February 16, 2012

How to Install Board and Batten

Earlier this week, I revealed my Hallway Command Center, the backbone of which is my first-ever foray into the world of board and batten. My inspiration for this space came from the fabulous ladies at Shanty 2 Chic, who posted their own board and batten hallway project last year. Thanks, Ashley and Whitney, for the inspiration!

Before I continue, I want to make one thing abundantly clear:
I am a total DIY novice.

This was my very first project like this one ever. So when I say that anyone can do this, I truly, earnestly mean it!

Now, I am admittedly late to the board and batten party. There are already plenty of fabulous board and batten how-to’s out there, but I am going to come at this post from a slightly different angle: how an average Jane or Joe with no fancy tools to speak of can absolutely tackle a project like this one! In fact, aside from a few common tools, there is really nothing much required for transforming your space with a board and batten treatment.

Before I get to the nitty gritty of the tutorial for the process, let’s begin with a few of my recommendations for getting your feet wet with board and batten.

Tip One:
If you’re new to board and batten, hone your skills on a straight wall first.

With any corner enters a whole new level of complexity: the need for mitering. If at all possible, I would recommend doing a straight accent wall project for your first B&B effort.

Tip Two:
Use lattice strips for your battens (aka, the vertical pieces) to avoid having to tinker with your baseboards.

It was Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick who gave me the idea to use these in this board and batten post, and I am so glad I took her advice! Aside from being inexpensive and incredibly lightweight and easy to work with, these strips are just 1/4″ thick, which made them thin enough that they were flush with my existing baseboards, so I didn’t have to worry about putting up new baseboards so that my battens didn’t jut out further than the baseboards once they were hung.

Tip Three:
Draw it out. 

Have everything planned to the letter before you go to purchase your supplies. Hit up Lowe’s armed with your full supply list – including all of your piece dimensions – so you can walk in with confidence!

My hallway wall is 115.5″ long, and I wanted the top of my horizontal trim piece to be 45″ from the top of my existing baseboard. The trim I chose for my horizontal piece is 4.5″ wide. So, to calculate the length for each of my batten pieces, I subtracted 4.5″ from 45″, which gave me 41.5″.

Once I had calculated how long each batten piece needed to be, it was time to figure how many battens I wanted to hang on the wall. For me, this was very straightforward. Since I wanted to hang 6 hooks on the wall between my battens, I would need 6 battens. Make sense? If you’re not hanging hooks as I did, the decision for how many battens to use is entirely up to personal preference. I would say between 15-18″ is ideal.

So there you have it! My cut list:
1 piece of door casing trim cut @ 115.5″
6 lattice batten strips cut @ 41.5″

To figure the actual layout of my battens (read: the distance between each one), I took my hallway length (115.5″) and subtracted the width of each batten multiplied by the number of battens (2.25″x6) from that number.
115.5″ – (2.25″x6) = 102

Then, I divided that number by 6, since I knew I wanted six sections between my battens for hanging my hooks. Make sense? 
102″/6 = 17″

So, my battens needed to be 17″ apart. 
Whew! The math is done!

Tip Four:
Buy your lumber at a place that will make all of your cuts for you. 

A word of caution, though: it is imperative that your lattice (batten) strips be cut at exactly the same lengths to avoid having to fill a ton of gaps later on. Don’t be afraid to examine the cuts after they are made and ask for recuts if they don’t line up precisely! Had I not done this, I would have returned home from the store with batten pieces that varied in length by as much as 1/2″. Yikes!

Tip Five:
Paint everything before you hang your board and batten.

This was another tip I took away from Sarah’s tutorial (linked above). Paint the top and bottom portion of your wall, and prime your lattice strips and trim piece (I didn’t have to do this since I used pre-primed trim for my project) before you affix everything to your walls. This will make applying the coats of paint to your finished board and batten so much easier, as you won’t have to worry so much about getting into all of those nooks and crannies! What a time saver.


Very good! Now that I’ve shared those tips with you, let’s get to the details for how I completed my board and batten hallway!

For this project, you will need:
Paint (for both the wall section and the board and batten section)
1/4″ thick lattice strips (mine are 2.25″ wide)
Molding piece (I used a pre-primed MDF door casing piece with a profile I liked)
Liquid Nails and caulking gun
Stud finder
2-inch wood screws
Sand paper
Caulking (the paintable variety)
Wall-mount hooks (if using)

Step One.
To begin, paint the top and bottom of your wall in your desired colors, making sure the line between your two sections will be hidden behind your horizontal trim piece later on. Your top portion (the section above your board and batten treatment) should be painted to completion, with all of the necessary coats done in this step. The bottom portion will be painted again once the board and batten is hung, so one coat will be sufficient.

