DIY

Easy DIY Board and Batten Wall (Without Removing Baseboards)

about-zoe-pine-and-poplar-diy

Hi, I'm Zoe

My mission is to teach you to confidently build magazine-worthy DIYs. I used to be terrified of power tools, which is why I'm a firm believer that ANYONE can DIY.

Search the Blog

Join Thousands of Others Getting Weekly DIY Tips and Tutorials

by
March 15, 2024
Zoe Hunt

One of my favorite ways to update a space is to add an accent wall. There are so many possibilities from beadboard to shiplap to geometric designs. In this post, we want to talk about a classic design: board and batten. This tutorial will work for a traditional board and batten design as well, but we’re going to add a little twist to it. 

First, we’re doing double battens for a different take on the design. Second, we’re using ¼” wood so that the design works well with our traditional baseboards. 

If you use a typical 1×2 or 1×3 for the design and have traditional baseboards, you either have to remove and replace the baseboards, add an additional trim piece to bump the baseboard out, or look at your battens severely overhang your baseboards. 

By using these thinner pieces, the battens don’t stick out from the wall as much and barely overhang the baseboard. They still aren’t perfectly flush, but the amount they stick out is minimal and definitely not nearly as noticeable as it is when using thicker boards. 

DIY board and batten accent wall in bedroom with floral wallpaper

Alright, let’s dive in and install a board and batten accent wall! 

How to Create a Simple Board and Batten Wall 

Recommended Tools:

Shopping List: 

Our Finish: 

We used Stainmaster paint in Wedding White in a satin sheen for our accent wall. The other walls are Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige 

double board and batten accent wall in bedroom with Accessible Beige walls and floral wallpaper

STEP 1: DETERMINE THE SPACING 

The first step is arguably the most difficult. You need to determine how many battens you want. We laid our boards up against the wall to help decide how many we wanted. Ultimately, we ended up with 4 sets of battens (plus one batten in each corner). 

laying out wood pieces to determine how many board and battens to include

Our wall was just shy of being 114” wide, so our spacing between batten pairs was about 18.5”. 

Once you determine how many battens you want, you can head over to this board and batten calculator to determine the spacing between the boards.

Since we are doing double battens with a 1.5” gap between the boards, we entered our battens as being 4.5” wide. We also had to add 6” to our overall room length since the calculator puts a full batten width in each of the corners and we were only putting (1) 1.5” batten in each corner. 

As you’re determining your spacing, be sure that your spacing avoids outlets or other obstacles like ethernet ports. 

board and batten spacing in room with 8' ceilings

STEP 2: CUT YOUR BOARDS 

Once you determine the spacing, you need to determine the height. We cut our battens to be 59.5” tall. The main reason for this was so that we could get away with only needing one roll of the wallpaper that we placed above the board and batten wall. 

For reference, the ceiling height in this room was 8’. With the baseboards and the 1×3 on top, our final height of the board and batten from the ground was 65.5”. 

Cut your battens to this height. We actually ran out of full-length battens because we were originally planning on having less battens on the wall. 

To fix this, we spliced together two pieces to create a single batten. To do this, you’ll cut one side of each of the two boards at a 45-degree angle and slide the angled sides on top of one another. 

joining two pieces together for an accent wall

One thing to note is that we did cut all of our boards to the same height ahead of time, but you may run into issues by doing this if your baseboards are not level all the way across. 

Free download wood sizing cheatsheet

STEP 3: INSTALL THE BATTENS

We will NOT be using any sort of glue for installation. The nails and caulk will be enough to hold on your design. If you add glue and decide to take the wall design down later, you’ll be stuck with extensive drywall repair before you are able to repaint. 

The key to installation without glue is nailing at alternating angles. Instead of nailing all of your pieces straight in, you’ll nail slightly angled to the right and then to the left and then up and then down as you work your way up each board. 

nailing at an angle to secure board and batten boards to the wall

This will “lock” your nails in so that you can’t just pull the batten straight out. 

Before you start this step: a warning. Behind your walls may be plumbing or electrical or other things besides just studs. Any time you are nailing into a wall (even just to hang a picture frame), you should be aware of what’s behind your walls. There is always a chance that you might hit something that might end up needing to be repaired. 

Another warning: if you are installing your board and batten on an outside corner, proceed with extra caution! We learned the hard way when installing our DIY faux brick accent wall that outside corners usually have a piece of metal on the outside. Hit that with a nail and it might “explode” out the side. 

