Do-it-yourself Board and Batten

Board and batten is a great way to upgrade a boring room while not spending a fortune. Well, it is expensive if you decide to not go the DIY route. Luckily, it is very doable for homeowners with some home improvement experience.

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Easy steps for DIY board battenPlanning is by far the most important step of the project. First, take a look at the walls and see if there is any texture. If there is no texture, you can opt not to put a backing board on the wall and simply paint the spaces inside the battens white to match the woodwork. If there is texture, you’ll need to either cover the wall with 1/4″ plywood or replace the drywall with 1/2″ plywood. I’ve done it both ways and I would highly recommend replacing the bottom 4 feet of drywall with plywood (i.e. 4ft is the standard width of plywood sheets). It will give you a lot more material to nail into, takes less time, and looks better. The 1/2″ boards will cost more but it is worth it.

Next, measure the perimeter of the room and subtract the areas that won’t be changed (e.g. closets, doors, etc.). Then determine how far apart you’d like the battens, which are the vertical boards. I picked 2 feet from center to center. This worked well because the plywood sheets are 8 feet long and then the battens will cover the gaps in between sheets.

Shopping list

  • Plywood
  • Baseboard (usually a bit wider than the battens and top board)
  • Battens and top board
  • Cap board (i.e. I used a 1×2 board)
  • Quarter round
  • Faceplate covers for outlets (i.e. I got paintable wood faceplates so it would match the wood)
  • Nails/screws
  • Liquid nails (i.e. only if you decide to cover the drywall with plywood)
  • Paintable caulking
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Tyler Golberg

Tyler is the founder of Home Maintenance Tracker and a writer for HomeSpot HQ, an easy to use tool for managing maintence and projects for every house.