From start to finish, I’m sharing how to install a DIY Board and Batten Wall. You won’t find a highlight reel of the perfect project here because the reality of DIY is that you will run into a challenge or two. So, let’s nail it down (pun intended)! Yes, that was a cheesy joke but we’re moving on now.
Here’s What You Need:
- Eucaboard (if you want a smooth look over textured walls)
- Wood or MDF in the size you want
- Common sizes for board and batten are 1×2, 1×4, 1×6. I used 8 foot 1×4 and 12 foot 1×4 pre-primed finger jointed pine.
- Note: The listed measurement (1×4) is NOT the ACTUAL dimensions of the boards. A 1×4 is actually 0.719 in. x 3.5 in. x 8 ft. – so keep this in mind when you are calculating your spacing. Learned this the hard way! I had to re-do all my spacing!
- Nails & Nail Gun
- Liquid Nails (optional)
- Miter Saw
- Wood Filler
- Sandpaper / Orbital Sander
Seems like a lot of things but it’s really affordable items (especially if you have the tools already).
Prep & Plan
You’ll need to make some very key decisions at the beginning, starting with your baseboards. Are you leaving your existing baseboards and building the board and batten on top of them? Or are you removing the baseboard leaving the bottom batten board to be your new baseboard?
My baseboards were already off since I recently installed new flooring. I knew I was going to install this feature wall and swap the old baseboards in the room with new ones so I just left them off until I got to this phase of the project. I decided the 1×4 would serve as my new baseboard.
Next you need to decide on the the design and spacing of your battens. In my opinion, the wider the space between battens – the better it’ll look! I have 7 battens and 6 spaces on a 12 ft. x 8 ft. wall. They are spaced 19. 916 inches apart. [Battens are the vertical wood pieces. The “Board” refers to the spaces in between.]
Y’all, THE MATH IS SO IMPORTANT! Keep doing this and even tape it out on your wall to make sure you have the spacing right before you pick up the glue or the nail gun! It’s a time consuming step but valuable – if you want even spacing and a beautiful finished product!
If you want to see the video progress of the whole project, follow me on Instagram and check out my board & batten highlight!
- Add up the total width of all batten pieces. Don’t forget the ones on the far left and right that make up the frame. (p.s. we are working in inches) Then multiply by the actual width of each board. I used 1×4, but remember they’re actually 3.5″ wide.
- 7 batten x 3.5” (width of each piece) = 24.5”
- Subtract the number above from the width of the wall:
- (12 ft wall x 12″ in a foot = 144″)
- 144” – 24.5” = 119.5”
- This is the total remaining area left on the wall.
- Divide the number above by the number of spaces on the wall
- Calculate the number of spaces (total battens – 1)
- 7 battens – 1 = 6 spaces
- 119.5” ÷ 6 = 19.916“
- This will be your measurement between each batten.
- So from the end of the first batten measure 19.916″ and that’s where you’ll start the second batten, and onwards down the wall.
- Calculate the number of spaces (total battens – 1)
So, how do you measure 19.916″ inches on your measuring tape? HA! I asked the same question. Fortunately, my good friend Google, routed me to MyCarpentry.com’s decimal to fraction calculator. Praise!!! So 19.916″ turned into 19 15/16″ which you can measure on a measuring tape! 🙂
STEP BY STEP
Ok, now the fun stuff! Let’s build it! I bought all my supplies and tools from Home Depot. This post is not sponsored.
STEP 1: Shop
Buy your supplies. Check all your boards to get the straightest ones possible.
I used (3) sheets of 4 ft x 8 ft sheets of eucaboard for my backer board. They were about $13 each. If you have smooth walls or are going to do this over your textured walls, you don’t need this. Went with pre-primed pine for my battens. They came in 12 ft and 8 ft lengths which is super convenient for me since my wall was 12 ft x 8 ft. These are the main supplies for this project and they cost me $160.97.
Keep in mind: If you’re buying backer board, know where the seams will meet on the wall. You want the seams to be BEHIND a batten so you may need to have Home Depot/Lowes cut it down for you (especially if you don’t have a table saw and some spare hands), so you don’t have to troubleshoot this later on.
STEP 2: Backer Board
Install your backing board.
