If you have any sort of interest in pulling off board and batten, but are nervous, I’m here to tell you that you can 100% do it. Plus, I have your back and I’m here to teach you how to install board and batten. It’s a relatively quick project when you remember basic geometry. Even if you don’t, it comes back quickly (speaking from experience!) plus I’m going to explain it to you here.
If you want to make a killer board and batten wall, this is your place – by following these instructions for how to install board and batten, you’ll be a pro and have a perfectly completed, high-end looking board and batten wall done in a day.
What Exactly is Board and Batten?
First things first, for the sake of this post, board and batten can be referred to as any wood or MDF strips placed onto your wall in a pattern of your choice. There are traditional options, and there are modern options. I’m here to give you the tutorial on how to install a modern board and batten.
Before getting into how to install board and batten, you need to know, board and batten is not only an easy way to elevate your walls, but it is also incredibly affordable. This one cost $90 in Canadian funds to make.
Let’s elevate these walls!
What You Need to Install Board and Batten
Materials You’ll Need:
- Painters tape
- Wood stripes or Primed MDF board (I used primed MDF flatstock trim – 1.5 inch which was approximately ~$0.42/ft)
- Paintable Caulking + Caulking Gun
- Sand paper – 120 grit (or a damp sponge)
- Wood Filler
Tools You’ll Need:
- Nail Gun (+ nails)
- Mitre Saw
- Stud Finder
- Paint brush (or roller) + paint tray
How to Install Board and Batten
1. Tape of the general pattern you want to make out of your board and batten – I would suggest including a border I found it made the look more complete.
2. Using the tape measure, find the approximate size of each of your boards and add them up – that is how you know approximately how many feet of board you’ll need. I drew a diagram with a numbers cheat sheet to reference what I was doing throughout the project easily. It also helped me have my flatstock cut to the sizes I needed (with a decent buffer because my lines were not straight) in the store, so I wasn’t carrying 16 ft boards out of the back of the truck.
3. Go shopping for your supplies.
4. Pre-paint your strips (if you’re painting them the same colour as the existing wall, if not, paint it all together at the very end).
5. With your stud finder, find your studs and mark them off (if you have two different coloured painter’s tape, it’s much easier) along the way. Hint: mark the studs off from top to bottom, so you only need to find the studs once.
6. Okay, ready for your cuts! First, you need to do the border, and this is where the most precise measurements are needed.
- Set your mitre saw to a 45-degree angle
- Now you must measure with the tape measure – be exact – from end to end of each end of the wall. You are essentially building a frame for the wall. For these pieces, you will have two shorter ends facing towards the inside of the wall and two longer ends facing towards the outside (think trapezoid-style). The longer ends will reach the end of the wall, and the shorter ends are there to accommodate the other board that will complete the frame.
- Draw it out, measure twice, and double-check you’re cutting the right angle.
- For each piece you finish, double-check it is a perfect fit along the wall. If it is, install it with your nail gun! If you have help, nail the end first, and work your way along the rest. If you don’t, nail the centre of the board to hold it in place, then go start at one end.
- Repeat until the frame is complete – but don’t forget always to check the fit before nailing.
7. Now it’s your design time! If your design is similar to mine, start with your long “end-to-end” pieces. You will be cutting 45-degree angles for these and measuring the same way you did for the border.
- When you measure these pieces, make sure you level them as you go for that perfect fit.
- Once your cuts are complete, and the fit is perfect, start nailing again! Whenever possible, it is ideal to start at a stud. If you are not starting at a stud or have no option to, you have the option of nailing towards the border, clipping the nail head off and hammering it in or using glue on the end of that piece. Don’t forget to take that level along the board as you’re nailing to ensure that perfect angle.
8. Next, I move to slightly larger pieces. That might mean some are against the newly installed “end-to-end” piece, and if that is the case, you will be making one 90-degree cut and one 45-degree cut (again, check the direction of your angle).
- These become more laid back in terms of size, and you don’t need to be SO exact. Provided you’re not too picky about the exact placement of these pieces, you can move each piece up or down slightly to fit perfectly level. This worked for my wall because everything is at an angle, and there are wider and shorter sections throughout your board and batten wall. This was a pivotal moment for me when I realized how quickly I could go!
- Nail each piece as you go so the next piece will fit well.
- Continue your pattern until your wall is finished!
9. The step that will make ALL the difference elevating your board and batten wall from amateur status to professional status: filling each nail hole smooth it down (sponge or sand) and caulk the seams and edges.
10. Touch up your paint job (or start and finish your paint job) and away you go!
My hot board and batten tips:
- Measure as you go, don’t cut everything all at once
- Before you start nailing, make sure the board fits and make sure it’s level – the level is your best friend
- Use 2-inch nails to make sure it went through the board, drywall and into the stud
- Sand your nail filler with a wet (but wrung out) sponge instead of sandpaper. This will save you on dust mess.
- If you’re not sure about placing the studs in the right spot, grab some liquid nails and glue the ends in place.
That’s it! You did it! I made it seem more complicated than it is but wanted to make it super easy for you to follow. I’ve also saved a highlight to my Instagram profile. Once you’ve done yours, tag me in it @signedsamanthaxo – I would love to see!