Hello again! Welcome to the longest tutorial you may ever read! Today, I'm going to share with you my experience installing board and batten in our dining room. In previous posts you will see my dining room dawned wainscoting. This was original to the home and poorly installed, causing it to be an eyesore. I slapped a few coats of white paint on to spruce it up immediately upon moving in, but I just couldn't wait for it to go away. The panels were so poorly installed that it only took 15 minutes to remove entirely from the room (thank the lord)! Thankfully, all I found beneath was hideous yellow paint (could have been much worse...).
Let's take a walk down memory lane and see how far the dining room has come since moving in in May 2014...
I knew I needed board and batten in my life, but wasn't sure how to execute it, so I spent a few days devising a perfect, money saving plan. Let me give you a glimps into how my brain works. If none of this makes sense, I apologize.
To make measuring the distance between battens easier, you can cut yourself a piece of MDF the width of the desired gap and use it as a guide as pictured above. Just be sure you are still using a level. My desired batten distance was the ballpark of 10". I did the math per wall length and came up with a number as close to 10" as I could get. Each wall distance number varied, but without busting out a measuring tape you would never know each walls distance was off by centimeters. You can see in the above photos that I ran into my next dilemma of an electrical outlet being right where I needed to place a vertical batten. I'll address this issue later on in this post.
Next, let's talk about corners. Here is how I addressed my corners. You could surely add the width of the MDF to one of the boards and no longer have a gap, but I wanted to keep the board cutting for the Home Depot employees simple. Obviously, once I nailed on my top molding, you would not see a gap in the corner. Simple enough, right? Level, level, level everything! Gaps were made for caulking :)
Next, let's talk about areas that may be less distance than your desired batten distance. Here you can see the remainder of the kitchen wall that I could have left bare, but that's not how I roll. It's part of the same wall and needed battens to look finished and professional.
Here is how I did the remainder of the dining room area. I applied bottom then top battens. Level, level, level those battens! This allowed for me to nail my vertical battens tight with the top batten and leave gaps at the joining of the bottom batten, making them much less obvious.
And yet again, ran into a light switch right were I needed to put a batten. This was a little challenging I must say so myself. I could have taken the easy route and just stopped the batten right at the light switch, but that doesn't look professional. Be sure when you are dealing with electrical outlets to have your power off. I'm not going to give a full tutorial on this process, but rather link you the tutorial I followed here.
In the process, I had to bust out my electrical skills to replace a light switch that blew. I'm sure it was original to the house and it was only a matter of time before it needed replaced. Power off your house when doing something like a switch replacement!
Next, it's time to decide if you want to add any detail to the top of your board and batten. There are numerous variations and it is all personal preference. I chose to add a simple molding to the top, securing it using the nail gun. Once you have completed this process on all desired walls, it's time to caulk, prime and paint. This happens to be the most time consuming part. It's important to sand down any rough edges prior to painting.
DAP Alex fast dry caulking is my go to caulk. I use it for all indoor projects and it is very paintable. Be sure you do not skip the priming step even if your paint has a built in primer. It is important to seal MDF as it is very porous as I mentioned before. The more layers you can get on, the more resistant your MDF becomes. Be sure to use an oil based primer if you are using oil based paint and vice versa. Behr Ultra Premium is the only paint I use. It provides such good coverage. The paint colors I chose are Polar Bear (white) and Cathedral Gray in Satin. A little trick I use when caulking is using a metal putty knife in 90 degree areas. Using your finger to smooth 90 degree areas tends to leave the area looking rounded or concaved verses a sharp clean 90 degree.
I hope that you have found this tutorial informative! If there is anything I forgot to mention, please do not hesitate to ask! And congratulations for making it through such a long post!
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