Board and Batten: Part 1

I decided to make this a "part 1" post because I have the feeling that this will not be my last time writing about my beloved board and batten...

When we bought this house I spent countless hours thinking about how I would add old school character into this very new school house - on a tight budget. I initially thought that shiplap was the answer to all of my problems because it seemed to always do the trick for Joanna Gaines and it is a relatively inexpensive project I could handle on my own. I am so glad that I was not impulsive with that decision and that I did not cover my house in shiplap. 

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Don't get me wrong - I LOVE shiplap, I just don't think it's right for my home. Here's why...

  • My house isn't very large - just about 1500 square feet, and in my opinion, carrying shiplap over multiple walls in a space closes it in and makes it feel smaller. I wanted to achieve the opposite - I wanted to make my space look bigger and less closed in than it already felt. 
  • I knew that whatever I did I wanted to carry it through the whole house so that my space felt unified. I thought that shiplap could get too busy if I were to install it in my dining room and the neighboring hall and stairwell. Too many horizontal lines for my liking.
  •  I wanted to utilize the existing crown and baseboard moldings, and I didn't think that shiplap worked well with them. The original moldings are colonial styled - I think that shiplap goes better with traditional farmhouse/shaker style door and window trim, and redoing the existing trim was not in the budget!
  • Lastly, I know that everyone says that shiplap is a timeless classic, BUT if for any reason it stops being a timeless classic, shiplap will be a pain in the butt to remove. The amount of nails holes to repair would be a nightmare - you might even need to replace the drywall. For the amount of space I wanted to cover, I was worried about shiplap being too trendy.
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Once shiplap was off the table I was back to square one. I actually remember Google-ing, "how to add character into a new home," and one of the first pages to come up was about board and batten. After falling down the board and batten research wormhole, I realized that B&B was the answer to all of my needs - old house character, budget friendly, worked with the existing trim, and it accentuates the verticality of a space - making it feel bigger.

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The best how-to I found in my research was this one by Roger and Chris:

Click the picture to follow the link to the tutorial!

Click the picture to follow the link to the tutorial!

I was going to make my own how-to, but that would have been a waste of time because that one is so good! I also love Roger & Chris - they have such a fun, funky style AND they are the makers of my beloved couch!

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Here are some of my tips...

  • Buy the pre-primed lattice wood sold at Home Depot. It comes in 1 1/2" and 3 1/2" widths.
  • I use the 1 1/2" pieces the skinny B&B and the 3 1/2" for the thicker one (in my dining room)
  • If you are having your vertical slats all cut at the hardware store make sure you measure the distance between the horizontal slats at multiple points in the space - the length may differ in different spots and you do not want to be stuck with short pieces!
  • Paint your wall surface before adding the wood pieces - it is way faster and easier to roll the paint on your smooth walls, attach the primed wood, and then just go back and paint the wood. Trust me on this one!
  • Don't skip filling the nail holes - I think you can get away with exposed nails on shiplap, but not with B&B. I think it looks really sloppy when they're not filled in. 
  • When you're filling the nail holes with painter's caulk keep baby wipes on hand to clean up the excess. The dampness and texture of a baby wipe is perfect!
  • Don't paint it with flat paint, opt for a satin or gloss so that it's easy to clean. The largest area of B&B in my home is in my stairwell and I actually painted it with eggshell finish paint. In hindsight, I wish that I had gone with a satin finish. Dirt lands in all of the little ledges of the B&B, and it's much easier to clean on a glossier finish.
  • If you're going to do a 3/4 or 1/2 wall with B&B and you plan on painting or wallpapering the top half, consider painting or wallpaper first so that the horizontal lattice piece can cleanly cover where the two meet.
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So those are my tips and best practices! I definitely feel like an expert at B&B after doing it so many times. So, if you have any questions please feel free to add them in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

Dana