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Upgrade Your Home With DIY Board And Batten Wainscoting

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Installing board and batten wainscoting yourself is a great and fairly inexpensive way to completely transform the look and feel of a room(s) in your home. There are many ways that you can approach this project, including the overall pattern, types of wood to use, and the sequence in which the various boards are installed.

Continue on to learn how I completely changed our dining room with DIY board and batten wainscoting!

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Tools, Supplies, PPE, and Steps

I’ve linked to several different retailers below for your convenience. I encourage you to shop around as I’ve found that each item may sell for less at a different retailer.


Wagner FLEXiO 3000 HVLP Paint Sprayer

DEWALT 12″ Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw

DEWALT Rolling Miter Saw Stand

DEWALT 10″ Table Saw With Rolling Stand

DEWALT 16-Gauge Brad Nailer

DEWALT Random Orbital Sander

DEWALT Stud Finder


Stanley Pry Bar

DEWALT Tape Measure

Empire 24″ Box Level

Empire 48″ Box Level

Dripless Caulk Gun

Stanley Punch Set

Empire Square

HANDy Paint Tray

HANDy Paint Tray Liner

HANDy Paint Cup

HANDy Paint Cup Liner

Paint Roller Frame

9 in. Paint Roller Covers

Paint Brush

Carpenter Pencil


BEHR #S530-4 Jet Set

BEHR #BL-W09 Bakery Box


DAP Alex Painter’s Caulk

DAP DryDex Spackling

Liquid Nails Construction Adhesive

Gator 120 Grit Sanding Discs

Gator 220 Grit Sanding Discs

Gator 320 Grit Sanding Sponge

Plastic Sheeting




3/4″ x 3/4″ Cove Molding

Personal Protective Equipment

Firm Grip Dura-Knit Gloves

RZ Mask Dust Mask

3M Safety Glasses

3M Earmuff

Related Article: PPE: DIYers Should Use Personal Protective Equipment

*Cannot be combined with other promo codes. Can only be used one time, per person.


Time needed: 3 days.

How To Install DIY Board And Batten Wainscoting

  1. Measure out the room to determine trim spacing.

  2. Remove existing baseboards.

  3. Install new 1×6 baseboards.

  4. Install 1×4 railing.

  5. Install 1×4 top railing.

  6. Install 1×2 cap railing.

  7. Install 3/4″ x 3×4″ cove molding.

  8. Install 1×3 batten corners.

  9. Install main 1×3 battens.

  10. Caulk and spackle all trim.

  11. Paint and touch-up.

Board And Batten Wainscoting: Measurements and Calculations

  • Board and Batten Wainscoting Measurements
  • Board and Batten Wainscoting Measurements
  • Board and Batten Wainscoting Measurements

First, I sat down to calculate what kind of expense I was dealing with. I drew up an overall look at my dining room, measured all the wall lengths, then jotted all of those dimensions on my sheet of paper. As you can see above, there’s nothing fancy here; just dimensions and a material list.

I then priced the materials, which is partly shown on my diagram. For the wood rails and battens, I went with spruce even though it is a bit more expensive than pine. I have found that spruce is much easier to work with than pine for several reasons, including less knots, lighter weight, whiter color, and it’s easier to cut.

Once the cuts were made, I sanded every board super smooth with an orbital sander before nailing them up. For long baseboard and horizontal board spans, buy the longest board you can get for the needed length to minimize cuts.

Wainscoting Pattern And Spacing

The measurements I went with are shown in the photos above. When it comes to the pattern itself, I found that your existing wall space will dictate the spacing of your vertical 1×3 boards, and not what someone else has done in their house. Sure, someone else’s spacing measurements like mine can be great for reference, but they may not work on your wall.

Go by what will work for your wall. You don’t want to use a particular spacing measurement if it means a terrible look on the ends, or if it causes your vertical 1×3’s to needlessly run over light switches and wall outlets, thus causing you to have to cut your boards around them.

As for studs, don’t expect to rely on them for your vertical 1×3’s. The horizontal 1×6 baseboard and 1×4’s, yes, but odds are, the studs wont line up for the spacing you need on the 1×3’s, which really isn’t a problem at all. I simply used a bead of Liquid Nails on the backside of the boards, and aimed my nails in at angle on those boards: From the top down, hit the center of the board, but nail at an angle: left, right, left, right.

