A step-by-step guide to a DIY board and batten install!
I realized the other day that I completely forgot to share a tutorial for the board and batten in the living room– and also forgot to share it when I did it in the mudroom! What kind of a blogger am I?!??
Here it is in the mudroom:
and here it is in the living room:
Adding the board and batten made a huge difference in both rooms. The living room, in particular, was totally transformed!
As you can see, I carried the board and batten up the fireplace wall in the living room and I really do love how it looks.
There are a few differences between how I did the board and batten in both rooms. I wish I could say it was some well-thought-out design decision, but it actually came down to money. In the mudroom, I used 1X6’s and put a cap on top. In the living room, which I did over a year later, funds were tighter- so I did 1X4’s and left off the cap. 1X6’s and the cap were out of the budget. So there’s that.
DIY board and batten-measuring
To determine the lumber you need for your horizontal boards:
To determine the lumber you need for the battens:
First, determine how far apart you want your battens. I put mine 16 inches apart. Next, measure how long your walls are. Divide your wall measurement by your “how far apart you want your battens” measurement. That will give you an approximate number for how many battens you need.
Then, determine how high you want your board and batten to be. Mine is 5 feet high.
All of those numbers will tell you how much lumber you need to buy.
DIY board and batten- supplies
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- Lumber- use your measurements from above to determine how much you need. I’d advise buying boards that are as long as you can get them. They’re cheaper, and you’ll definitely be able to use the scrap for the boards in between. I bought 1X4X12′ pieces, and I was able to get enough wood from that one board to do two battens and the middle piece between the battens with a little left over.
- Screws or nails-disclosure- I started with screws in the living room, ran out, then changed to nails. Both worked fine. I have a drill but not a nail gun so I found the screws easier to work with.
- Whatever paint or stain you want to use to finish the wood with
- I used a miter saw, drill, level, and hammer as well
I’m going to tell you, as par for the course with most projects I tackle, I’m not a super perfectionist about doing board and batten. I go for “looks good, good enough, thank God for caulk” rather than driving myself crazy to get a perfectly finished product.
Also, I think the best way to do this is to tackle each wall one at a time.
It’s best to do your horizontal boards first. Use your level and a pencil to mark where you want your top horizontal board to be. Then, measure and cut your upper horizontal board to length. Then, screw the board into the wall. I used a screw every couple of feet in my boards.
Do the same for the lower horizontal board.
Step 2: dealing with baseboards
Like a lot of houses, ours has baseboards already in place that would not match up perfectly with the board and batten boards. The baseboard is skinnier than the battens, making the battens overhang the baseboard.
In the mudroom, I didn’t worry about this at all. I just didn’t think about it.
See how the battens hang over the baseboards?
That makes me a little crazy now when I look at it, so I knew for the living room I wanted to do something different.
So I mitered the bottom of each board at 45 degrees so it would be a smoother transition to the baseboards. Here’s how it looks:
If you have a miter saw, making those cuts is really easy, and it does make the board and batten more finished looking. In the pic above, which is under the window, I probably should have mitered the top, too, so it was more even with the window trim, but it doesn’t bother me. Especially because the couch sits in front of them 😉
I did, however, think about this when I was doing the fireplace feature wall, and I mitered the tops of the boards so there was a smooth transition between the crown molding and the boards. See it here?
Step 3: Batten placement!
Determine where you want your battens. My method for doing this was a little different than others I’ve seen, and I love how it turned out!
Because I really dig symmetry, I knew I wanted them centered evenly on each wall. So I simply measured each wall, found the middle of the wall, and marked it.
Then, I measured out 8 inches in each direction, and that is where I attached my battens (8 inches because 8 is half of 16, and I planned to space them 16 inches apart, remember?). Once attached to the wall, I’d just measure out 16 inches in each direction and attach battens every 16 inches. Doing this meant that they were centered perfectly on the wall!
Here’s the order that I attach the battens.
You can see the symmetry in place here:
See how the placement of the battens are symmetrical on each wall?
Step 4: Paint or stain
Now that you’ve attached the battens, it’s time to paint or stain.
Some folks do this before they nail the battens to the wall. I’ve done it both ways, and I think it’s much easier to do once they are already on the wall.
Be sure to caulk any spaces you need to fill between the boards and the wall, and cover any nail heads or screw heads with wood putty before you paint!
Here’s the fireplace feature wall before painting:
I had actually considered staining the wood instead of painting, but decided in the end that that much contrast in such a small room, combined with all of the color and artwork, would be a bit too much. But I think in another space, the white walls with stained battens would look so.good!
Total cost for the board and batten, including the feature wall: $240. And I had enough lumber left to use on the wire shelf upgrade in the master closet (woot!).
I’m going to do a separate post on how I did the fireplace feature wall so coming soon!
Let me know if you have any questions!