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Easy DIY Board and Batten Tutorial

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Installing MDF board and batten is an easy and inexpensive way to add design and interest to any room.

I love adding different types of wall treatments including vertical shiplap and square grid trim. When designing our bathroom remodel, we chose a timeless wall treatment – board and batten.

Board and Batten

What exactly is board and batten? Well it’s basically a wall treatment has alternating wide boards and narrow wooden strips (battens).

While board and batten can become expensive depending on the type of material used and labor involved, it’s also possible to install your own (DIY) using MDF as a cost-effective alternative.

MDF Board and Batten Tutorial


  • MDF panels
  • brad nails
  • paintable caulk
  • wood filler
  • sand paper
  • paint + primer


  • brad nailer
  • miter saw
  • paint sprayer (optional)


If you’re using sheets of mdf you’ll need to cut them down to size. We used 3″ for the horizontal board and 2″ for the stiles (batten).

Start by measuring the width of your wall and determining how tall you want your board and batten. Traditional board and batten height is between 36-40″ although it has become more common to go up to 5′. You can use this calculator as an EASY way to determine your board and batten spacing based on your wall width.

Once you’ve determined your batten spacing, cut a piece of scrap wood to the stile width to use as a spacer. Now cut your stiles to height.

diy board and batten

Start on the left corner and nail your vertical MDF to the wall placing nails every 12 inches being sure to level it on the wall. Use your scrap wood spacer to continue nailing stiles to the wall (leveling each one as you go).

Once all stiles are up, cut your horizontal board the width of the wall and level on the wall securing with nails.

When all trim work is up, use wood filler to fill in nail holes and every seam where MDF meets MDF. Sand smooth once dry.

wood filler on board and batten

For pre-primed MDF, skip to the next step. Prime your MDF with 2 coats of good primer. For areas with moisture, use a mildew resistant primer like this one.

When the primer is dry, use a paintable caulk to fill seams/cracks where the MDF trim meets the wall.

painting diy MDF board and batten

Paint! The QUICKEST way to paint any type of wood trim accent wall is to use a paint sprayer. Tape and plastic your space well to protect areas not being painted. If hand-painting, cut in with a good angled brush and roll with a 4″ foam roller for a smoother finish.

Now sit back and admire your work! Follow me on Instagram @crazylifewithlittles and show me your finished projects!