As more people try to recreate or amplify the older, more traditional features in their homes, panelling has become increasingly popular. A quick and easy way to add character to any space – be it modern or classic – the technique comes highly recommended. Interior designer Anna Hewitson explains: “Decorative, traditional style panelling suits historic buildings well, but contemporary panelling can also add interest to modern interiors. It lets you pay homages to the style of the property, or introduce something completely new.” But be aware of the few design considerations before moving ahead with any plans, she warns. These include only panelling below a dado rail if one exists, and matching panelling paint to the wall colour. Also, remember to use an eggshell finish rather than emulsion.
There are two types materials used in Orac panelling: Purotouch and Duropolymer. Purotouch panels are made from high-quality polyurethane, and the flexible format makes it much better-suited to curved walls or cabinets. Meanwhile, Duropolymer panels are made from an extruded and impact-resistant polymer, which is based on a high-density polystyrene.
Because it’s manmade, this kind of panelling can be produced in large volumes, making it readily available. No matter the project size, there’ll only ever be two- or three-days lead time at most. All products are lightweight and easy to install using only adhesive, too, which makes the entire process less labour intensive. All panels come primed in a standard white and are ready to be painted in any finish. Unlike wood or MDF, the products are also termite and water resistant. They’re also ‘knot free’ which means you get an even surface finish when painting over. Finally, all products come in a variety of sizes and styles, with details which are harder and more expensive to achieve with more traditional materials.
Finally, it’s worth knowing Orac also make a wide range of cornice, panel mouldings and skirting boards – all of which are available in a flexible, Purotouch version for use on or uneven walls, bay windows, arches or cabinetry.
First, work out how many linear metres are necessary to create your design. Most styles come in 2m lengths, while a glue calculator on the brand’s website will tell you how many tubes of adhesive are needed.
It might surprise you to know anybody can install Orac products. Installation videos do exist on the website, although several clients have preferred to use a professional to get the job done quicker. If you do decide to do it yourself, remember to wipe down all relevant surfaces before starting.
In the UK, it’s recommended to use installation adhesive FDP700 DecoFix Power along with joint adhesive FX200 DecoFix Extra. One tube of the wall adhesive equates to around 7m- or 8m-worth of coverage, while the tube of joint adhesive will get you up to 80m.
The first adhesive allows you to install Orac on almost any surface, both internally and externally, and also works on both plastered and painted walls. There’s no need to worry about drying the surface beforehand, either. Simply apply the glue to the flat edges on the back of the panel before sticking it on. Orac panelling can also go over wallpaper, while framing is a popular choice, too.
Finally, using the FX200 DecoFix Extra on all joints and mitre cuts will avoid cracking and gaps appearing long-term. It also makes it easier to achieve seamless joints, as the profiles can be guided into exactly the right place (then cleaned off a few minutes later) to make the smoothest paint finish.