Apply a coat of primer to each of your lattice strips and your molding piece (if not using pre-primed molding as I did for my project). Allow these to dry completely.

Step Two.
Once your lattice pieces are dry, use a pencil to mark on the wall the precise location for each batten, using the specifications for the distance between each from your project plan (detailed above). Start at the outer edge of your wall and work your way to the other edge, marking the placement of each batten with a pencil and using my level to ensure each would be completely straight. Important: Label each section of your wall and its corresponding batten piece with a number so that you will know with certainty which batten belongs where later on. This will compensate for slight discrepancies in the straightness, width, etc. of the different batten pieces.

Step Three.
Using the lines you marked in step 2 to aid you in your placement, use Liquid Nails to affix each batten in its respective location on the wall, using painter’s tape to anchor them in place as they dry. Using Liquid Nails (the kind applied with a caulking gun) is honestly not much different than using a hot glue gun. So easy! Avoid applying too much of the adhesive close to the edge of your batten pieces so that none of the glue oozes out from behind the pieces once they are hung. Allow your glue to dry completely.

This might be a serious faux pas, but I didn’t use any finishing nails after this step to further secure my battens to the wall. Once again, I am not a DIY expert. Some of you are probably out there shaking your heads and saying, “Oh my goodness – there is no way she just glued those puppies to the wall!” But I did. 🙂 The key: in order to be able to get away with this, you must use the lattice strips, and not heavier pieces of wood, for your battens. They are lightweight enough for this to work. 

Step Four.
Use your stud finder to locate the locations of the studs in your wall, and mark these with a pencil. Now, place your vertical trim piece above your battens, using your level to ensure it is straight. Use your drill and wood screws to affix the piece to the wall, using the marks you made to ensure each screw hits a stud. Sand the outer edge of your trim piece (if it is visible) to round it off, as shown.

Step Five.
Use caulking or wood filler to fill in the holes where the screws were inserted as well as any gaps between your pieces. Allow to dry completely.

Step Six.
Apply 1-2 coats of paint to your board and batten section. (I used a bright white, high-gloss paint.) When your paint is completely dry, affix your hooks between your battens on your trim piece.

All finished! Now give yourself a pat on the back, and step back and marvel at the transformation!

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Don’t forget to also check out the how-to’s for how I created the Custom Chalkboard and Magnetic Boards for the space!

Thanks so much for making me a part of your day!


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12 Responses to How to Install Board and Batten

  1. Alison @ Oopsey Daisy February 16, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

    Great tips Amy! I can’t wait to try board and batten once we move into our new home!

  2. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. February 16, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

    Your wall looks amazing Amy! Thank you for the nicely detailed tutorial. One of the great things about board and batten is that it is so versatile and can be customized for each application. How great is that!

  3. Serendipity and Spice February 17, 2012 at 1:09 am #

    This looks fantastic! Thanks for all the wonderful tips! I’m about to try this going down the stairs.

  4. Julia February 17, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    very stylish!!!!!!!

  5. Kara February 17, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

    This is an awesome tutorial Amy! I will be using it when we do Rachel’s room. 🙂

  6. Lisa February 18, 2012 at 3:56 am #

    Thanks for the great tutorial! One question: Is your wall smooth or does it have texture? Mine has texture and I am a little concerned that it will look funny if I use this method. Thanks!

  7. Sophie February 29, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

    love it!

    Can I ask, around how much did it cost to complete?! Ive been looking to do this for a while but havent gotten up to the planning yet… would love to complete this soon as we’re putting in hardwood soon as well!

  8. Smart Other Blogs June 12, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. Lyndi February 10, 2013 at 11:49 pm #

    Dear Amy,

    I really love your paint colors. Where did you buy your paint?? Do you give your paint colors out? I also love the rug. It is so me. I love bright colors. Where did you find that??

    Thank you. Lyndi

    • Amy @ Positively Splendid February 11, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

      Hi, Lyndi! The paint color is from Benjamin Moore and it is called Paradiso. It is such a nice, soothing blue! I bought the rug at Target a couple of years ago.

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