Board and Batten Spacing Tutorial

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I was in the middle of writing a tutorial of how we did our living walls from our National Painting week project.   And I realized that I had a tutorial within a tutorial and one that needed to be addressed for board and batten style walls on it’s very own, so here I am.

Swedish Clock Finals Wall 015 cropped and fixed small

One of the biggest signs that you are just learning how to DIY your board and batten is problems with your spacing.   You do not, and I repeat, you DO NOT want to have uneven spacing between the battens throughout and particularly on the opposite ends of the wall.  That is a sign that you are a beginner, and that you might have a bit more to learn!  

To explain what I mean about uneven spacing lets start a hypothetical project.  Let’s say you start the wall by installing one batten, and then  just measure 24″ from the first molding and keep installing that way till you get to the other side.  But, at the end of the wall you are left with just 7 inches.  That means one side is spaced and “24 inches and the other side is 7″, that looks uneven and not ideal ( By the way, this happens with tile too, I am super picky about this, check out my tiling tips here).  

Instead you want the spacing to be even throughout the length of the wall, but one of the hardest parts is figuring out the spacing.  So let me give you two step by steps ways to figure out how to accomplish the perfect board and batten spacing!

How to properly space board and batten Tutorial

 

Perfect Board and Batten Spacing Tutorial

Measure As You Install Version (If you want to measure the spacing as you install each individual batter follow these instructions)

A. Measure the length of the wall.  

B. Decide how many battens you would like on that wall (this is the general spacing do you want them every 2 feet, every foot).  Now divide the length of the wall by the general spacing.  If you have a 10 foot wall and would like the battens about every 2 feet that equals 5 spaces.  

C. Now in order to have 5 spaces you will need 6 battens, so 5 spaces + 1 equals the number of battens you will need.  (*You cannot forget the origin point or the “0″ if you will, see the diagram below)

D. You cannot forget the thickness of your batten’s themselves.  Let’s say they are 3″ so multiply the number of battens (6) by the width of the battens (3″) which is 18″.

E. Subtract the width of the battens (18″) from the length of the wall (10′) which leave 8.5′.

F. Divide 8.5 (the length of the wall minus the width of the battens by the amount of spaces you would like (5).  Which leaves you with a spacing of 20.4″ (so just under 20 1/2″ between each batten)  This is the exact spacing between each batten.

G. Attach your first batten to the end of the wall.  Now measure from the edge of the batten 20.4″ and mark that will be the beginning edge of your next batten.  Install the second batten and measure from the edge and repeat installation.  Continue your way down the wall.  

figuring batten spacing for board and batten wall

Pre-Measured, Then Install Option (If you want to measure out and mark the spacing on the wall of all battens before beginning, follow these instructions)

A. Measure the length of the wall.  

B. Decide how many battens you would like on that wall (this is the general spacing do you want them every 2 feet, every foot).  Now divide the length of the wall by the general spacing.  If you have a 10 foot wall and would like the battens about every 2 feet that equals 5 spaces.  

C. Now in order to have 5 spaces you will need 6 battens, so 5 spaces + 1 equals the number of battens you will need.  (*You cannot forget the origin point or the “0″ if you will, see the diagram above)

D. Subtract the 3″ for the “origin batten” from the length of the wall. (10′ – 3″)

E. Now divide the remaining length by 5 (the amount of spaces you would like).Which leaves 23.4″ or just under 23 and 1/2 inches

F. To begin, measure from the starting corner 23.4″ and mark the wall.  This mark will be the start of your second batten. Measure from the first mark another 23.4″ inches, repeat this step all the way down to the end of the wall.  You will be left with a 3″ space for the last and final batten.  The marks will be the leading edge of your batten board (see below for instructions)

board and batten spacing tutorial

 

 That is basically the tutorial.  I know it works and it makes all the difference int eh final look of your board and batten wall to have everything spaced out nicely!  p.s. It is okay if the spacing of the battens is slightly different on adjoining walls especially if you keep the spacing equal throughout the individual wall.

Master 53

Images from our first ever board and batten project 11 years ago, when we were in our first house during college.  Notice how nice the spacing in all the way into the corner!   Our more recent tutorial coming tomorrow. 

About 

Cassity started Remodelaholic with her husband, Justin, to share their love for knocking out walls together. She is an interior designer, wife, and mother of two. She and Justin have remodeled three homes from top to bottom and are working on their fourth. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.

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Comments

  1. Lisa E says

    Perfect timing. I’ve been thinking of tackling this by myself in the bathroom when my hubby goes on one of his trips and wondered about the spacing. I’m real particular, but my results don’t always show it and I get quite frustrated. So thank you for this posting! I look forward to the next one as well. Here’s a question, for your opinion. All of our trim is stained. That’s how it was when we bought and that’s what my husband prefers. That’s our compromise. I do most of the decorating, but since he does live here, we have to let him have his say in some things. :) However, since I want to do board and batten, I was thinking of at least doing the baseboards white and keeping the door trim stained. The vanity is stained as well and will probably stay that way in that bathroom. Do you think that will look funny? Oh yes, the door is also stained.

