DIY Accent Board and Batten Wall

If you love the look of board and batten but are uncertain on its installation ins and outs, this DIY tutorial will walk you through the process, step by step.

Board and Batten Wall

Read on and get ready to create your very own accent wall with board and batten.

What is board and batten?

Board and batten detailing makes for a charming aesthetic on walls. It has been used in interior and exterior designs for many years, adding timeless appeal and interesting architectural elements to otherwise ho-hum walls. There are myriad applications for this style; from board and batten on kitchen, walls to board and batten living room wall designs. It’s textural interest makes it a home decor favorite for a reason. 

What is the history of board and batten?

While DIY board and batten walls have become popular, this type of wall is far from new. Traditionally, board and batten was a type of building facade that complemented the housing structures of the past, and covered up seaming while producing a more stable, energy-efficient siding. This type of exterior style was used on log cabins and barns, which is why half-board and batten walls can be referred to as ‘barn siding’ at times. 

DIY Board and Batten Wall In Bathroom

DIY Board and Batten Wall In Bathroom

While board and batten wall costs can be well into the hundreds, this quick diy board and batten accent wall will save you money and give you a fun activity to do for your home. 

With a series of steps, this instructive board and batten diy wall will leave your home with a timeless touch in the matter of a day. 

Read on and get going on the creation of your very own board and batten accent wall!

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The completed DIY wall board and batten

Step 1: Clean your walls to prep for installation

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Clean your walls thoroughly.

Step 2: Remove any outlet covers

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Remove any outlet covers.

Step 3: Prime your space or the board and batten accent wall

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Prime and paint the walls.

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Note: The batten in this example will stretch from baseboard to batten molding installed just below the ceiling, so the paint was only required up to an inch or two below the ceiling. 

It’s optional to sand, prime, and paint your boards and battens now.

Step 4: Measure your walls for installation

DIY Board and Batten - prime and paintedView in gallery

When walls are thoroughly primed and painted, it’s time to install the board, which is the horizontally running board. (The up-and-down ones are the battens.)

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Choose a wall to start, and measure the distance for your board length. You can use a board and batten grid wall calculator (aka a board and batten wall calculator) for this as well. 

Once set, measure and mark your board.

Note: This tutorial uses 1/2″ thick 1×4 boards for this part.

DIY Board and Batten - marking a board to cutView in gallery

Keep in mind: When marking a board to cut, avoid marking just a line or a dot. Instead, make a “V” mark, where the point of the V hits at your cutting line. 

This improves accuracy, as you know exactly where the cut intersection should be. 

Sometimes with pencil lines marking measurements, you’re not sure which side of the pencil line is the most accurate.

Step 5: Time to cut the board and batten wall pieces!

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Chop your board.

Step 6: Test the fit of your pieces

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Use a level or, in this case, the ceiling, to keep the board lying perfectly horizontal across the face of your wall. Dry fit it to your space to make sure it fits.

Step 7: Use a stud finder before attaching the board

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Before you attach the board to the wall, use a stud finder to determine where your studs are. It’s a good idea to, when possible, attach your boards to the studs.

Step 8: Mark where the studs go

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Hold the board up with one hand (or get a helper to do it for you), then mark the stud spaces with the other. 

If you’re completing alone, first mark the studs on the wall with an X, then hold up the board in place and mark the studs on the side of the board itself. 

Step 9: Attach the board to the wall studs

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Use a brad nailer to attach the board to the wall on the studs. 

For reference, we took three.

Step 10: Repeat Above on all walls

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Repeat board installation on all walls around your room. If you’re not installing your boards at ceiling height, continue using a level and vertical measurements on all walls to ensure that you’re not creeping upward or downward as you go.

Step 11: Begin installing the batten to walls

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With the boards installed at whatever level you’ve attached them (mine are at the ceiling), it’s time to install the first batten. 

Measure your vertical distance, from the floor or the top of your baseboard (wherever the batten is touching the floor) up to the bottom edge of your board.

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Cut your batten accordingly. The board and batten grid wall here is  next to the tile are pieces of 1/2” alder that are thicker but the same width (1-3/8”) as the rest of the battens. 

