I recently installed board and batten on stairs, and the transformation was incredible. If you’re wondering what is board and batten, what material to use, or how to build a board and batten wall, then you’re in the right place.
If you love the look of board and batten, you’ll love a board and batten staircase even more! Installing board and batten on stairs was easier than I anticipated, and as I said, the transformation was unbelievable, so if you’re looking for an affordable way to spice up your stairs, keep reading!
My first piece of advice, this guide is long, so pin it now because you’re going to need to refer to this again later.
Disclaimer: Please remember that I am a DIY enthusiast, not a professional. This article is for general information use and is not a substitute for professional advice. Before taking any actions, consult a professional! Additionally, this may contain links to affiliate websites where I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using my link. All opinions and recommendations are my own. I appreciate you taking my suggestions and using my links. Thank you for being so supportive!
What Is Board and Batten
Board and batten is a traditional pattern for a wall treatment or house siding. The batten is the vertical piece spaced apart in whatever interval you desire, and the board is a smooth backing. It’s pretty simple in design but has a significant impact, and the best part is it’s also inexpensive and easy to achieve.
What Material Is Used for Board and Batten
The next question you may be asking is what material is used for board and batten. Wood is the most commonly used material for board and batten; however, in theory, you could use any solid material. In my opinion, there is no right or wrong answer. For my board and batten on stairs, I used cheap-o wood from Home Depot, and for the board and batten in my living room, I used MDF brown board. Especially if you’re painting it, you’ll never know the difference between what material was used for your board and batten wall.
Brown board is an excellent option if your wall is not smooth, but if you have a fairly flat and smooth surface, you can just apply battens for your board and batten project. Here’s an image of what the brown board looks like once it has been installed. Keep reading for my honest opinion of using brown board….
For my living room project, I was SO sick of removing wallpaper I opted to use the brown board to cover the wall instead. It got the job done faster but using this created more maintenance in the long run. The seams on the brown board have expanded over time, and I have had to go back and caulk and re-paint. So, what I’m saying is, if you can avoid using brown board, I would! Or just do the job right the first time, which is the case in my situation. I should have taken the time to remove the wallpaper, repair and damage to the wall, and then proceed with applying battens. Consider it a lesson well learned!
DIY Board and Batten Tools and Supplies
Before we get to the good stuff, let’s go over the tools and supplies you’ll need for installing a board and batten staircase.
- Wood: The amount you need will depend on your measurements and the space where you are installing board and batten. For my board and batten on stairs, I used 1×3’s and 1×4’s.
- Measuring device
- Laser level: This tool was particularly handy when installing board and batten on stairs.
- Miter saw
- Caulk: Make sure it’s paintable!
- Paint and primer
How Do You Build a Board and Batten Wall
DIY Board and Batten Wall Step 1: Layout
Using painter’s tape as my guide, I first planned the layout of my board and batten staircase. The painter’s tape allowed me to visualize the height of my horizontal batten, followed by each horizontal batten. I decided to place the horizontal batten to give the illusion that the board and batten on stairs went all the way up. I love the look of a board and batten staircase that goes all the way to the top, but my approach made things a little easier for my short self.
Installing Board and Batten Step 2: Gather Supplies
Up next in installing board and batten is gathering all your supplies. You’ll need to measure each horizontal and vertical batten to determine what you need for your board and batten staircase supplies. Once you have this number, head to the hardware store and get yourself some wood! Well, that is if you’re using wood because you can also use a brown board as an alternative (as I did for the board and batten accent wall in my living room).
Also, when installing a board and batten staircase (or any board and batten), you can do any width for the battens; there is no right or wrong answer. It depends on what you think looks best! For my board and batten on stairs, I did 1×4 pine for my horizontal battens and 1×3 pine for each vertical batten. For the board and batten accent wall in my living room, I used brown board and ripped 1x6s for the top horizontal batten and 1x4s for the rest of the battens.
DIY Board and Batten Step 3: Measure Twice, Cut Once
Installing board and batten is relatively easy because most cuts are straight. Except for board and batten on stairs, the slightly trickier part about a board and batten staircase is you will have to cut the bottom at an angle. Also, if you have existing molding, you will need to remove it or get creative to make the batten and molding fit together.
In my board and batten on stairs, this is where my multi-tool came in handy! The ceiling molding was not as thick as the batten, so I measured and cut out a section of the existing molding to insert the pine batten. You may not encounter this with your board and batten on stairs, but if you do, this is what worked for me!
You may also be wondering how high should board and batten be? My answer is, as high or low as you want it! As you can see from my board and batten staircase, I took the battens all the way up, from the floor to the ceiling. A popular height for board and batten is somewhere between half and three-quarters up the wall. Doing so allows you to have either wallpaper or an accent paint color above the board and batten accent wall.
How to Build a Board and Batten Wall Step 4: Installation
When installing your battens, you’ll cut each one to length and tack it up with glue and nails. The only difference between board and batten on stairs is the bottom of your vertical battens. You’ll need to cut these at a 45-degree angle, which is actually super simple using this good miter saw.
To adhere your battens to the wall, you’ll need to decide if you want to glue and nail or just nail. I’ve done both ways. I’d go the glue and nail route if you’re using brown board for board and batten on stairs.
How to Build a Board and Batten Wall Step 5: Caulk
This tedious yet essential step in installing a board and batten is caulking every nail hole and along every edge. Hence, the need for LOTS of caulk. When installing my board and batten staircase, I used two tubes of DAP paintable caulk, and I’ve had good luck with this brand adhering. Whichever caulk to go with, just make sure it is paintable!
Installing Board and Batten Step 5: Final Touches
The last step of your board and batten on stairs project is priming and painting. You might be wondering if you should paint the wall before attaching the battens or paint everything all at once after the battens are up. I’ve always done it all at once; it just seems to make more sense to me to do it this way.
Board and Batten Staircase Before & After
Here is the final result of my board and batten on stairs. Do you love it as much as I do? The most unexpected outcome of this project was how much taller it made the area feel after adding the additional horizontal batten, which created a boxed effect near a portion of the ceiling.
Board and batten is a great project to try if you’re a little handy or have prior knowledge of fundamental power tool use. The hardest part about board and batten on stairs is the amount of caulking. Properly caulking all the nail holes and seams takes time and patience, but the outcome is worth it!
You asked about board and batten, and I delivered all the details. We covered what is board and batten, what material is used for board and batten, and how do you build a board and batten wall. I also showed you the most beautiful board and batten staircase.
I hope you feel more confident about installing board and batten now that I’ve covered all the essential steps. I’m no expert, just a girl building a life I love with a passion for sharing what has worked for me.
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