Learn how to install DIY board and batten all by yourself. You can do it in just 3 days and it will add an architectural detail to your home that you will love for years to come!
DIY board and batten is an inexpensive way to add architectural detail to a space. We live in a home that is builder grade and little by little we are making improvements to add character to each room.
First up on the list was our living room. We don’t use this room much anymore since the addition of our family room, so it seemed like the best room to start with.
And, because my hubby doesn’t like my projects to become his projects, I did this one all by myself. Don’t worry if you have never done anything like this before, I hadn’t either and I did it all by myself in just 3 days!
Our walls are smooth so I didn’t need to add board to the wall. If yours aren’t smooth there are tons of tutorials on Pinterest that show you how to put the board on first.
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Supplies for DIY board and batten
- Furring strips: sizes 1×2, 1×3, and 1×4
- stud finder
- Mitre saw
- portable air compressor
- Air nailer
- 2 1/2″ brad nails
- Tape measure
- 90 degree square for marking the wood for cutting
- paintable caulk
My hubby had all the tools needed for this and didn’t mind me using them…he is a keeper.
Timeline for installing board and batten:
- Friday – baseboard and top rail
- Saturday – vertical boards and caulking
- Sunday – painting
Step 1. Measure the walls
Prior to starting this project, I measured the entire space and calculated how much of each type of wood I would need.
- Measure the entire area around the baseboard in inches, divide it by twelve to get how many feet of wood you will need.
- Most lengths of wood come in 8 feet so divide how many feet you have by 8 and that will tell you how many pieces of wood you will need to do your project.
- Alway round up and even add an extra board to allow for mistakes…just in case.
Note: This will work for the baseboard and top rail of your batten, but not for the vertical boards (ask me how I know this). You will have to know the length of your vertical boards and how many of them you will need so that you can figure how many you can get from each piece of wood. If not you will end up going back to get more wood, or having to use smaller pieces and cutting them to a 45 degree angle and fitting them together like I did.
Step 2. Prep the walls
Mark where each stud is in the wall and draw a line using the level around the entire room so that you will know where the bottom of your top rail of batten will be placed.
Now is the best time to paint the top half of the wall if it is going to be a different color from the batten.
Step 3. Applying board and batten to the wall
I used the 1×4 for my baseboard, the 1×3 for the top rail, and the 1×2 for the vertical boards.
Note: Those sizes are not true to the actual size of the wood, so make sure you measure your pieces to know exactly what size they are.
Instead of reinventing the wheel, pull off each piece of existing baseboard and used it as a template to cut your new baseboard and the top rail of the batten since they were going to be the same length and then nail them to the wall using the brad nailer.
I used plain boards, not detailed molding (hooray for choosing the easy way). Cutting the 45 degree angles for the corners was super easy once I watched a youtube video on how to do it. After repositioning my saw for the 4th time, I realized I could just flip my piece of wood over to cut the opposite end 45 degree angle and not have to move the saw at all!! It was really all about which side of the wood I wanted to have showing.
Note: Add an extra 3/4 of an inch in length on your board when cutting a 45 degree angle or it will end up too short. Ask me how I know this and how many times it took me to figure that out. Hey, I am a beginner you know! It’s okay, you can laugh. I am now, although I was cursing when it happened. Hence the need for that extra board…wink, wink.
Put the vertical boards on the studs, so you don’t have to use glue and so they won’t come off.
For the most part, my vertical boards are 16 inches apart. Give or take when I ran into outlets. Outlets are attached to studs in a wall and depending on what side they were put on, well….you get the picture.
Due to the true size of the boards, I gained about an extra 1/2 inch between the baseboard and the top rail…grrrrr! This was not a good thing. I ran out of full pieces of wood and had to use the smaller pieces and fit them together. At least I didn’t waste a lot of the 1×2, I used almost all of it.
Step 4. Finish the DIY board and batten
After all the boards are in place, caulk EVERY. SINGLE. INCH. of the batten. Yep, all of it. It gives it a finished look and covers up any mistakes that may have been made.
Paint all the batten first with Kilz to make sure the wood grain doesn’t bleed through. PLEASE DO NOT skip this step, you will thank me later!
Finish by painting your board and batten in the color of your choice.
That’s it! All in 3 days, all by yourself!
I love this room now!! It is so cheerful and full of sunshine, it’s a happy place to relax in.
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