Board and Batten Wainscoting Tutorial!

You can make this board and batten wainscoting!  Check out the easy steps below.

I had two objectives with this project.  The first was to lighten up the room, and the second was to provide a way to hang up "hoodies" in a very narrow space.

Both were accomplished, and I couldn't be more delighted.

The First Step Was to Determine the Height.

Determining the board and batten wainscoting height was easy for me.  I needed it tall enough for the hooks it would eventually have, and it needed to go under the control panel for the already installed security system.  So I ended up with a weird dimension - 56 3/8" high.

There are no hard and fast rules for wainscoting height.  If you are using 4 x 8 sheets of bead board you may want to incorporate the 4' height as part of your planning so you don't waste any of the bead board.  BUT with board and batten you are cutting each piece to length, so it doesn't matter.  It's what works for you!

Dimensions of Top and Bottom Board.

I knew I was going to replace the existing base board at the bottom.  In order to make the top "rail" look the same as the bottom "rail" - once the base board was installed, I needed to make the bottom rail larger.

My top rail needed to be 6" wide to incorporate the size of the hooks I wanted to use.

The bottom rail then needed to be 6" plus 3 1/8" (the width of the baseboard), for a total of 9 1/8".

I had the luxury of "practicing" my board and batten wainscoting layout on a back corner that would eventually be covered by the laundry room refrigerator.  That is what is shown in the photo above.  I liked it, so I finished the rest of the wall.

Spacing of the "Stiles".

The "stiles" are the vertical pieces.  I decided to make mine 3" wide to be symmetrical with the 6" wide rails.

Again, there is no right or wrong here.  Some people make them 2" wide and some make them 4" wide.

The board and batten wainscoting spacing is a little tricky.  I really did NOT want any of the stiles to interfere with the electrical connections!  Luckily, with just a rough sketch, I could tell mine didn't.

Installing the Wainscoting.

Glass insets on this door had slipped since the door was installed 33 years earlier.

Installing the base piece was easy.  I marked the studs with the blue painters tape, and then nailed the base into the studs.

Installing the top rail required a level and a pencil line to get it in the right position.  I planned to put a 1/2" by 3/4" piece of trim along the top, so I had to include that in the calculations.  Once it was in position, it was nailed to the studs, too.

Once both the bottom and top were in place I cut the stiles to fit between them.

How to space out the stiles? Again, there is no right or wrong, as long as they are even.  Some people use a standard dimension like 18" or 2".  There are always adjustments to be made as the wall lengths don't allow full sections.  You want to make those adjustments in the corners, or the least noticeable areas of the room.

Because I was doing just one wall, I decided to make each space between the stiles the same.  The steps to do that were:

  1. After installing a 3" stile on each end, I measured the distance remaining between those 2 stiles - in my case 100".
  2. Subtract from that the width being used by the stiles - in my case 4 stiles by 3" each = 12" (100" - 12" = 88").
  3. Divide the remaining distance by the number of sections - in my case 88"/5 sections = 17.6" width for each section.

I could have just gone with the 18" and no one would have known the difference!

Installing the Stiles.

Some of the vertical pieces (stiles) were not located on a stud, so they had to be glued in place.  I like it best when they can be nailed!

Installing the Top Trim.

I trimmed the top with a piece of 1/2" by 3/4" wood.  It was just a matter of cutting it to fit, and mitering the corner.

As you can see I ran the wainscoting around the corner to the exterior door.

As you can also see, I had to fill some nail holes and gaps before final touch-up painting.

Materials Used in Board and Batten Wainscoting.

I used 1/2" particle board for most of the wainscoting.

It was easy to cut with my circular saw and the Kreg Rip Cut.  I have a table saw, but because I was working by myself, chose to do the cuts this way.  It feels much safer!!

As you can see, the sheets are supported by a piece of styrofoam insulation.  That works wonderfully well!!

Painting the Wainscoting.

Prior to installing the pieces of the board and batten wainscoting, I both primed and painted each piece.

Of course, after install the nail holes needed to be filled, and the paint touched up.

Finishing the Top Trim.

The top wood trim was a standard trim piece from the big box store measuring 1/2" by 3/4".  It needed quite a bit of sanding before it was ready to be primed and painted.  And because it was so narrow it had to be hand sanded.

This chore was made much more pleasant by the view from my work space!

Hanging the Hooks.

The hooks were spaced so they wouldn't interfere with the exterior door or the light switches by the door leading to the kitchen.

Ready to Use!

It is so fun when you finish a project, and have it turn out well!!!

I hope this board and batten wainscoting tutorial encourages you to tackle that next project!

Laundry Room Makeover
is Progressing Nicely!

The laundry room doesn't look like this anymore!!!

Click here or on the photo
to see more of the
DIY laundry room improvements.

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