This is due to the fact that the tile sticks out so far, and I wanted the batten to serve as a sort of visual border to the tile. 

A 1/4″ batten, which is what was used everywhere else, would’ve exposed too much of the tile and looked a bit odd.

Be sure to keep in mind that things will change if doing board and batten kitchen walls, or a board and batten accent wall living room. 

Step 12: Install the batten with brad nailer

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Install the batten with a brad nailer. It’s important to note that the vertical battens may or may not fall on stud lines…but probably they won’t. 

Simply nail them into place wherever they fall, using brad nails that are long enough for the drywall. 

For reference: This example uses 1-1/4” brad nails.

nicely the thicker first battenView in gallery

See how nicely the thicker first batten sort of frames out the tile? It provides a nice transition into the rest of the bathroom (or vice versa).

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And because it’s the same width as the other battens, this discrepancy is hardly noticeable.

Step 13: Install the rest of the battens

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With your boards installed and your first batten in place, it’s time to start installing the rest of the battens. If you haven’t already decided how far apart you want them, now is the time to do it.

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You can simply measure the width of your wall and make a mathematical decision based on that measurement. 

Or you can use a couple of spare bits and move them around until you get a distance that you like, that works proportionately in your space.

Step 14:  Mark your measurements for batten distance (width)

DIY Board and Batten - measureView in gallery

Make a mark at the bottom of your wall at this distance. 

Make sure, as you’re marking, that you are measuring your space consistently. As in, don’t measure a 10” gap in one section and then 10” spaces from the two battens’ right or left sides in another. Be consistent.

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Also measure the distance along the top of your batten, just under the board.

Step 15: Measure the length for the rest of the batten too

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With your spaces marked, it’s time to measure the vertical length for your batten. Measure this now, directly at the markings you just made to ensure true vertical.

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For the majority of the battens (other than the two battens abutting the tub surround tiles), I used 1/4″ deep 1-3/8” wide strips. I chose 1/4″ because I wanted a less intrusive (more visually subtle) batten look, and I also didn’t want to reinstall my baseboards, the top of which are about 1/4” deep.

Step 16: Cutting time!

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Cut your batten according to your measurement, then align it to your marking. 

If the dry fit is sound, brad nail the bottom into place.

Step 17: Align and nail into place

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Align the batten at the top, and brad nail it into place.

Step 18: Create a template for evenness between the batten

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You should now have your second batten attached at just the top and bottom. 

You’ll need to attach along the center of your batten, too, but it’s a waste of time to measure every few inches to do this. 

However, you can’t rely on the batten to lie perfectly straight, either.

work efficientlyView in gallery

To work efficiently and accurately, you’ll want to create a width template for between your battens. You can use this for every batten you place from this point on. 

Carefully measure and mark a scrap piece of wood equaling the precise distance between the bottom part of your battens. 

Measure at the bottom part, because you measured this outright so will get a more accurate reading.

Step 19: Run a test before continuing

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Cut this scrap wood and run a dry fit test. It should fit snugly and perfectly between your two battens. 

If it doesn’t, cut it again until it does. The success of your entire room’s batten beauty lies largely in the accuracy of this template guide.

Step 20: Play around for a fit and nail into place

DIY Board and Batten template up between the battens,View in gallery

Move your template up between the battens, and brad nail the new batten into place. 

You might find yourself pushing the new batten into the right or pulling it out to the left slightly in order to make it fit. That’s the whole point of the template – ensuring a perfect space between the two battens.

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Step 21:  Continue sizing batten and nailing into  the wall

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You will end up with two perfectly spaced battens. (Photo angle of this spacing makes them look a little bowed, but they are perfect in real life.)

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Continue on in this way – nailing the bottom, top, then centers – for each batten all along this wall.

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Part 2: Time to work around the outlets

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Not every wall will be perfectly straightforward.

 You might run into some obstacles, such as outlets or light switches. 

That was the case for this half-wall by the bathroom door. Your switch plates will probably still be removed from when you painted; loosely put them back on. (You don’t have to screw them on, though.)