    • Cassity says

      Lisa,

      I think it could work! I think that you will have to paint the baseboards for sure! And while I think the door molding would be nice to paint the same, I think you could do the main project(meaning just the wall and base molding) get it all painted and then decide if the door molding looks off. I love having painted doors, so I know the stained door won’t look bad…

      By the way, good for you for compromising with your hubby! I think a marriage is more important that your interior design choices and I appreciate you considering his likes, and I am sure it means something to him too!

      • Lisa E says

        Thanx Cassity! It’s definitely a project that will be down the road a bit. Right now I’m trying to take advantage of the beautiful spring weather (finally) with outside painting projects before the humid weather hits.

  2. Jesse says

    Very nice! Thanks, we are getting ready to do this to our downstairs. Odd question, where does that cool door with the yellow wreath lead??

  3. Jason C says

    Great tutorial! I created a little spreadsheet with your formula so I can use it again in the future. I have a quick question about the corners. Do you use full width battens in the corners or do you trim them down so you have equal space on each side?

    • Cassity says

      Meghan, the spacing in a hall will have to be fudged a little bit and that is not bad. The goal is consistency, not perfections. In order for it to look clean I would be sure you get measure each section and then figure out and average space that would work for each section. (graph paper is a DIY-ers best friend!) Try to keep the spacing within a few inches for each section, so that the eye will make sense of the space! (good luck!)

  4. Heidi J says

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! One of the corners I will be working with is a rounded/bullnose outside corner. Any ideas on the best way to do the spacing around that?

    • Cassity says

      Heidi,

      There are a few things things you could do:

      1. You could just butt the edges of the wood together, in the board and batten area to create a square 90 degree corner
      2. Or if the corner is larger, you could try a 3 sided corner (sort of like half of a hexagon) to cover
      3. Or you could avoid the corner and not put molding right there (but I don’t recommend this!) this may appear to make the space unfinished

      Oh and I thought of one other option, my friend Jen from Tatertots and Jello, just did a planked entry and they off set the planks from the curved arch corner by like 1 inch, that way they didnt’ have to face the transition, or take the planking into another room. It worked out well, check out the post, hopefully you can see what she did.

  5. Taya says

    Hi! New to your website via Pinterest! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your space! This is exactly the board and batten I have been looking for the past year. I have been terrified to tackle the job, but this post has renewed my faith to start a diy project. A few Q’s: I really like how the batten is thin and closely spaced. “About” how far apart did you space it? And is your wall smooth or textured? My walls are lightly textured, so not sure if it will look funny if I don’t cover over it (which I don’t plan to do.) Lastly, how many walls did you finish like this? I am thinking of doing this in my music room which has four walls and not sure if it would feel “too heavy”. Thanks in advance!

    • Justin says

      Taya, we are so glad that you found our site and thanks for loving it. Our living room has two walls that have the board and batten. The other wall is a rock wall. If you are worried about doing all four walls you could just start with one accent wall and then see how you like it. It depends on the size of you room as well, if its small it could feel like too much. We spaced ours at between 8-9 inches. That is what seemed to work for us. I hope that helps. Good luck!

  6. g vanderlaan says

    I have been pinning board and batten walls for months and finally got up the nerve to try it in my small bathroom. Easier said than done for me! I could not get the spacing right so I gave up on it but now want to try again. I appreciate this tutorial. I am trying to work around a mirror that is not framed yet,a light switch, electrical outlet, door, window, and the plumbing behind the toilet so I was not able to figure it out. I really like that the battens you used are thin….what size are they? I see that your battens were spaced 8 or 9 inches apart & since I have limited wall space maybe I should use 8 inch spacing. What is your opinion? I also like the idea of starting in the corner and was wondering if I am supposed to use a batten in the corner of the connecting wall as well?? so that there are 2 battens (1 on the left of the corner and another on the right of the corner)the 2 battens would butt up to each other. Would that be too much in the corner? What do you suggest? I almost gave up on this so thanks again! You are so very talented and I cannot wait to try your ideas.

    • Justin says

      G, the width of the moldings here were 1 7/8″. When it comes to all the obstacles you are working around, I would focus on the maintaining the spacing width and ignore the switches, you can work around those like I did here in this post. It’s hard to give advice with out seeing it, but hopefully that helps. When it comes to patching, 3m has a great patch and primer that is really good and smooth. It dries fast and sands easy. It does take a lot of patience though for patching all the holes. Good luck!

  7. Tony says

    Hi, really looks good particularly in bedroom – I wonder how you would deal with built in wardrobes in alcoves of chimneybreast so that the wainscoating continues ?

  8. Marsha says

    Hi. We live in a bi-level home and want to do board and baton in the entry stairway. What is the type boards that you tend to use. Were have been looking at mdf board that is 1″ think, using 5 1/2″ on top and 3 1/2″ as the baton and base board. Should we use a thinner type board?

    • Justin says

      I like to use a 5/8″ board for the top and bottom and then something thinner for the vertical battens. With the case of this post I used a 1/4″ thick batten. Just keep in mind that a 1×6 mdf board is acctually 5/8″x5 1/2″.

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