Board and Batten Complete!

March 3, 2011

At last, it is done.  Oh my word I am so loving this wall treatment in my little boy’s room!  I’ve always loved the paint color (Valspar’s ‘La Fonda Villa Fountain’), yet somehow this wall treatment not only mellows all the intense teal blue but also provides such beautiful contrast.  Heart!

I know there are so many ‘how to’ tutorials in blog land about board and batten, and truly they are all worth reading.  Everyone has a different approach.  I installed this same wall treatment last month in my friend Mia’s loft, and finally had the opportunity to install board and batten around an entire bedroom in our house.

Pay no attention to the variance in color from scene to scene you’re about to see.  These pictures were taken in the brightest morning light and under the dimmest incandescent light over the course of several weeks ~ basically whenever I could get around to working on this project.  Want to know how we did it?  I’ll tell ya!

Obviously we started with a blank wall like this:

window wall before


Midway through the madness the room looked like this:

boys room


Then we got it closer to this:

panels plus battens


And now this:

under window bandb

Ack, what the heck?

This is the section under the window, but (duh) I never captured it at any other angle.  You’ll have to wait for the room reveal to see this wall, but I have more ‘final’ pics of the other walls at the end, just scroll down.  But first, the play by play.


Dealing with Baseboards:

One of the first things anyone must think about when installing board and batten is the baseboards.  Depending on how thick your battens (the vertical strips) are, they will overhang most existing baseboard.  What to do?  Well, you can roll with it and let them extend out beyond the baseboard, or you can replace your baseboard.  This time, I did something in between.

I reused my existing baseboard, but I trimmed them to accommodate the battens.  The existing baseboard is ½ inch thick but it had a decorative lip or trim on top.  It came to me in the middle of the night, why I didn’t need to replace my baseboard, I could just repurpose it if I trimmed it!

I decided to cut out that top decorative trim with my Dremel MultiMax.  It worked great, but it was really slow.  And I kept having to stop to recharge my battery.  I’m an impatient gal in these circumstances, so instead I popped off the baseboards and simply ran them through a table saw, borrowed from a friend.

dremel multimax baseboards


Here’s a peek at what they looked like after we ripped them on the table saw.  The same baseboards, just trimmed.  Look how those battens line up perfectly now!

Momma happy.

new baseboards


To Panel or Not to Panel, That is the Question

Plenty of people don’t bother with paneling the lower half of the wall when installing board and batten.  I’m cool with that.  If you have smooth walls, there is no need.  But as I recently explained, this room has orange peel textured walls, and that just wasn’t going to fly with me.  When we added wainscoting to our living room, we used 4’ x 8’ dry erase boards from Lowes to panel the bottom part of the wall (no kidding), and we did it again in this room.  These panels are 1/8” thick; thin enough to set on top of the baseboards, but perfect for covering texture and providing a smooth surface below.  And they only cost $12 bucks each, yo.

My local Lowes also carries tongue & groove panels and beadboard panels in 4’ x 8’ sheets, so if you prefer that style of paneling, look for it in the lumber department.

You have to notch out wherever the electrical sockets are on the lower sections of your wall.  Again, the Dremel MultiMax comes in handy, but in the past we’ve used a jig saw too.  A really sharp box cutter will work as well.

dremel multimax cut out socket


Always use outlet spacers (as with any paneling like beadboard, tongue and groove, etc.) to extend your sockets, and consult an electrician if necessary.

outlet spacers


Apply some construction adhesive to the back of your panel . . . .

panel adhesive

. . . then use a brad nailer to attach the panels to the wall.

Pa bang! Pa bang! Pa bang!

Love that sound.

brad nailer apply panels


If you measure precisely, your cutout will be covered by your socket plate.  Notice those sassy spacers to the left, bringing florescent back!

socket before and after


Rails, Battens, Shelves and Other Details

Above the paneling, we installed a 2 ½” thick horizontal rail with our finish nailer, then cut the 2” pre-primed MDF battens to fit underneath, attaching them with the brad nailer.

If you don’t own a brad nailer, don’t sweat it.  You do not need one to complete this project.  You can use good old fashioned hammer and nails, it will just take you a bit longer.

brad nailer on battens

You can see in this picture how the boards truly are dry erase boards, I let the kids doodle on them for a just a day.

dry erase boards

And I managed to repair those holes too.

Above the paneling is the 2 ½” rail, then below are the 2” battens, cut to the proper height with a compound miter saw, and spaced 12” apart.

panels plus battens


I like to fill seams with caulking and patch holes with spackling.  Caulking will shrink, so you might have to apply it more than once.  I always keep a wet rag handy because caulking is paintable, but not sandable, so make sure you wipe it off any surface where you don’t want it to dry.

caulk seams


Brad and finish nail holes are easily patched with spackling.



The pre-primed MDF rails and battens don’t need primer, but the dry erase board panels do.  Be sure to use a primer that will adhere to slick or glossy surfaces!  In this case, I choose Zinsser’s Bulls Eye 123 Primer (Water Based) in the blue can.

sticks to slick surfaces

Then I finished it all off with a coat of Benjamin Moore’s ‘Dove White’.

bed wall 3


boys room shelf wall


As a final note, we also installed a small shelf above the rail with cove molding ~ I explain the installation in greater detail in this post on basic board and batten.

If you opt for any shelf above your board and batten wall treatment, study where it will end as it wraps around the room.  Naturally it will stick out if it ends on a window or a door frame so be prepared for that!

protruding shelf


I’m not too worried about it.  I see greater value in the display space, since my boy will be using his ledge to hoist his sails . . .

clipper ship 2


If you want to see the full room tour with the board and batten fully complete, check out this boy’s room tour!

What about you?  Have you installed any board and batten or wainscoting in your home?  Got any tips or tricks you’d like to share ?




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