Step 1: Make your marks

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At the place where the batten will fall (in this case, directly above the right light switch), mark with a pencil the top and bottom of your plate.

Step 2: Remove the outlet cover

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Remove the cover.

Step 3:  Make your measurements

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Measure the distance of the two batten parts – from the lower edge of your board to the top marking, and from the lower marking down to the ending point of your batten (in this case, a countertop).

Step 4: Cut and size

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Cut those batten lengths carefully. Then spin your chop saw 45”, lay your batten piece sideways, and cut off part of one end.

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This will result in part of the end being angled.

 You want to leave enough of the batten end flat, though, so as to match up more closely with the outlet or switch plate surface. 

This is just a little detail that will create a more professional-looking end product.

Step 5: Nail into place

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Place the batten pieces according to your measurements, and nail them into place.

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Part 3: Time to caulk the holes & finish up!

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With all boards and battens installed, it’s time to fill the brad nail holes. Grab some quick-drying, no-sanding-required spackling.

Step 1: Fill small nail holes first

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Place caulk on your finger to fill the brad nail holes.

Quick Tip:

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If you add a little too much spackling on accident, wipe away the excess with your thumb.

Remember, since you’re not sanding (which is a huge time-saver!), you want the finish to be perfectly smooth on this step.

Step 2: Caulk around the board and batten accent wall

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After all the brad nail holes are filled with spackling, it’s time to caulk.

You need to caulk anywhere that board or batten meets another surface – ceiling, wall, baseboard, countertop, you get the idea. Run a thin bead of caulk in your joints.

Step 3: Moisten your fingers with water

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Moisten your finger a bit with some plain old tap water.

Step 4: Run wet fingers along the caulk lines to smooth it

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Run your finger over the caulk bead, smoothing it into a nice grooved line.

Step 5: Be sure to check for evenness

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The idea is not to cover the wall and batten with caulk; rather, the idea is to connect only the seam between the two so there’s no gap. 

The less caulk you use while achieving this, the better.

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Once your spackling and caulkView in gallery

Once your spackling and caulk have dried completely, it’s time to paint. If you were able to paint your boards and battens before installing them, this is a relatively simple business of brushing paint over those spots. 

Otherwise, you’ll be left to paint everything you just installed. I recommend using a brush for all seams then a foam roller over the smooth surfaces to remove the brush strokes.

DIY Board and Batten ProjectView in gallery

Congratulations! You are all finished.

DIY Board and Batten before and after projectView in gallery

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Is board and batten worth it?

Yes, board and batten is worth the time and effort. This DIY modern board and batten accent wall will give your home a timeless look that’s both chic and covetable. What’s more, you’ll end up saving money with this board and batten wall diy project since you won’t have to outsource labor or have it installed.

Is board and batten out of style?

Nope! Board and batten is a timeless classic that can stand the test of time. Much like a modern farmhouse design, it can ebb and flow with interior design trends.

What is the purpose of board and batten?

Traditionally, board and batten full wall designs were to cover seaming on the exteriors of barns and cabins; however, now they offer a gorgeous accent wall design to any home. These board and batten interior walls create a very unique, fashionable design that will last for years to come.

How often do you have to paint board and batten?

This depends on the amount of wear and tear the board and batten will go through in your home. It’s important to note that a board and batten design in a child’s bathroom will likely need a fresh coat of paint sooner than a board and batten bedroom wall design in an adult bedroom.

Can you board and batten over stucco?

Yes! You can board and batten exterior walls. While there’s a chance the pieces won’t lay as flat, there is no hard-and-fast rule that you can’t enjoy the benefits of board and benefit on textured walls.

What is the difference between shiplap and board and batten?

The main difference between these two style is that shiplap lays horizontally and has no gaps; whereas a batten and board wall has space between the beams creating more of a wall border effect.

Conclusion:

There you have it: an in-depth, step-by-step instructional guide on making your very own board and batten wall panels. This DIY project is the perfect way to spruce up your home when you have some spare time one weekend. Whether you choose to go classic with a painted white board and batten wall or go bold with a black board and batten wall, we promise you one thing: the outcome is something you can be proud about!