Sunday, September 13, 2015

DIY Batten & Board for less than $150

Since we moved into our house 4 years ago, I have been dying to do this to our front room. The room has 18 foot ceilings and I wanted to add batten & board to the lower half (about 8 1/2 feet tall) to ground the room, add dimension, and help rid our house of that "cookie cutter"/"builder's grade" look.

We finally did it! (And by we, I mean my husband. He is a rock star.)

Level of difficulty: Easy but very tedious
Time Length: It took us probably 4 whole days (though we spread ours out over 4 weekends so it seemed to take a long time since the room remained in shambles.)
Cost: $150

What you'll need:
2 sheets MDF
2 cans of liquid nails
1 can caulk
1 box All-Purpose Joint Compound
1 gallon Kilz primer
1 gallon white semi-gloss paint

Cost of the above items: $150

Table Saw
Miter Saw
Nail gun
Caulk Gun
Plastic spackle knives
Paint Brush
Paint Roller
Painter's Tape
Stud Finder

Step 1:
Prime walls with one coat of Kilz. This will ensure the joint compound will stick.

Step 2:
Mix the joint compound with water until you get a mayonnaise-like consistency. Using a paint roller, roll onto walls. Use the plastic spackle knives to smooth out texture. Move the knives in a diagonal crisscross motion to ensure you remove any excess. This will remove the texture from the walls to give it a smooth "board" look.

Once the joint compound has dried according to package directions, sand any large chunks off, vacuum any dust and do another coat. This took us 4 coats to get a smooth wall. This, in our opinion, was the hardest and most time consuming part of the project.

Step 3:
Prime the smooth joint compound walls. Let dry.

Step 4:
Measure out boards and cut. Darren cut the two MDF boards into strips using the table saw. You can also buy pre-primed MDF trim boards but it will cost you at least twice as much. We took advantage of our table saw and made our own boards.

Darren cut 3" strips for the vertical boards, 5 1/2" strip for the top horizontal boards, and 4" strips for the middle horizontal boards. (He also cut strips to frame out our windows in a craftsman style. More on that later, but if you are framing out your windows in addition to the batten & board, be sure to do that before doing the walls.)

Step 5:
Put boards up. It's easiest to do the horizontal boards first (they are the most difficult and require two people, in order to hold them up and make sure they are level.) Our top board is 8 1/2 feet from the floor (level with the half wall on the stairs) and the middle horizontal board is 19 1/2" below that. I eyeballed what spacing I liked and this was it.

Be sure to use a level and mark your studs. To apply each board to the wall, squiggle some liquid nails on the back then nail into the marked studs with a nail gun (Darren used finishing nails).

Our vertical boards have 15" of spacing in between them. Again, I just eyeballed the spacing I liked and then Darren measured and made sure all boards were evenly spaced. Use liquid nails, a level, and a nail gun to get these boards up. If you are not nailing into a stud (for many of the vertical boards you won't) use painter's tape to hold up the boards until the liquid nails dries.

Step 6:
Once all boards are up and the liquid nails has dried. Paint the walls and boards with 2 coats of primer. Yes, two. The MDF will soak up a lot of paint and since Kilz is only $15 as opposed to $40 for a gallon a paint, you will want to use more primer and less paint. Kilz is also a great sealer anyway. Trust. Use the Kilz.

Step 7:
Caulk all the edges of the boards. Also, fill in nail holes with sandable white spackle. Let dry. Sand over nail holes to make sure they are smooth.

Step 8:
Paint with a semi-gloss paint. Ours took 2 coats on top of the 2 coats of primer. We used Behr pure white semi-gloss to match our doors and trim in the house.

VOILA! You're done. Eventually we will add a crown molding piece on the top but we haven't gotten there yet. :)

This is one of the coolest projects we have done in our home. It costs very little money when you consider the impact it has on the space and we love it.