One final tidbit before starting woodwork: Let your planks sit inside and acclimate in your home for a few days before using them so they can become accustomed to the temperature and climate.

Board And Batten Wainscoting: Wall Prep and Woodworking

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  • Board and Batten Wainscoting
  • Board and Batten Wainscoting
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  • Board and Batten Wainscoting

The first step here for me was removing the existing baseboard by gently using a small pry bar. You don’t want to possibly damage your drywall by being too rough with the pry bar. Placing a piece of plywood or other thin board in between the pry bar and the wall will help to avoid wall damage.

Now the woodworking can begin. I used a nail gun with 2 1/2″ nails for the bulk of this project (1″ nails for the cove molding). You definitely want to hit studs for the 1×6 baseboard and two horizontal 1×4’s above it. If you don’t have one, a stud finder is an accurate and inexpensive tool to buy to locate studs. Some of them can even detect electrical wires behind the drywall!

I cut 45 degree angles at the corners and at places where any boards met at the existing window and door trim.

Board Installation Sequence

My installation sequence was this: 1×6 Baseboards – 1×4 Rail – 1×4 Top Rail – 1×2 Cap Rail – 3/4 x 3/4 Cove Molding – 1×3 Batten Corners – 1×3 Battens.

Going back to batten spacing… this is the plan that worked for me: Once the baseboard and rails were up, I measured the wall out (rough measurements), cut the longer lower battens, and placed them where they were likely to be but did not fasten them to the wall. As the battens fit snug in-between the baseboard and lower rail, after visual inspection and final measurements, I was easily able to find the spacing pattern I needed by sliding the battens left or right as necessary.

Since the battens rarely landed on a stud, I lightly marked where the battens needed to be on the drywall with a pencil, pulled it off and added a 1/4″ bead of Liquid Nails along the center of the back of the board (starting an inch from the top and ending an inch from the bottom). Then I placed the batten back on the wall, made sure the board was pushed tight against the wall, verified the measurement (I always over-measure), and nailed it off (using the nail pattern previously mentioned).

After all the boards were up I tapped in any nail heads sticking out using a nail punch.

Board And Batten Wainscoting Caulk, Spackling, Paint

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  • Board and Batten Wainscoting
  • Board and Batten Wainscoting
  • Board and Batten Wainscoting
  • Board and Batten Wainscoting

Caulking all of the seams and gaps between the boards and the wall is a big job. As long as you can caulk neatly, it’s not a hard job… there’s just a lot of it. I recommend using DAP Alex White Painter’s All-Purpose Acrylic Latex Caulk as it’s easy to work with and, of course, you can paint over it. For any nail holes in the boards or drywall, use DAP DryDex 32 oz. Spackling Paste. Let all of that dry and sand off any excess with a minimum of 220 grit sandpaper.

After pulling off any light switch and outlet plates, taping over those electrical devices, and securing plastic over windows, doors, flooring, and ceiling if necessary (I painted my ceiling too), it’s time bring out the Wagner FLEXiO 3000 Paint Sprayer!

Wagner FLEXiO 3000

The FLEXiO 3000 can paint a wall 10 times faster than a brush, and it is AWESOME when having to cover over a ton of trim boards like the ones in this project. Read the manuals that are included thoroughly in order to learn how to properly apply a great-looking coat over your walls.

After paint, my final steps were plastic removal, clean-up, and minor touch-ups. We’ll be replacing our ceiling fan with a chandelier in the future, but for now, I refinished our fan with high quality DecoArt paint and wax, and I must say it turned out well. Other future dining room projects for us are new flooring and building a farmhouse table and chairs.

This board and batten wainscoting project wasn’t too difficult, especially after cutting down a huge amount of time and labor painting thanks to the Wagner FLEXiO 3000 Paint Sprayer!

Board And Batten Wainscoting Project Feedback

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  • Board and Batten Wainscoting Pinterest

Has this article inspired you to take on your own board and batten wainscoting project? Please let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear about your project plans and results.

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