Inexpensive "Board" and Batten

Build It Thrifty
by Build It Thrifty
3 Materials
2 Days

This project is an easy way to install your own "board" and batten. There are no boards, only battens made from inexpensive MDF! Let's get into the steps you need to install your own!

You'll need joint compound and a knockdown knife and, if needed, drywall repair kits. I had two holes to cover. The paint I used for the top part of the walls was Sherwin Williams "Carbonized". Determine how far up the battens are going to go and mark. If you have textured walls, use joint compound to skim coat everything below the line you marked. It may take a few coats if your walls are really textured like mine are. Sand between each coat with a sanding block to smooth everything out.

I used 1x3 primed MDF boards for everything except the baseboard which is a 1x4. The quantity you need will be based on the size of the space you are covering.

Now that the walls are smooth, it's time to install the battens. Locate all studs with a stud finder. Hang the horizontal battens first making sure everything is level. Attach to the wall using a brad nailer. I used 1 1/2" brad nails. Also, I mitered the corners cutting them at 45 degrees.

The next step is installing the vertical battens. My vertical battens measured 48". The hardest part of this whole project for me was figuring out the spacing. There are formulas online that will help with this. Attach the vertical battens again using a brad nailer. If you aren't nailing into a stud in some spots, shoot your nail at an angle then shoot a second nail angled in the opposite direction forming an "X".

Use caulk to fill any gaps you may have where the battens meet the wall. Paint the walls and the battens. These are painted "Simply White" by Benjamin Moore.

P.S.-If you like that wood vanity, click here to find out how to build your own!

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Frequently asked questions
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3 of 4 questions
  • Pdmkiss Pdmkiss on Jun 14, 2020

    Did you caulk every vertical board where it met the wall on both sides?

  • Melissa Liu Melissa Liu on Feb 12, 2021

    We have plaster walls. Would shooting a nail gun into the plaster cause it to crack? Part of the reasoning of doing this project is to cover a substantial crack that formed at the outlet and ran up the wall.

  • Kim 'Kiewatt' Waknitz Kim 'Kiewatt' Waknitz on Jun 26, 2022

    Do you have pictures of the room finished

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4 of 8 comments
  • Rena Noele Rena Noele on Jun 14, 2020

    BRILLIANT! Thank you for the practical information and detailed photos. This is a project that I've been considering since moving in. (Prior owners placed towel bars and toilet paper holders at weirdly low levels.) I've needed to cover those old drywall holes better than the orange peel spray. Battens with a 54" white background height will lighten the small "shower room" and the adjacent "vanity room." Using primed MDF is something I'd never considered, and had always been concerned with moist environment with dimensional lumber. So grateful that your post was complete and not like those who tease and a link to drive traffic to their blog.

    • Build It Thrifty Build It Thrifty on Jun 15, 2020

      Thank you so much, Rena! Your project sounds like it is going to look great! Time will tell about the MDF with moisture, since this is just a half bath I think it is going to be ok. Good luck on your project! Send me a pic!

  • PeprmintPatti PeprmintPatti on Jun 18, 2020

    I went to your blog are saw that you had started the ORC before posting this project... my question is what process / prep work and paint color did you use to color your existing cabinetry?

    This is amazing !!!

    • Build It Thrifty Build It Thrifty on Jun 18, 2020

      Thank you so much! If you head back to the blog and click on "One Room Challenge: Week Four"...I show you before pics and go through all the steps and list the products I used to paint the cabinets.