Staircase Board and Batten Wall

As y’all know, we stripped the old paneling off of the walls of our 1901 Victorian farmhouse to expose the shiplap. Yes, I love shiplap, and ours is particularly beautiful. Once all of the shiplap was exposed, we decided that our parlor needed just a a bit more interest. We accomplished this by covering the staircase wall with a board and batten treatment. This looks like a difficult thing to do, but actually, except for a lot of work, it’s not too difficult. Our master bedroom board and batten wall had already been tackled, so The Mean Man was ready to take on a more challenging style.

Adding a Board and Batten Wall

Adding a board and batten wall is a great way to cover any kind of damage you may have. Here are the materials you’ll need, measured according to your wall.

4’x8′ Primed plywood 5mm

12′ 1×3 MDF boards

8′ 1×3 MDF boards

Nail gun & nails

Liquid Nails



We chose to go with a thin primed plywood board to skin the walls. The width of the boards would determine where our batten boards would land. Where these seams are is where you’ll place your first batten boards. The measurements for a staircase wall are a little bit trickier than just a straight square wall. There are a few angles that you’ll have to figure out. Seriously, here is how we started the process.

We had to determine the style we wanted. In our bedroom we just used the vertical battens with one cross batten near the top. This was actually where the bottom boards ended and the the smaller top boards attached.

I knew I wanted a more traditional  board and batten style for the stairs, which consists of the vertical battens along with several horizontal battens, making squares.

Add the Boards to Skin the Wall

Cut the boards that will cover the walls to size. Add liquid nails to the back and nail into place.

Next Come the Batten Boards

Add the base boards, then attach the batten boards over the seams.

The cross battens are obviously more tricky than straight cuts. There are several tools to mark angles for cuts that can be used. We basically measured the wall along the stairs and divided it by the number of battens we wanted to use. It took a few attempts, but we came up with what would be the most symmetrical.

After Caulking, then Paint

When you’ve attached all of your battens, it’s time to caulk. This is what gives the illusion of seamless boards. Let it all dry and then prime and paint. Even though our paint was a primer and paint all in one, we still primed with a good primer to be sure our paint coat would be smooth. We sprayed our walls with a paint sprayer.

I wanted a color that would accent our parlor, which is whites, grays, and blush. I chose Cockleshell. 

You can decorate this wall any way you’d like. You can still hang pictures or any kind of decor you’d normally use. I added some hydrangea swags for that little extra bit of elegance. This room is all about being feminine and pretty. I love it.


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