Friday, February 13

How To: Board and Batten

I have received several questions about how exactly we achieved the Board and Batten look in our kitchen and family room, so I thought I would dedicate a post to it! Consider this a DIY: How To
...well, at least how we would do it!

The first thing I did was research any hard and fast rules about Board and Batten. I wanted to stay true to the look because the whole goal was to bring a sense of architecture to the room that would be mistaken for something that has always been here. I found a few sites that really helped.
Here is how Board and Batten would be installed if you were doing an authentic installation. This site was helpful also!

What we wanted was "the look", for less. Meaning all of the bang for not a lot of buck! We wanted to have the vertical strips capped off by a horizontal band at the top and have our existing walls act as the "boards". We also decided to put a "cap" around the family room with a groove running through the top to act as a plate ledge to hold an occasional starfish.

Ok, down to the nitty gritty. This entire project was done using MDF. No reason to break the bank using real wood when it was going to be covered up with three coats of paint anyway! I decided on the height based off of the existing architecture in the rooms. My biggest issue with our family room had always been a long, narrow window that sits up at eye level. I had, sort of, a love/hate relationship with this window! It has a well defined purpose (acting as a frame for Mt. Rainier - stunning!), but it was never easy to incorporate into the room before. It always felt like it was floating. And since the skies are only clear *some* of the time up here in the Pacific Northwest, the window didn't make any sense on days where there wasn't a mountain to frame! I decided the height of the Board and Batten would be 65" which hits right in the middle of the window. This way the window would look supported instead of floating. I am happy to say that it worked!

There were no "rules" followed on this! We adjusted the information that we found online to work for our real life rooms and what was aesthetically pleasing to us. Ok, I should say "to me". My Handyman just wanted to know what cuts to make and where to point the nail gun!

The horizontal strip on top is 3 & 1/2" tall. The vertical strips are 1 & 1/2" wide. The spacing between the strips is 12". We did adjust the spacing when necessary! I wasn't happy with some of the spots where the strips would stand if we followed the 12" spacing rule every time. And I can tell you that if you're not working on a long span of wall, then feel free to adjust! You can't tell where we switched up the spacing at all! But to the eye, it looks a whole lot better than if we had done 12" spacing everywhere! The other thing to consider before you start attaching the strips to the wall is where light switches and outlets fall. It's best to tackle each wall individually and begin where the most issues could possibly arise! To make it easier on ourselves we cut a 12" scrap piece of MDF to use as a spacer. That way we weren't having to measure out 12" each time.

The biggest issue was how we were going to tie this into our existing base boards and window trim. We decided to cut each vertical piece off at an angle at the bottom, and each horizontal piece off at an angle on the sides where it met a window so that the depth of the MDF would not be greater than the depth of the trim molding.

TRUE Board and Batten would have flat panels of wood 12" wide lining the walls and then the strips would serve as seam covers. We were not about to cover all of our walls entirely in wood (goal: inexpensive, remember?) so by putting up only the strips and painting it all out in white we trick your eye into thinking that it really is paneled walls. And I can tell you that until someone gets right up close to it or touches it, they do not realize that in between the strips is normal textured wall!

The whole thing had to be primed and then get painted out with two coats of semi-gloss paint. My husband was nervous about our walls being glossy, but if this was the real thing (all wood!) it would be painted in glossy paint just like the rest of the molding throughout our house. And I think that has a lot to do with people believing that we have actually paneled our walls in wood!

Here you can see where the height of the board and batten meets the long, narrow picture window.

And here you can see the two vertical strips falling evenly under the kitchen window. This was one of the spots where we adjusted some of the spacing. I like the result!

Now that all is said and done and we've been living with it for about a month, I can undoubtedly say that this project was worth it! It did disrupt our home life for a few days (the kitchen and family room were pretty much unaccesable), but the kids actually thought it was fun to eat in the dining room instead of the kitchen for a few days! The most time consuming part was all of the painting that had to be done. We finished the install (including all of the cuts) in about 5 hours. It took 2 full days to do the 3 coats of paint. I wanted each coat to get adequate drying time.

If you have any more questions, I would be happy to answer them!

We have a few friends that have expressed interest in doing Board and Batten on their walls. As well as a nursery for a sweet baby boy that will be arriving in May! I am excited to see how it all turns out! There is no shortage of inspiration out there! Take it and use it to your advantage!