Get Started with Measurements
Use a tape measure to measure the width of all 4 Walls–to the quarter inch. If you’re doing small bathroom board and batten project, consider that the walls on each side of the doorway have to be their own individual wall. You will have 5 widths altogether when finished.
Each wall will need to be calculated for spacing–the goal is to have the spacing be as similar as possible for all the walls. This can be tricky, especially if you’re working with a small space, kind of like I am in this powder bathroom.
I’m doing a half wall, and not a grid. So, I only needed to worry about the spacing between the battens. For this project, I noted…
- The width of the battens (make sure it’s the “actual,”since a 2 inch board is only 1.5” wide)
- The measured width of each of the 5 walls
Plan Each Wall
I got myself a notepad with multiple sheets available. The idea is to use one sheet of paper for each wall. I wrote the width at the top. I always draw concepts out–it’s easier for me to make changes. This way I could count battens and spacing as they were added or taken away. I went through several variations of spacing until I got it right.
Where Should You Start?
While it seems like you might want to start with the biggest wall, I found that starting on one of the smaller ones was more helpful, since the spacing is limited. The larger the wall, the easier it is to match to the smaller ones.
Yes, there are basic calculations that you can do to find the spacing between the battens.
The basic calculation process involves estimating how many battens you’d like to use, adding their width up, then subtracting the total width of the battens from the total width of the wall. That gives you the leftover width to divide up for spacing. You’ll take that number and divide it by the spaces you’ve planned, and that answer will give you the spacing you’ll put between the battens.
Here is my example for one of the side walls of my small bathroom board and batten project:
What Else to Consider?
If you’re doing one wall, you’re done. If you’re doing the whole room–like I am–there’s more to think about.
With four corners in the room, you’ll want to decide how the corners will come together. Since each wall has a side batten at the edge, the corners will have overlapping battens. This means you’ll be shortening the width just slightly, so this can affect your “total width” measurements.
*You also may change your mind based on how the corners look when you add the battens.
No matter how much time you spend planning, you might want to line up your boards on the floor and see if the spacing fits the look you want. I had originally thought I’d like the boards closer, but after going to the garage and lining a few up with that spacing, it seemed too close together. So, I went back and made adjustments to the plan. Then, I spaced them closer than I planned anyway. (Face Palm)
Light Switches, Outlets
These items can really throw you for a loop. And, when I say you…I mean ME. My light switch is in the worst position for planning the top boards, and my outlet doesn’t let me plan the corner the way I’d like. Ugh.
What I ended up doing is creating a piece that mounted the light switch flush with the battens. Then, I cut top pieces from the same 4″ pieces that were used at the top of the battens on the rest of the walls. I tried to stay consistent with what had been done on the other walls in every way I could, aside from where the light switch was.
Decide whether or not you’re going to remove the baseboards. For this project, I removed ours, since it’s a small bathroom board and batten project, and I was worried about it looking uniform. I have done accent walls where I left the baseboards in place. It’s a personal choice.
I used a primed MDF board at 3.5″ (known as 4″) width. I would use the same type of board at the bottom for the battens to rest on, as well as the top of the battens.
Because this is a bathroom, not only did I have to account for light switches and outlets, but I also needed to plan to cut the boards for the pipe/water lines for the sink and the toilet water line. I normally use my multi-tool, but it died recently, and I had to use my jig saw.
Prepping your materials ahead of installation can have a major impact on your project. I had two wall sections where I installed the boards, then primed and painted after installing. Three of my walls needed prep work prior to gluing and nailing in place. Those three boards got primed and painted before installing on the walls. I chose Behr’s Coney Island paint in an eggshell finish.
*I also underestimated the amount of paint…it’s a tiny powder room, and I’m only doing half the wall. So, I got a quart of paint. Turns out, I needed over a quart. Of course.
Because this board and batten wall treatment is going on every wall, I had to consider how it would butt up against the door frame. The backing board is .25″ thick, and the battens are .5″ thick. I was planning to use the same thickness of 4″ board for the top of the battens, just like the baseboard. So, what to put on the very top as the trim piece? Something VERY slim was needed.
I chose a trim piece that needed to be sanded in order to make it seamless.
I found this specific type of board at Menards.
Of course, the backing boards were cut and added first.
I primed, then painted everything–as much as possible, so I could just install pieces with at least one coat of paint. (It wasn’t always the case.)
Then, I measured and cut for the top board and the baseboards, joining them in the corners at 45º angles.
Doing one wall at a time, I added the corner battens or sides in place, then measured accurately for that wall to get correct spacing. They are not identical, since all the walls are different sizes, but I did it as close as possible.
I used a level to ensure the battens were getting nailed correctly, and I used a nail gun to install.
The top of the half wall is finished with a small wooden piece that lies flat, adding a small lip at the top.
More photos to come!
See the Progress: