HomeHome ImprovementDIY Board and Batten Wall Treatment

    DIY Board and Batten Wall Treatment

    Embarking on a transformative journey to enhance your bathroom with a board and batten wall treatment is exciting. Drawing upon years of experience, including various board and batten projects ranging from floor-to-ceiling accents to intricate designs with added trim molding, I’m here to share comprehensive insights and invaluable tips to make your DIY venture a resounding success.

    1- Materials You’ll Need

    Materials You'll Need

    Before we delve into the comprehensive guide, let’s ensure you have all the materials for a successful bathroom board and batten project:

    Item 1. MDF Boards or Plywood

    Choose the thickness that suits your preferences and budget.

    Item 2. Battens

    These vertical strips will bring your design to life. Select a size that complements your vision.

    Item 3. Level and Measuring Tape

    Essential tools for precise installation.

    Item 4. Nail Gun or Adhesive

    Choose the method that aligns with your wall type and personal preference.

    Item 5. Saw

    This will be useful for cutting boards and battens to the desired lengths.

    Item 6. Wood Filler and Sandpaper

    Achieve a flawless finish with these tools.

    Item 7. Primer and Paint

    Opt for colors harmonizing with your bathroom’s aesthetic.

    2- Helpful Tips

    Helpful Tips

    Tip 1. Choose the Right Material for the Room

    If your board and batten adventure takes you to wet areas like bathrooms or kitchens, opt for PVC or Primed Pine trim. PVC, being 100% waterproof, is the superior choice. Pine is a great alternative, but steer clear of MDF in wet areas. MDF, once wet, expands irreversibly. Choose wisely from the start for a durable hardwood floor and a beautiful finish.

    Additional Advice:

    • PVC trim is available at major home improvement stores, typically in the exterior trim section.
    • Consider your climate; Primed Pine is preferable in humid conditions, while MDF might be suitable for dry climates.

    Tip 2. Address Textured Walls

    Covering medium to heavy wall textures is crucial for a professional-looking board and batten installation. Skim coating or using brownboard can provide a smooth canvas for your project. Don’t skip this step if you want your DIY to look like a pro did it.

    Additional Advice:

    • Check out a reliable skim coat tutorial for detailed guidance.
    • Consider using a wainscoting calculator to streamline the process.

    Tip 3. Paint Your Wall First

    For a seamless finish, paint your wall before installing the batten trim. This will save you time and effort, avoiding the need to cut in around each board.

    Additional Advice:

    • Consider masking off the room and spraying the entire wall for an efficient and professional look.

    Tip 4. Baseboards Matter

    Ensure that your battens align flush with your baseboards. If your baseboards are thin, explore creative solutions like angling the ends of your boards or adding an extra horizontal batten.

    Additional Advice:

    • Aim for a seamless connection between vertical battens and baseboards.
    • Try a good-quality subfloor in bathroom to avoid damage to the baseboards.

    Tip 5. Measuring Your Boxes

    Avoid complex math by using a wainscoting calculator to determine the placement of each batten. This tool simplifies the process and ensures precision in creating your board and batten pattern.

    Additional Advice:

    • Aim for battens to be as close to 16″ apart as possible for traditional board and batten.

    Tip 6. Install Your Top Piece First

    Install a thicker 1×6″ board horizontally before the vertical battens for traditional board and batten—this piece, when level, serves as a crucial foundation for the overall design.

    Additional Advice:

    • The top piece provides stability and a polished finish to the board and batten treatment.

    Tip 7. Scarf Joint Your Seams

    Use a scarf joint to blend two boards seamlessly when dealing with walls longer than your boards. With a 22.5-degree angle, this technique creates a professional and tight fit.

    Additional Advice:

    • A scarf joint adds sophistication and eliminates visible seams for a polished appearance.

    Tip 8. Measure Each Batten Individually

    Avoid assumptions about your baseboards’ level. Measure each batten individually to ensure a precise fit, minimizing the need for excessive caulk and achieving a professional-looking result.

    Additional Advice:

    • Use a laser measurer for quick and accurate measurements.

    Tip 9. Angle Your Nails

    Ensure a secure fit by shooting brad nails into the wall at an angle. This technique creates a locking effect behind the wall, eliminating the necessity for precise stud alignment.

    Additional Advice:

    • Alternating the angle of your nails ensures a more robust and stable attachment.

    Tip 10. Use a Spacer Board

    Simplify the installation process by cutting a spacer board to the size of your boxes. This scrap wood spacer helps align your battens, streamlining the process and saving time.

    Additional Advice:

    • A spacer board ensures consistent spacing and a faster installation.

    Tip 11. Caulk and Wood Fill

    While a tedious process, caulking and wood filling are essential for a flawless finish. Overfill nail holes with Dap Plastic Wood Filler and apply caulk along seams for a seamless appearance.

    Additional Advice:

    • Pack baby wipes to assist in smoothing caulk for a professional finish.

    3- Making Board and Batten

    Here is the step-by-step procedure for you to follow to make a good-looking board and batten for your bathroom.

    Step 1: Plan Your Design

    Plan Your Design

    Embarking on a successful DIY journey begins with thoughtful planning. Take a moment to sketch out your board and batten design. Consider the height of the boards, the spacing between battens, and whether you want an entire wall treatment or just a partial accent. This planning stage is crucial for a seamless execution, ensuring that your finished project aligns perfectly with your vision.


    • Experiment with different design layouts on paper before settling on a final plan.
    • Consider how the board and batten complement existing bathroom fixtures and decor.

    Step 2: Prepare the Wall

    Prepare the Wall

    Before diving into the installation process, it’s essential to prep your wall correctly. Clean the surface thoroughly and address any imperfections with spackle. Sand the wall to create a smooth canvas for your board and batten treatment. This initial preparation will set the stage for a professional-looking finish.


    • Use a quality primer on the wall before attaching boards to ensure better adhesion.
    • If your wall has texture, consider sanding it for a more even surface.

    Step 3: Install the Boards

    Install the Boards

    With a clean and prepped wall, it’s time to transform your space. Attach the MDF boards or plywood horizontally to the wall. Use a level to ensure the boards are straight and evenly spaced. Secure the boards using a nail gun or adhesive, depending on your preference and wall type. This foundational step sets the stage for the classic board and batten pattern defining your bathroom’s new aesthetic.


    • Consider using a temporary ledger board to help ensure a level installation.
    • Measure and mark the wall to guide the placement of each board for consistency.

    Step 4: Add the Battens

    board and batten bathroom

    Now comes the creative part—adding the vertical battens. Considering the overall design, measure and cut the battens to your desired length. Install them vertically over the boards, creating the quintessential board and batten pattern. Ensure even spacing between battens, and use a level to maintain straight lines. This step is where your vision takes shape, adding depth and character to your bathroom walls.


    • Start installing battens in the center of the wall and work outward for balanced spacing.
    • Consider using a laser level for precise vertical alignment.

    Step 5: Fill, Sand, and Prime

    board and batten bathroom

    To achieve a polished and seamless finish, pay attention to the details. Fill any gaps or holes with wood filler and use sandpaper to create a smooth surface. This step is crucial for achieving a professional-looking result. Once you’re satisfied with the surface, apply a coat of primer. Primer prepares the surface for paint and enhances the durability of your board and batten treatment.


    • Use fine-grit sandpaper for a smooth finish before applying primer.
    • Apply wood filler generously for a flawle