Friday, March 22, 2013

Let's Jump on This Board and Batten Bandwagon

Yes, like every other Pinterest loving, Young House Love reading blogger around, we too have given into the Board and Batten trend.  After having completed the project our thought was, why didn't we do this a long time ago?  Not only does it make a HUGE difference in your house, but it is also pretty easy to install as far as DIY projects go.

Eric and I decided to go the "official" board and batten route; back board to cover the wall (our walls have a lot of texture on them) and new baseboards, in addition to the actual battens and top rail.  We covered a thirteen foot portion of wall for... drum roll please...  $55.00 (paint and primer not included as we had this laying around already)!!!  Here's how it went down.

We started by removing our "old" baseboards and vent.

Then we figured out what we wanted the height of our board and batten to be.  We noticed that people varied between about 38" and 46" and landed on 44" as our perfect number.  So, we began by cutting down our pieces of  wood backing to exactly 44".  This way, we could nail the baseboard, top rail and battens over this and not have to worry about widths of each individual piece.  If they were all sitting on top of the wood backing, they would all stick out the same distance from the wall.

In covering the thirteen foot wall, we needed two sheets of the wood backing (it is sold in 6 foot sheets).  We simply made sure that the seam between the sheets was right on a stud so that we could hide it with batten. 

Next, we adjusted our outlet.  We didn't want the outlet to look recessed in the wall, but rather flush.  So, we cut the necessary hole for the outlet and were then able to just screw it back in over the top of the wood backing (the standard screws that come with the outlet should be long enough to do this).

Pretty simple, right?  I should also mention that we chose to nail our wood backing to the wall rather than glue it.  We didn't want to make it nearly impossible for a future owner to remove the board and batten if they were to decide that it isn't their style.  After it was fully nailed to the wall, I quickly rolled on a coat of primer and we were good to go.

One important note- in doing this project, we noticed that our floors are not perfectly level.  To compensate for this, we installed the wood backing and baseboards flush against the floor and leveled the top rail. We thought the difference would be less noticeable at the floor level than at the 44" level and I think that this was the correct choice.  I do not notice that anything is "off" and I am super OCD about stuff like this.

Next up was installing the baseboard pieces.  We used 6" x 8' pieces of pine for this in an effort to get it to line up with our existing baseboards as closely as possible.  We also notched out the end of the board so that it met up nicely with the curve of our existing baseboards.

The next step was the top rail.  For this, we used a 3"x 8' piece of pine.  Again, we made sure that this rail was perfectly level.  This meant that the rail did not line up exactly with the top of the wall backer board, but this is nothing that a little painters caulk can't fix/hide.

If you have never done this caulking method before, you are doing it the hard way.  By laying down two strips of tape, running a bead of caulk and then smoothing with your finger, you get a PERFECT caulk line.  Just make sure that you remove the tape immediately after caulking and once you remove the tape, do not try to make any finishing touches or you will ruin it. Once you pull the tape, you are done.

Finally, we added the battens, which we measured for height individually and spaced at 16" intervals to meet up with our studs.  Again, we hammered these on because we used 1" x 6' pieces of manufactured wood for the battens and did not trust that glue would hold them.

Up next, I filled seams, finished the edges and filled and sanded nail holes.  This step is always kind of annoying because you are just so close and want to be done, but doing a great job at this is vital.  Many times, I fill and sand multiple times to get it perfect, but it so so worth it in the end.  With everything filled and sanded, it was time for paint.

Before paint:

After two coats of Behr white semi-gloss paint, we had this!  Ooh, aah...  We are so fancy now!

And with our decor back in place (sorry, you the after pictures were taken at night and the lighting wasn't great).

It is definitely much more exciting then when the room just looked like this:

So, yeah, we are loving the transformation!  So much in fact that we plan to wrap the board and batten around into our dining room.  It is just so easy and looks so nice that we might as well go for it.

 Yeah for easy and inexpensive DIY projects!


  1. What did you use for your backing board? What would I ask for at the store?

    1. Hi Sheryl- I am not exactly sure of the name of the product. Basically, we purchased large sheets of a "backer board". It was sold in the same area as bead board and was in sheets of approximately 4' x 6' and is very thin. This step is only necessary if you have textured walls. If your walls are untextured, you can skip the backer board step and proceed with the pine trim.