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Board and Batten... Scratch that, just Batten

Updated: Oct 18, 2019


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So, part of the reason behind being such a DIY freak (gosh that word has such a negative connotation, but I wear it with pride) is that DIY projects are a great way to customize my home. It puts my own stamp on it. If you view most custom homes, you will see lots of unique aspects, and in particular, different trim features. And in my humble opinion... one of the most effective ways to add a custom trim feature? Board and batten. Now, if you aren't familiar with the term, don't feel bad. I didn't know what it was called either. So if you aren't familiar, board and batten are the feature walls that you'll see all the time in dining rooms or foyers where the trim pieces kind of box out different sections on the wall. In most cases, you attach a board to the wall and then put the trim pieces (batten) on top. Most cases. In OUR case, however, we are just sticking to good ole' batten alone. Skipping the board all together. I'm talking about one of our most recent projects: the completion of a batten wall feature in our foyer and guys, let me tell you... I walk through my foyer way more than I need to in order to take a peek, because I love it that much.

You may be wondering why we skipped the board part, and so here's the skinny: First off, and to be totally transparent, it made our lives easier. Are you surprised that I opted for easy? Well, if you recall previous posts from here and here, you probably aren't shocked. Secondly, we have really smooth walls. Some homes have textured walls, but since we don't have that feature in our home, going without the board is a pretty easy change up, and no one will ever be the wiser. Except everyone who reads this now (face palm). So, on to the project at hand. First off, you'll need to gather supplies, and if you are like me and don't have much time to get to the store, you can always order online and... SUPRISE! You can get free shipping from good ole Home Depot right here. Anyways, in regards to supplies for this particular project, in our case, we went with ...


-1x3 pre-primed (remember that whole "easier" things? These help with that later) pine boards

-1x4 pine base board (pre-primed)

-1x2 pine trim board (pre-primed)

-wood filler

-fine grit sand paper

-paintable caulk

-paint color of choice

-finish nailer


First off, and though optional, this will make your life a LOT easier: Paint the wall underneath. Trust me. It is SO much easier to worry about painting only the trim pieces afterwards rather than getting into every section with the roller. Easy enough, right? Right.


Once that's painted, you will want to measure and do your cuts. Here's where a little creative thinking comes in. You are going to want to decide how far apart you want your trim pieces. In many cases, people tend to choose to place their boards 16 or 24 (or a multiple of) inches apart. The reason being is that most houses' studs are 16" or 24' apart from each other. The area that we were working on was small, so this detail didn't matter quite as much as it would if we were working on a larger scale. For our purposes, the easy choice was to place two trim pieces on the outside edges, one in the middle, and two boards centered on each of the sides of the middle piece. This was really our personal preference, and it's up to you how you want your finished product to turn out.

So, once that was decided, we could measure and cut, and attach the trim pieces to the wall. "Measure twice and cut once," in the words of my wise husband, and if I ever actually listened to this advice... well, I would make a lot less mistakes. But, since he was helping me with this one, we didn't really have that problem. Adhering the trim pieces to the wall is pretty self explanatory. We removed the base board (this step is also optional and personal preference) and we then attached the top and bottom pieces, using our finish nailer to nail into the studs behind the drywall. If you don't have a finish nailer... well, you are going to want to borrow or rent one, to be totally honest. Nailing by hand is unfortunately just not going to give you the finished uniform look that makes these projects so pretty in the end.

Once the horizontal pieces were attached, we were able to attach the vertical ones. And I think it goes without saying, but for all of these pieces: LEVEL, LEVEL, LEVEL. NOT all walls are created level. So just double and triple check that your boards are level. If you are looking for a level that I happen to love and adore, check this one out here. No one wants a crooked batten wall, am I right?

And the good news? Once you get your pieces hung, you are almost done! But I did say almost.

After a first round of wood filler and sanding, I repeated as necessary until I could no longer see the seams like you can here

The next steps are SUPER important, so don't skim on these, folks. Wood fill those holes. A teeny tiny bit goes a long way, and you will want to overfill just a touch so that you can sand it down. And then there's the caulk. Are you listening? Because this is VERY important. You may remember from this feature wall that I did not, in fact, need to use caulk. That was in large part because of the size of our boards (small) and the color of our wall (black). Gaps likely won't show as much with small boards on a black wall. But you know where they will show? On a light colored batten wall. So go ahead and caulk every edge. Yep, I said every. Now, this is definitely my husband's department, but if you are looking for a quick tutorial on it, you will want to head over here. Once everything is all dried (and you are definitely going to want to give the filler and caulk ample time to dry), you can sand down the filler and repeat as necessary. It will really pay off to make sure that you continue to add filler and sand until smooth. That will ensure that you achieve a smooth and uniform look.


Lastly, go ahead and paint the trim pieces! A brush will suffice for the corners and edges, but if you want an extra smooth look without the brush strokes, give this one a whirl. Just as a side note, I ALWAYS recommend two coats of paint. Always. Even if the can says otherwise. Because if the can says you only need one coat, the can is LYING. Just do yourself a favor and throw on a second coat.

So get AFTER it, ladies and gents! Go customize your homes! This one is a little more detailed, so as always- never, ever (ever, ever) hesitate to reach out to me by leaving a comment, or visit me here with any questions at all! If I can't answer them myself, I can certainly steer you in the direction of someone who can.



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