Ah! Week 4 of the One Room Challenge and I am tackling the board and batten wall in the living room!
I am not a carpenter and I am not equipped with the right tools for the job, but that didn’t stop me from doing this project! I watched a few reels with tips for how to successfully install a board and batten wall. I borrowed my dad’s miter saw and the neighbors nail gun and winged the rest!
Luckily, last week I sketched out the wall and calculated what size boards I needed to purchase. Then, I went to Home Depot and bought my supplies. After that, they sat in the garage until this week! But it made me feel ahead of the game to have them purchased and in my possession!
Board and Batten Wall Game Plan
Picking the Height of the Board and Batten
I started by measuring the height for where I wanted the board and batten wall. I used the horizontal boards from the closet door as a starting point for the height of the board and batten. I then used painters tape to tape that off and painted the bottom section Creamy by Benjamin Moore. I had picked this color simply because that is what all of our doors and trim are painted in, Creamy by Benjamin Moore. There was even a couple paint cans in the basement! That saved me from trying to determine what color it was and saved me from having to buy any paint!
Practice Run on Spacing the Battens
I did have some scrap boards in the garage and I laid those out to just get a little visual on how the wall would look. I did this BEFORE I went to purchase the boards. The main thing I discovered? I lined up the battens (vertical boards) and of course one went right over an outlet!
Next, I waited for my neighbor to have his garage door open so I could go see if he had a nail gun! You see in our subdivision all of the garages back to an alley. I painted my “feature” wall using his ladder and learned that he works for a wood working magazine! Guess what that means? He has tools AND his girls said he had skills, so that is a win for me! I told him that I used to go across the road and ask my dad for tools or help, but…dad is now a couple hours away!
So, the day I got the nail gun, was the day I decided to tackle the project. I wanted to be a good neighbor and borrow stuff for the shortest time possible! Let’s face it, I will probably want to borrow something in the future, so I wanted to keep everyone happy! Luckily I had thought ahead and borrowed my dad’s saw! It was sitting in the garage, waiting for me to be ready!
Creating a Tapered Edge On The Batten Boards
I pretty much took my sketch for the board and batten wall and threw it in the trash. I was not going to put a batten at the outlet, so I decided to just start to the side of the outlet. I put the outlet cover in place and lined up my batten. Before I nailed it in place I realized that the batten boards were slightly thicker than the baseboard.
I studied my dad’s miter saw. I watched YouTube videos. All in the hopes of figuring out how to turn the saw blade so that I could cut at an angle the bottom of the batten boards. Turning them vertical wouldn’t work because the blade wasn’t long enough.
Luckily my savvy brain decided I would just try using the sander. I just didn’t have confidence in turning the saw blade and then actually getting it back straight and level! Thankfully a reader had commented about my sander in an earlier post! I was having problems with my sanding paper sticking to my sander. Every time I used the sander, the sanding paper would shoot off! I refused to buy a new sander when it worked, other than the paper staying on! Umm…kind of an important part of making the sander work! But, turns out you can buy just the little pad that the sand paper Velcro’s too!! Eek! THIS is what I needed for my SANDER.
So while I ordered it awhile back, I hadn’t actually replaced the part on my sander. It took a couple minutes to switch THIS out and then I started sanding. With coarse sand paper I angled the sander at the end batten board. It quickly and easily sanded the corner at an angle! The next trick was to get the same look on EVERY batten board. Honestly it was very easy to do. While I’m sure it’s not perfect, it will look great once hung on the wall and painted.
Pre-painting My Board and Batten Wall
After I created the tapered ends. I decided to paint the boards. I knew that they would need another coat, but I thought painting them before they were hung might be easier. I painted the wall with a normal size roller, but I used a short roller, maybe 3″ wide for the trim boards. One like THIS.
Spacing the Boards for the Board and Batten Wall
I also cut a spacer board to make the spacing between the batten boards even. And using the spacer would be much quicker than using the tape measure. Next, I worked from each direction from that initial board and nailed those in one at a time. I was just trusting it would work without really measuring to see where the boards would go.