Do your research and decide if you want to use liquid nails. I opted not to glue the eucaboard to the wall because I wanted to preserve the wall in case I ever wanted to change it. The board felt perfectly secure on the wall with just nails around the perimeter of each board.
We did have to slightly trim the third board about an eighth of an inch. We used a circular saw because I don’t have a table saw (yet). It was not the easiest part of this project, to say the least. Why can’t all walls just be perfectly square? Also, had to cut around the outlet but it was pretty simple.
After measuring and marking where the outlet was on the board, I used my Ryobi drill to pre-drill a hole in the center of the outline of the outlet. Then drilled holes in each of the 4 corners. Used my jig saw to cut the piece out. Took about 10 minutes.
TIP: If you don’t have tools this Ryobi Combo Kit has most of what you need to get this project done. You can sub the miter saw for a circular saw if you don’t want to make the investment. It’s an amazing value, especially if you price everything out individually – you’re saving like $100 bucks!
STEP 3: Frame
Install the top, bottom, left, and right battens.
It should look like a frame. Nail the top and bottom pieces in place first then the left and right sides. You will need a level and probably a helping hand! Note my Dad – aka – a helpful hand! HAHAHA 🙂
Try not to get too nail happy. A nail every 12 to 16 inches is sufficient. You’re sure to hit a stud or two in there somewhere and remember you have to go back and fill all those nail holes later. I had more than 100 holes to fill!
STEP 4: Vertical Battens
Cut, measure, mark, level and nail the vertical battens!
Go back to your math now. From the first batten you will measure whatever your spacing is between battens and make your mark. For me, I measured from the end of the first batten 19 15/16 inches and made the mark. The mark is where you start your next batten. So on and so fourth down the wall. I marked all the measurements first. Then double checked them after I installed each batten.
For each vertical batten, measure from the bottom of the top batten to the top of the bottom batten. Use a miter saw or circular saw to cut the length off each board.
TIP: Measure each space individually. Wood is wood and walls never seem to be square so somehow, someway it is not the exact same measurement all the way down the wall. Triple check the measurements because you want them to be as exact as possible.
TIP 2: Account for the width of the saw blade. Learned this the hard way quick. Do not cut directly on your line. Position the blade so it is JUST to the waste side of the line. The waste side is the side of the board that is not relevant to this cut. The excess board.
I only used a nail in the top and bottom of each vertical at first. Stepped back after the entire wall was complete, evaluated the spacing, and made sure I liked the look and feel. It’s hard to take it back after you’ve nailed everything completely in.
Liquid Nails: If you decided to use liquid nails as part of securing the wall, apply the adhesive to the back of each board, level and place on the wall. Secure with nails.
STEP 5: Horizontal Battens
Cut, measure, mark, level and nail the horizontal battens!
Use the same formula above in the “MATH” section to calculate the spacing for your horizontal battens – if you want even spacing.
I wanted a small box at the top and 2 longer rectangles. So I found the measurement of my top box – which was 15″. Then measured the space remaining on the wall minus the one 3.5″ batten that would be halfway. Then divide by 2. That left me with 33.5″ inches space between each rectangle. Whatever design you are doing – the calculations will be different. Just don’t forget to subtract the width of each horizontal batten you’re adding. Again, I recommend using some handy blue tape to visualize and layout your pattern before you ever cut.
Like so! See I was testing out 2 different designs.
I did all the top horizontal boxes first then came back and did the second row. Every now and then I would step back and make sure the boards were not crooked or creeping down.
I positioned the board on my mark, held it in place with one hand and re-measured to make sure it was correct. Then I put one nail in the center, popped the level on top, adjusted the sides until level, then put a nail in each end. This part actually went pretty fast.
Here is the finished grid! Super proud of it! Looks so good!
Before we move on, let’s have some real talk. There is no such thing as perfection so you have to address the challenges as they present themselves. I don’t know how many different blogs, YouTube channels, and professional resources I had to visit to search for help every time I encountered an obstacle. I never ran into a blog that detailed all the do’s, don’ts and lessons learned so I decided to document my learnings here for you. Keep reading and I’ll address some of what I imagine are common challenges one might face when installing a DIY Board and Batten wall.
