SO I am creating my own coffered ceilings by creating a grid which I will attach to the ceiling. Then I will nail/glue crown moldings onto this grid to create my coffered ceilings. Now I've made a mockup of my grid for testing purposes using MDF and it all seems nice and stable.

Ive never done anything like this before so Im wondering if Im making a horrible mistake and these ceilings will begin to breakdown having used MDF, or if I should use something else?

I chose MDF because it seems relativly light in weight which seemed like a good idea since I am nailing these up to the ceiling

Thank you!

  • I believe the This Old House website has an article or two on creating this effect inexpensively. – keshlam Mar 12 '16 at 6:57

I would think MDF would hold up fine in a dry climate controlled space. The length of the pieces and method of attachment to the ceiling will affect long-term tendency to sag.

I would try to keep the frame lengths relatively short and employ a robust attachment method (nails into joists along with construction adhesive?)


I agree with Jimmy Fix-it. But, are you asking about the framing or the finishing or both. For framing, I'd go with Fir studs over the cheapest Pine studs. Fir is harder, denser, stiffer & usually straighter or a much higher percentage is straighter.

For Finishing, I'd go with the MDF glued & screwed, don't nail anything anymore. There are Finish Screws & they're wonderful. However, 1/4" smooth plywood is great & 1/2" Furniture or Project Grade plywood is fantastic too. The possible winning benefit of these smooth plywood's is that they can be stained, if desired.

You're on the right track though to stay away from plank wood in order to avoid expansion & contraction gap issues. Although, if you're interested in not having any joints for long runs, then wood planks are the only way to go for anything over 8' long...in stock that is. Or, it might just be the Lowe's & Home Depot around me who sell 16' MDF planks online, but don't stock it in the store.


I recommend steel studs for this type of framing work:

  • Steel studs are straight and dimensionally stable and will not expand, contract, or warp like wood.

  • Steel studs are typically less expensive than high quality wood studs.

  • Steel studs are light weight which makes them great for working overhead.

  • As an added bonus: You only need a pair of tin snips to quickly cut steel studs to length. Though, you can also get an appropriate blade for a miter or table saw if you prefer.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.