As I got to the doorway, I continued to measure the same way, even though there wasn’t a wall. I ended up using one fewer board by starting my boards to the side of the outlet instead of when I sketched it, I was starting the batten boards at the doorway. With rounded corners on the dry wall I thought the boards would make a nice finished edge. But, even with this new game plan the board and batten wall looked well designed!
So, with the first board nailed up, I continued to work from each side of that initial board, used the level and spacer and nailed them in place.
Hanging the Horizontal Board
Next, I needed the top board. Hubby was happy to inform me that instead of nailing two boards butted up to each other that I should have just bought a longer board. Well, by the time he told me this it was much too late to do anything about and I figured wood filler would do the trick. He also made note that I could have mitered the edges. So, if I ever do a project like this again, I will remember both of these suggestions!
Pictured above is to show you why I rarely use painters tape.
The corners of this house are rounded so that was something new for me. Where the board ended, I decided to make it look more professional than just having a straight cut. I used the sander again to angle the board like I did on the vertical batten boards. Again, the sander did a great job.
Installing the Picture Ledge
Next I needed to cut and install the picture ledge, a 1 x 3 board. Again, hubby comes home to tell me that A. I should have purchased a longer board. Or, B. I should have mitered the boards together. Oops! 🤷🏼♀️ These small 1 x 3 boards were VERY warped and I do think a single board would have made it look so much straighter. So, I decide that it might be worth it to pop off the picture ledge and replace it with a longer board.
I did go the next day to Home Depot, but they did not have a 12’ pine 1 x 3. They did have one in Aspen, that was more expensive. I bought it and took it home. Before I ripped off the boards I had installed I decided to see if I could use the nail gun to get mine lined up. I could! So, I decided my way was good enough and I took back the 12’ board and the vertical batten board I didn’t end up using. Saving $25-$30 seemed like a good idea.
Just like on the board that ran horizontally, I needed to do something to the picture ledge that just ended at the doorway. I sketched a line and cut the picture ledge board at an angle. I used the ledge that I cut for one side of the door way as a template for the other side, so that they would match up. I also think cutting this ledge at an angle is a good safety precaution as it turns out the corner of the ledge is at my eye level!!
Filling In All of the Gaps
Next up was to fill nail holes, wood knots, and even out any imperfections. Of course the tinted wood filler I wanted to use had dried hard as a rock. Luckily I had some spackle in the garage too, and it hadn’t dried up. I used that and a putty knife to patch wood holes.
Then, at 44 years old I had my first experience with caulking. I could have let hubby do it, because he ALWAYS is the caulker, but I opted to be a big girl and do it on my own. Trust me when I say I doubted myself doing it most of the time I was actually doing it! I seriously spent a good amount of time laughing out loud because I’m sure it would have been so funny to watch me!
Once you cut the tip of the caulking tube and engage the gun, the caulking NEVER shuts off!! Well at least I didn’t figure out how to get it to stop shooting out caulking until about 15 minutes into the project. Thank goodness I had drop cloths down and was wearing stained/paint clothes!!
Once I figured out how to disengage the gun, it went much smoother! But there was still caulking random places when it wouldn’t stick to where I was applying it, it would just fall wherever.
I broke a fingernail a couple days prior and that ended up being the perfect finger to get in the corners and smooth out the caulking. If there wasn’t enough caulking, I still smoothed out the area and then left it to dry. I figured once it dried I would come back with another layer of caulk. If there was a lot of access caulking then I grabbed a rag, paper towel, or clean finger to wipe off the extra. Once my fingers were all exposed, then I washed my hands and started over.
After the wood filler dried I hit it with sand paper, vacuumed the dust and did it a second time. I also did 2 or sometimes 3 passes with the caulk gun.
Getting a Smooth Finish
Next I wanted to use the Shellac I had on hand and go over all of the wood. My friend Hilary had mentioned this one time as a way to make the paint smoother and to look more professional. As soon as I poured out the Shellac I had, I knew there could be problems. It just seemed very runny. It also had a lot of black specks in it. I don’t think I made sure that the paint tray was clean! Ugh! So frustrating.
