looks really neat in my opinion (without Brown stain) – Ed Beal Jul 13 '18 at 14:23
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I don't consider it any more of a concern than wood wainscot or a vanity that's not hermetically sealed to the wall. I take measures to prevent undue splashing in my bathrooms, such as using a shower curtain and teaching my kids proper behavior. With this approach you can have confidence that your nice, unique metal wainscot won't result in the fall of civilization.

I'd run a wooden cap as shown in the photo, and if you're concerned about water running down behind, seal against the wall with a fine bead of clear silicone caulk. It'll take on the colors of the wall and trim and be nearly invisible.

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I would discourage you from using the metal in a bathroom application. It is certainly totally non conventional and is not a good solution where moisture can get trapped behind the material. Also when the galvanized surface gives out (which it eventually will) the metal will rust and be a total pain refinish or repair.

Metal like that may be considered a cool look in a certain fast restaurant chain that serves up burritos...but not really in a bathroom of a house. Maybe there is an application for the restrooms in the back of a gas station.

  • This doesn't answer the question, which is about installation and trim strategy. – isherwood Jul 13 '18 at 13:15
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    With just moisture the metal giving out ? What? This is used for roofing on many old barns out in the summer heat and winter rains and possibly snow these last for many decades. Inside a home that is temperature controlled and maybe a few splashes I am sure the "style" will be changed or the house will fall down before that metal will fail. – Ed Beal Jul 13 '18 at 14:34
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I disagree. IMHO this is a bad idea.

The reason we install metal roofing on plywood with a moisture barrier or on a a blanket of insulation (with double sided vapor barrier) is to keep condensation from forming on the bottom side of the metal roofing panels. This phenomenon occurs when a warm substance (rain) hits the top of the metal and the colder side of the metal condenses.

This is exactly what is occurring in the bathroom. The warm steam from a shower will hit the metal and condensation will occur on the back side of the corrugated metal. Without air circulation, the condensation will drip, rust, etc. and soon be a problem.

This question has been around for awhile. I wonder if the OP went ahead and installed the metal panels. I wonder how they’re performing?

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