Alright, now that the warnings are out of the way, let’s get to it. 

For the battens, we will be using 1” nails. Since drywall is generally ½” thick and our battens are ¼” thick, this will leave just ¼” going beyond the drywall. Most electrical wires are run between the studs about an 1” into the wall. 

Start by installing your first batten in the corner. Place your batten on the baseboard and add a nail near the bottom of the batten. 

Place a level on the side of the batten to ensure it’s straight. Not all walls are straight, so it’s best to use a level rather than just pushing it up against the wall. If there are gaps, you can caulk it later. Once it’s level, add a few more nails to fully secure it. We added a nail every 12-18”, but there’s no official “rule” to follow.

leveling the board and batten pieces

The battens in the corners are where we pieced two boards together to get the look. You can see how the boards slide together with the angles. We’ll add wood filler to the seamless and sand off the excess to make it unnoticeable. 

caulk vs. wood filler and spackle placement

Once your corner battens are installed, measure where you need to place the next batten and repeat the installation process of placing it on the baseboard, adding a nail to keep it in place, leveling the batten, and nailing the rest up at alternating angles. 

For the double battens, we cut a small piece from one of the battens to use as a spacer. Place the spacer next to the batten you just installed and then place the second batten next to it. Nail in place. 

using scrap wood as spacer between battens

Slide the spacer up and push the second batten so that it’s flush with the spacer as you nail it in. 

Once the second batten is installed, you can measure to the starting point of your next batten and repeat until your entire wall is done. 

STEP 4: INSTALL THE TOP BOARD

For the top board, we used a 1×3, but you could also use a thinner board here as well if you wanted your battens and the top board to be flush. 

Before installing the top board, mark the studs. Since this board spans all the way across the top, you can actually install it into the studs. 

Place your top board on the battens and nail it into the studs. Since this wood was thicker, we used 1.5” nails on this board. 

If your room is too long and you need to piece two boards together, you can use the same technique we discussed earlier and cut your boards at a 45-degree angle and slide them together. 

nailing 1x3 on top of double board and batten

STEP 5: CAULK, SPACKLE, PAINT

If you want a professional looking project, you do not want to skip these finishing steps. This is what’s going to take your project from looking good enough to looking great. 

prepping board and batten for paint

First, fill any nail holes and seams with spackle or wood filler. Make sure to overfill the holes and gaps. They say the wood filler/spackle doesn’t shrink, but it does shrink slightly when it dries, so you want to overfill it. 

Once dry, sand off the excess. I like to close my eyes and run my fingers over the seams and areas I filled. If I can feel where there areas are, I still have more sanding to do. If it’s seamless, I’m good to go. 

Once you’ve gotten everything sanded down, wipe things down so that you don’t get dust in your caulk. 

Apply caulk to any area where a piece of wood meets the wall. Even if it doesn’t look like there are any gaps, add a bead of caulk for a seamless finish. 

caulking sides of board and batten

Once the caulk is dry, you can paint your wall. If you opted to use non-primed boards, be sure to prime the wood first and then lightly sand before painting. Without primer, the wood grain tends to flash through in certain lighting. 

There you have it! This was a small accent wall, but to install the battens themselves, we were able to get everything up in less than 10 minutes (literally). The longest part of this project is the planning and the painting. 

install this board and batten text overlay on image of 2/3 board and batten wall treatment

So now that you’ve seen how quickly you can make a big impact in a space, where are you going to add board and batten to your home?

Add a comment
+ show Comments
- Hide Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join the List

Our mission: give you the resources to build magazine-worthy furniture.

First up? Sharing the 5 key steps to getting started with DIY.

 Get  the best DIY tutorials, project inspiration, and  DIY tips sent straight to your inbox weekly.

Get My Getting Started with DIY Guide as a free gift!

Find your next project

Premium, printable plans

3D renderings, detailed shopping lists, cut lists displayed two ways (both in chart form and visually), AND a bonus SketchUp file. Printable plans don't get better than this.

See the plans
diy with confidence

Our Courses

Whether you're just getting started or you're a seasoned DIYer who's ready to unlock the full potential of DIY, our courses are here to help.

SEE OUR COURSES

Instagram

Join us for project tutorials, behind-the-scenes, and quick DIY tips and tricks.

@pineandpoplardiy