So, I rolled on the Shellac, trying to pick out any big chunks of black and really watching to make sure there weren’t any runs in the Shellac. After it dried I painted. I knew there were probably spots that needed more filler or more caulking, but at this point, it was just really hard to see where.
I painted everything creamy and it was so exciting to see it take shape! I did see a few spots that needed smoothed out and I did see that one vertical batten did not take the paint very well. It basically created the crackle affect. So, I sanded that board and painted it again.
As I write this post it still needs attention because it crackled AGAIN. So, I am going to put some polyacrylic on it to try to block whatever is causing the issue and then paint it again. Fingers crossed it works! While I’m dealing with that issue, I will also be using the Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray to touch up paint around the room. The boards fell down and put these dents in the wall. There is a spot at the kitchen window, that never got painted. As well as a section above the basement stairs that needs another coat. I will be happy when I can get everything cleaned and put away!!
Should I Add Pegs?
When I planned out this space I wanted to also add pegs to this wall, but now, I’m not sure. I think I might order a couple options and hold them in place before deciding if I want to move forward. In my mind I was going to lean pictures on the picture ledge and hand a basket, blanket, and maybe a wreath on the pegs. What do you think? Let me know down in the comments!
As I explained to my husband I think having this board and batten balances the room. And I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot on social media, but I can’t wait for the room to be done so I can decorate!! If you don’t already follow me on social, you should!
What I Learned
The more you plan and think things through, the better your project will turn out. Like I mentioned I watched a few reels and tips about doing a board and batten wall. My biggest take aways from that research was to use caulking where boards meet dry wall and wood filler for everything else. I also learned that if you aren’t nailing into studs, then you need to angle your nails, so that they make and x on the other side of the dry wall.
What hubby taught me. By longer boards whenever possible so that you don’t have to deal with a seam where boards meet. And miter cut whenever possible to make a smoother seam.
What I learned. Planning is key. Luckily I discovered before installation that my boards where going to go right over an outlet. Simply by shifting the placement over, I could avoid extra work and I think it looks better if an outlet doesn’t interrupt a board.
I also learned that I should have used a little longer nail. I did not hit a stud with ANY vertical boards. I did apply the X technique, but I’m not sure of it’s effectiveness because my nails were on the short side. The one time I did try to git a stud by nailing at an angle, all I did was make a mess that then got covered up with caulking. See the photo above.
My other take away goes back to planning. I should have made sure my wood filler was usable. I should have bought new shellac when I saw that the consistency was off. I should have made sure my equipment was clean. These are all common sense things, but sometimes we cut corners when we are in a hurry or trying to save money.
Supplies for the Board and Batten Wall
- Miter Saw
- Nail Gun & Long Nails
- Wood Filler – THIS is my favorite. THIS is what I used.
- PAINTABLE Caulk
- Caulking Gun
- Tape Measure
- Stud Finder
- Shellac, or another kind of sealer
- Small Roller
- Rags – for access caulking
One Room Challenge
Want to see more participants in the One Room Challenge? Check it out HERE.
Living Room Makeover Game Plan
Week 3 – Tackle the Carpet & Transform the Window Treatment
Week 4 – Install Peg Rack Wall
Now the biggest question is to decide if I just want to leave it board and batten with the picture ledge, or do I still want to add the pegs!? I’m not sure!!
Week 5 – Picking Other Furniture for the Room
Week 6 – Built-Ins *fingers crossed this gets done in time
Lumber was ordered and delivered this past Tuesday!!
Week 7 – Staining the Built-Ins
Week 8 – Adding Decor
I did some measuring and I think I’m looking for 3 frames that match that are about 2′ tall. So far I’ve looked a few places this week for used ones with no luck. I’ve been on the hunt for the frames as well as a sofa table and dark round coffee table. So far, no luck.
This post may contain affiliate links for the products I use and recommend. I am not paid to promote these products. If you purchase using my affiliate links, I could make a small commission at no charge to you.