How to Install Board and Batten Tutorial

December 05, 2014

Step by step how to add board and batten trim tutorial. 

I’m back today with a quick tutorial on a project I’ve shared a few times here on the old blog…but I don’t know that I’ve really shared the step by step. Maybe I have…I’m 1300+ posts in here so it gets fuzzy.

But even if I have, it’s been awhile. So here you go – the simple board and batten tutorial for your walls. Mine have a little extra going on at the top and bottom but you can simplify that look to how you’d like it.

We have a small wall between the bay window and new doors that I couldn’t finish up till the doors went in. I decided to tackle it about four hours before we had 20 people arriving at our house last weekend. Perfect timing, duh!

This is what I started with:

how to install board and batten

Now that I’ve done this a few times I always start at the top. The patches on the wall were from a speaker we didn’t need and a hole they had to make to run some electrical. These spots really need another coat of mud but I was tired of this area looking half way done…so they were painted. I’ll fix that later. :)

This pic really shows the difference in the new and old paint by the way. The bottom is the Sisal we had up for ten years, the top is Analytical Gray that we’ve used throughout the main floor of our house.

Here’s a close up of the top piece – it’s actually three pieces of wood/mdf:

board and batten trim details

The mdf is the main piece along the bottom, there’s a 1x2 on top (either wood or mdf – I usually use mdf but I was using what I had in my scrap pile) and then a small decorative trim piece in the corner those two create.

I don’t always add that little trim – in our mud room I did a similar topper and just left it without for a simpler look: beadboard

Here’s a profile of how it comes together:

board and batten trim

I haven’t touched it up yet, obviously. ;) You can do a nicer “return” at the end and most of the time I do that – but I’m not sure if I’m adding this trim around the bay window area with the window seat or not. So I just did a straight cut and I think that’s fine too.

The bottom is a little more complicated – I did the office base like this and had to match the rest of the room to it when we took the wall down:

covering baseboards

I did it this way because our original baseboards are so impossible to remove – so I just cover them up. I shared how I’ve done this with a simpler look here. Here the guys removed the base when they installed the new door so I had to use scrap behind it to mimic the look around the room. I prefer no quarter round lately but I had to use it here. (This is actually isn’t quarter, it’s a slightly thinner trim.)

So that’s why it’s so busy down there – and I do this so that the boards have a flat surface to butt up against at the bottom. Otherwise they will most likely be thicker than your baseboards – not a big deal really. But if the overhang will bother you you’ll want to adjust/remove your current baseboards.

Anyway…before I install I’ve learned it’s easiest to paint the wall first: board and batten tutorial

It takes me three coats to get it covered well. I just use the base white from Sherwin Williams – I believe it’s called Pure White. I will also use a basic semi gloss white off the shelf at the hardware store.

The long boards go second:

 board and batten tutorial

I’ve done this both ways – the longer boards first and the topper second, but I find I can get a tighter fit if I do these second. (I can get it just right so I don’t have gaps.)

The horizontal, shorter boards go last:

how to install board and batten

My spacing around the room has been 10 inches down from the topper. Of course that was brilliant spacing because it hits every. single. switch. :) I just do that section in three pieces – I’ve tried using a jigsaw to cut the notch for the switch plate but I can’t cut that straight – it’s not pretty.

This works much better. After caulk, nail filler and two coats of paint on the boards, it’s ready!:

how to install board and batten

The baseboards will continue to the window seat so that area is undone for the time being. I’m finishing up the crown extension this weekend so that wall will be completely done!

Again, this is not a hard project – it just takes time. I used some scrap and some new mdf for this section. One eight foot piece get’s you one board (more if you’re making yours shorter) and at least one batten. ;)

It looks crisp and clean and pretty with the newly decorated shelves in the kitchen:

metal shelves in kitchen

And of course this wall now matches the family room next door, finally! Yay! 

I’ve been waiting so long to get that little wall finished up!:

family room board and batten wallsGoodness, it takes forever to get these little projects finished up! Good thing I LOVE doing it!

So there you go, a quick how-to on that classic board and batten look. 

Have you done this treatment on your walls? If you have any questions please let me know! Have a GREAT weekend my friends! 

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  1. It turned out great! So funny that you tackled that before guests came over! Where do you get the energy?
    Kim ~

  2. It looks so pretty! I plan on doing our upstairs hallway soon--I like your tip about painting the wall first :)

  3. Thanks for the tutorial! I am hoping to tackle this soon in our entryway. A couple questions: How tall are your ceilings? how tall is the board and batten? are you happy with the height? Would you change it if you could?

    1. Our ceilings are nine feet and this trim is about five feet high. I love the height -- the only thing that's harder with this look is putting art above it. Not everything looks right, you have to find what works.

  4. Love this and everything you do. When you attach the battens, do you use any adhesive or just nails. I'm sure you caulk, but how do they stay with only nails and no studs to attach to?

    1. If you are 100 percent sure it's staying like that forever glue is fine. But just regular (long) nails are enough to hold them in place without studs. Make sure your boards are straight -- that will help them stay in place as well. :)

  5. I have a soft spot for board and batten! If I had it my way I'd have it in every room of the house! Your house looks beautiful as always!! Love seeing what your next project is!
    Xo, Kathy@The Daily Nest

  6. Your board and batten looks fabulous. I'm a huge fan of board and batten and have DIY'ed a lot of my house in a similar way. Love it!!! :) Julie

  7. So pretty! Do you use semi-gloss paint for the wall and boards? Thanks!

  8. Love this look - What's the height measurement (floor to top) and what is the spacing measurement you used between battens? Perfect timing for this tutorial because I'm going to be doing this treatment to my dining room. Love your blog

    1. Thank you! The height is about five feet and the spacing depends on your wall. When I first did this I did the spacing the same throughout the room, but now I prefer to just tackle each wall individually. If you do the former you can end up with weird spots near doors and windows. Most of mine are about a foot apart, but on some walls they are slightly more.

  9. Just in time! I've been thinking about giving this a try, starting with my powder room. I just wonder how much practice I'll need before it comes out looking as nice as yours. Thanks!

  10. Exactly what I want to do in my dining room. You house is amazing. Thanks for the tutorial!
    Also, may I ask where you purchased the black shelving unit in the picture. I love it! Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much! I talk about that and link to it here:
      I love it!

  11. Wow! That adds a lot to the room.

  12. Really nice! I have a suggestion, on the first pic could you have put 2 battens in center and the outer 2 reaching floor. Thought it would look even more uniform. All very inspiring!

    1. Thanks Linda! I only have the one by the door going all the way down because it's the door trim. Otherwise I like them to butt up against the baseboard. :)

  13. It looks great! In fact, I love your wall color. I'd like to paint my foyer this color. Did you use Sherwin Williams for the wall? Is it a grayish/tan? Thanks so much for answering my questions and by the way, I LOVE your blog!!:)

    1. Thank you!! Yes it's a SW color called Analytical Gray and it's lovely!

  14. How wide are the boards? I can't decide between 3" and 4" wide for a project I'm tackling later this week.

  15. Sarah, I love board and baton and am considering this for a large wall in our living room (spring/summer project : ) ), do you have textured walls and did you just paint white over the area or add a thin board to make it smooth?

  16. This is exactly what I want to do in my foyer. I do have a question. How do you finish the open edge? My edge would be at the end of a wall that would be visible into the living room and the board and batten wouldn't continue around. I'm stumped as to how to make the edge look nice and finished. Thanks!


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