STEP 6: Shims
Yup, you will most likely have a few horizontal battens that don’t sit evenly with their vertical counterparts. BEFORE you start wood filling like a madwoman or madman, try to put some wood shims behind any of those boards. Once it comes up even with the other board, break off the shim and leave the rest up to the caulk. It’s easier to fill gaps between the backer board and the battens with caulk than to wood fill and try and make slight lips disappear.
STEP 7: Wood Filler, Sanding & Caulking
TIP: Don’t be like me and overdo it on the wood filler because you will be sanding for all eternity.
TIP 2: You’ll be doing some serious sanding so if there is furniture in the room make sure to cover it. Open a window for ventilation. Put down plastic or a sheet on the floor. Also, don’t forget to wear eye protection (mine are linked here) and a mask. This is super fine dust particles and is definitely not healthy for you. This is the orbital sander I used.
You’ll know it’s done when you can run your hand from one board to another and it’s smooth across. No lips or bumps. AKA: Seamless!
Caulk is key to a good board and batten wall. Everything should look completely seamless. You will be caulking all the gaps inside each box. It is seriously labor intensive.
- Cut your caulk tip at a 45 degree angle and keep the opening small. You’ll have more control over the caulk.
- Keep a wet rag and a dry rag near you at all times
- Might want a bowl or bucket of water for dipping fingers/washing hands
- Your fingers are really the best tool. Keeps a smooth line and you have more control over where the caulk goes.
- Wipe away excess FAST!
- Don’t overdo it! Messy globs of caulk will make getting a seamless look really hard. TRUST ME – I’ve got some spots that kill me.
- If you’re not confident in caulking, lay a line of tape around where you are going to caulk. You’ll get a really crisp clean line. Just make sure to pull the tape up while the caulk is still wet.
STEP 8: Paint
I’ve never used eucaboard before so I opted to prime the wall. Won’t list the primer here because I didn’t really like it but do some research and find one you like – if you go the primer route.
Now if you ask me was primer necessary, I really couldn’t tell you. I do know I had 1 coat of primer and 3 coats of the paint color. Could it have been a ton of extra work? Perhaps. Perhaps.
I used this brush for getting the underside of the battens inside the boxes. Also, get you one of these pour and store lids for your paint cans. GENIUS! Additionally, I used Frog Tape to make sure the lines between the black and white paint was crisp!
And then there you go, awesome feature wall with major impact in your room!
- White: Benjamin Moore – Swiss Coffee (eggshell finish)
- Black: Benjamin Moore – Cheating Heart (eggshell finish)
- Trim: Valspar Ultra White Interior Paint (flat finish)
FYI: One of my battens ran right through the electrical outlet on this wall. I personally wasn’t a fan of the work arounds out there for getting around outlets on a board and batten wall. I ended up scoring my plastic outlet cover with a utility knife then cutting with scissors to make it fit flush against the batten. Painted it the wall color to match. Honestly like this better than other options. This will be a personal preference thing if you have this obstacle.
DIY Board and Batten Wall Cost
Let’s talk cost! This project was super affordable and leaves a big impact! What an awesome way to completely transform a room and give it a totally new vibe or personality.
Here’s my cost breakdown:
- (3) eucaboard [$13.98/ea.] – $41.94
- (2) 12′ 1×4 pre-primed pine boards (top and bottom batten) [$12.55/ea.] – $25.10
- (10) 8′ 1×4 pre-primed pine boards (rest of the batten) [$7.74/ea.] – $77.40
- Paint Primer – $13.98
- 1 gallon Benjamin Moore Cheating Heart – $44.99
- Pour & Store lid – $3.28
- Frog Tape – $8.97
- Paint supplies (rollers, tray) – $17.84
- Angle Paint Brush – $8.48
- DAP Caulk – $3.18
- Plastic Wood (wood filler) – $7.28
- Total supplies cost: $252.44
Cost-saving tool alternatives:
You can rent tool at Home Depot for a project if you don’t want to purchase them! Just check your local hardware store.
- Sander – you can sand by hand – use a 120 or 80 grit paper to start and a 220 paper or block to finish.
- Sub a circular saw for the miter saw. You’ll just need a solid place to cut, maybe some saw horses and some good clamps.
Other basic things you need: square, pencil, measuring tape, straight edge, level, vacuum or shop vac, eye protection, mask, microfiber cloths, typical paint supplies.