If you or your man can paint and operate a table saw, then you can do a board and batten treatment on your walls. The great thing about this treatment is that it can be as simple or as fancy as you want. We went with a very basic, sort of rustic design, which is perfect for our room. I’ve seen plenty of designs that use more trimwork or only cover part of the wall. Whichever way you like it, this is something you can do.
Here’s our “before”.
I’ll bet that most of you could figure out how to do this without our help. I’ll give you the rundown of how The Hubster and I made it happen but you’ll probably end up doing it your own way. Here’s what we used:
- 2 sheets of 3/4 MDF
- 2 inch trim nails
- Primer (Kilz because that’s what I had in the garage already)
- Paint (Fence Post by Behr in semi-gloss because I had lots left-over from painting my kitchen stools)
- White, paintable caulking
- Sand paper
- Table saw
- Miter saw
- Nail gun
If you want a more detailed cost and time breakdown, click here for those details.
Step 1: Paint the walls. It may seem illogical, but the first thing that I did was roll on two coats of the paint directly on the walls. My logic was that getting that base color on with a roller would be way faster than doing it with a roller AND brush once the wood was attached to the wall. We had flat paint on the walls in this room so I didn’t feel the need to prime (not that I ever feel the need to prime walls).
Step 2: Cut your crown pieces. The crown piece around our ceiling was cut from the 3/4″ MDF. We decided to go with a 5″ crown. No real designer-type reason. 6″ seemed too wide (if we had 9′ ceilings, I would have done 6″) and I was afraid 4″ would look like a 2×4. So we went with 5″.
Step 3: Prime and paint the crown. Since this was made from MDF, it needed to be primed. It was going to butt-up against the ceiling so I decided it would be easier to paint it before putting it on the wall. No cutting in against the ceiling.
Step 4: Hang your crown. We started in the far right-hand corner of the room and worked our way around to the left. We miter cut each board where they butted up against each other then used a nail gun with 2″ finishing nails to hang the boards. We used a power nail gun. You could do this by hand, but I don’t think I would want to. It’s a LOT of nailing. I would say rent or borrow a power nailer if you can.
You’ll end up with little gaps where the boards don’t line up perfectly. That’s OK. You’ll fix it later with caulking.
Step 5: Cut your vertical strips. We decided to go with 2″ vertical strips (the battens). Not for any good reason. It just looked right. You could go wider or skinnier depending on the look you’re going for. We used about 37 of the vertical strips.
We also cut a 45 degree angle at the bottom of each batten so that it doesn’t overhang the existing baseboard where they butt-up against each other.
Cutting MDF is MESSY!
Step 6: Prime your battens. This was the most irritating part of the project. Priming each of those strips was a pain in the wahoozit. After about 45 minutes, I figured out that you could stack a group of strips and paint all the edges at once, then lay them out side by side to paint the top surface.
Step 7: Hang your battens. We decided to hang our battens 12″ apart. It just looked right. We also did a little math ahead of time and figured out that 12″ apart meant that none of the battens landed directly on the window trim. We cut 2 pieces of wood that were 12″ long and used them as spacers. That way we weren’t having to measure each time. It also helped make sure everything was plumb (that’s the vertical version of “level”). We got the first board plumb and used a spacer at the top and bottom of each new board to make sure things were straight.
Once we got rolling, this part went quickly. Each batten needed to be cut to the right height as we went so The Hubster would do 4 or 5 at a time and we would attach them to the wall with the finish nails. Depending on your walls, you might want to use some liquid nail on each piece but ours were holding fine with just nails.
Step 8: Fill your nail holes. We used a lightweight, paintable wood filler to fill in all of the tiny little nail holes in the crown and on the battens. We also used paintable caulk to fill in an gaps in the crown seams and between the batten and the crown. I also ran a line of caulk between the top of the crown and the ceiling. It eliminated that tiny, annoying gap at the ceiling.
Step 9: Paint the whole thing. We used a brush to paint the sides of each batten and a narrow roller to do the flat surface. Since the main part of the wall was already painted, we just touched it up where needed. And don’t forget to touch up the nail holes in your crown.
And that’s about it. It wasn’t a difficult process although it did get tedious at times. Here are a couple of lessons learned through this process.
1. I’m not sure that the process of painting the wall first was the fastest way to go. I could be convinced that it would have been easier to hang all of the wood first, then prime and paint everything (including the wall) at once. It’s probably 6 of 1, half a gallon of the other. Is anyone still reading this?
2. It’s HARD to get an even finish when you use semi-gloss paint on the wall. At some point, I might repaint with satin. Shhhhhh. DON’T tell The Hubster. Surely he’s not still reading this.
3. This is addicting. I’m already dreaming of what we can board and batten next. The dining room. The master bedroom. The doghouse. We don’t even have a dog.
4. I used the word “butt” 3x in this post. Heh heh.
So what do you think? Are you dying to try this? I’d love to hear if you have plans to try it out.