I have a thing for board and batten. I always have. Especially since my late husband and I were working on our first board and batten project in our dining room when he died. I finished that project with the help of my dad and my father-in-law and it turned out so beautifully. I knew that if I ever had a home of my own again someday, I’d want to do another DIY board and batten project somewhere in the house.
Ever since I moved into my new house, I have been itching to get some DIY projects done. My new home is such a blessing. I didn’t think I would be able to be a homeowner on my own after my husband died. So having a home, and a really well-built, three-year-old house to boot, was more than I thought I’d ever have only a couple of years into this widowhood journey.
As beautiful as this house already is, it is still pretty basic, as most suburban homes are. So I knew I would love to add my own touches to the place to add character and style. The problem is that my budget is even tighter now that it’s just me and the kids. DIY projects seem like a luxury I might not be able to afford as often, so I have to be choosy about them.
Once I moved into my new place, I knew where I’d want the board and batten: my entryway hall. I knew it would be relatively inexpensive and it would be a good starter project for me to do on my own. I wanted to add some character to the first space that was seen upon someone entering my home. And I also wanted to add functionality to the space. So I went back to the research I had used for my first DIY board and batten project (I used this post as my inspiration) and priced out my supplies and got to work. And here’s how I did it:
Easy Entryway Board and Batten
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- 12 1X4X8 pine boards (for the top and bottom boards and the battens)
- 4 1X2X8 pine boards (for the corners and top ledge)
- paintable caulk
- caulk gun
- 1 gallon Valspar Signature Paint + Primer (untinted)
- 1 gallon Valspar Signature Paint + Primer in Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore
- 7 black hooks
- stud finder
- miter saw
- sanding block
- brad nailer
- air compressor
- 2″ brad nails
- wood filler
- small foam rolling paint kit
- large roller paint kit
- angled paint brush
- The first thing I did was spackle any holes in the walls and let them dry. Then I painted the entire hallway with the Grey Owl paint. I only painted the top half of the wall where my board and batten was going to be installed so as not to waste paint.
- Once the paint was dry, I measured 65″ from the top of my baseboards and made marks along the wall where I intended to install the board and batten. This indicated where the top of my top board would be when installed.
- Then, using my brad nailer, I nailed a 1X4X8 board across the wall. It wasn’t long enough to span the entire wall so I measured a second board against the unfilled space, marked it, and cut it with my miter saw. I installed that piece with my braid nailer.
- Next up was installing the battens. First, though, I installed two “half battens” in the corners on each side of the wall. The reason I did this was because installing a whole 1X4 batten looked too chunky in the corners. I decided to use 1X2 boards in the corners to give it a finished look without the chunkiness. This is an optional step. You can leave battens off the corners or you can use full size battens if you prefer. See Step 6 for how I go about cutting battens.
- Now it’s time to measure the space between the corner battens and plan where to place the rest of the battens. I did this strategically. I wanted to avoid having to place a batten over the light switch or electrical outlet that ran along that wall. It’s not that I couldn’t have cut a notch in a batten to accommodate the outlet, I just didn’t really want to. So I determined that by placing the battens about 13.5″ apart, I was able to get six evenly spaced battens (in addition to the “half battens”) on my wall without running into the light switch or outlet. Hooray!
- Because I’m lazy, I knew I was going to keep my current baseboard. Since the battens I’m using were thicker than the baseboard, I decided to cut the bottom of the battens off at a 45 degree angle to give it a more finished look. When cutting my battens, my process is really, really simple but effective. For those of you who like to measure and cut…please feel free. Since I don’t do numbers or math (I’m more of an “eyeball it” kinda girl), my process is this: cut a chunk off the bottom at a 45 degree angle, fit angled bottom against baseboard, straighten with help of a level, and mark on the batten board where I need to cut to fit it under the top board. Straight cut with miter saw at the mark. Install batten on wall with my brad nailer. Repeat with other battens.
- Once all the battens were installed, I installed a 1X2X8 flat across the top of the top board to make a narrow ledge. Again, the board was not long enough to span the width of the wall so I used part of a second board to fill the gap. I attached the ledge to the top edge of the top board using my brad nailer.
- Finally, it was time to install the bottom board. First I determined where I wanted the bottom board in relation to the bottom of the top board. This became an easy decision because I decided to rest the bottom of the bottom board against the top of the light switch so I wouldn’t have to cut a notch (read: lazy girl hack). That turned out to be about 8.75″ from the bottom of the top board. So then I started cutting batten board to install into each space between battens. To do this I measured the space between the battens (about 13.5″), marked a 1X4 board, cut with the miter saw, and then installed each small piece (using a level) with my brad nailer.
- Finally, all the boards were installed! Now it’s time to fill all the nail holes with wood filler, let it dry, then sand it until the holes were even with the wood around it.
- Then, using the paintable caulk and caulk gun, run a thin bead of caulk along EACH AND EVERY gap between the wood and the wall and the pieces of wood. This step might seem optional, but IT’S NOT. Once you get paint on this project, the tiny little gaps in the wood will stick out like a sore thumb. To get a seamless finish, make sure you caulk everything. This is a messy step for me because I have found the best tool for smoothing out the bead of caulk is my first finger. Classy, I know, but it works. Just be sure to have a lot of rags or paper towels on hand.
- Once your caulk is dry, it’s time to start painting! I used a gallon of Valspar’s paint and primer with no tint in an eggshell finish. I found it to be the perfect true white. Working in sections, I used my paintbrush to paint the boards and get in the tough corners. Then I immediately smoothed everything out with paint with my small foam roller brush. This way, you’ll get nice coverage from the paintbrush and then you “erase” the brush strokes with the foam roller. I put three coats of paint on the board and batten because bare wood tends to soak up paint.
- Almost done! Once your board and batten is dry, touch up any areas that need it with the Gray Owl paint (for me, the wall by the top ledge and the corners got a little white paint on them).
- Finally, install the hooks to the bottom boards in between the battens. Now step back and admire what you’ve done!
That wasn’t too difficult, was it? And look how great it turned out! I love how much character I have in my entryway now. Not only does it bring life to this high-traffic area, it adds a lot of function with the hooks and my antique church pew. I also love that the ledge is wide enough that I can lean different sized frames along the entire wall if I want to. I really love how it came together and now I can’t wait to tackle more DIY projects in our new house!