How to Install Wainscoting | DIY Board and Batten

I'm Brad Rodriguez from Fix This Build That and today I'm going to show you how I installed wainscoting in our laundry room for a board and batten look. And this is my first time doing wainscoting, and I'll show you some things that I'd do differently next time. Stay tuned, I'll show you how I did it! Here's the laundry room I'll be working in. The wainscoting is going to be the first of several projects we'll be doing here to freshen up the space to go with the new top load washer and dryer from MaytagⓇ , the sponsor of today's video.

This laundry set has a ton of amazing features, and this room needed some amazing features of its own. I started by laying out a rough line where the top rail would be on the wall. I went with a 36 inch high rail and they say that the general rule of thumb for a low wainscoting is one-third of the wall height. And we definitely needed to add some color and get rid of the contractor beige. So I'll be painting the whole room a nice blue green. I cut in and rolled the room everywhere except below where I marked the rail line. I'll be painting that lower portion white here in a minute. Since it was such a small area and I had to get into some tight spots on the other side of the room, I used this small 6 inch roller with the 3/8 of an inch nap. I won't have a batten on either end of the wall in the corner.

So I used some green painters tape to make a clean line for the transition between the blue and the white. I rolled the lower section with the white I'll be using on the trim later. And it's way easier to paint the wall now than to have to deal with all the trim pieces later as well. I put on two coats of white paint and when the paint dried I had a nice clean line. I'm going to install new baseboards for a more substantial look on the bottom. So I removed all the current boards and started with an outside corner, and then work my way around. I'd probably remove the baseboards before painting if I did it again, just in case there was any damage to the wall that couldn't be covered by the taller baseboards. I used one four by eight sheet of three quarter inch MDF for the trim parts.

It was only about $35 at Home Depot. I had them rip one 18 inch section the whole length of the board at the store and back in the shop I ripped the small section down to become the long runs of the trim. If you don't have a table saw you can just have the store make all the cuts for you as well. I'm installing new five and a half inch base boards like I mentioned, around the whole room to match the feature wall. the trim board needed miters and I like cutting my miters vertically on the miter saw, instead of using the bevel feature which is a pain to zero back to 90 degrees. But when you've got tall trim you might run into this issue with your miter saw.

You can flip the board over and swing the miter to 45 degrees the other way and finish the cut. But it's going to be less than perfect. Now the issue here is that the arbor or the motor is hitting the board on the right side of the saw. So to solve this I cut the board at 90 degrees about a half-inch longer than you need. Then you can make your miter cut with the board on the left of the saw. This will avoid the issue on most saws because you have a little bit more clearance just for a small off cut like this. I took the boards up to the laundry room and I dry fit them in place to make sure everything matched up and that the small patch board was the right size to extend the baseboard. To make sure the long trim boards were seamless once installed, I joined the boards together before installing.

You could just nail them in place next to each other, but you're likely gonna have a ridge or a gap there. I used pocket holes and glue to join the boards, but let me warn you on this. This is not a strong joint. MDF does not hold screws very well and especially with an end-to-end connection. So it's purely cosmetic. Just make sure you handle it with care before final install.

To prep for paint I spackled the joints where the boards were joined together. I also applied spackle to the top edges of the MDF. The edges are extremely porous, and if you don't seal them up it's just gonna suck the paint up and take a lot of coats to really look good. Sealing and sanding will also give you a much smoother finish than just the fibered edges that will be there after you cut it. While the spackle is drying I went ahead and cut the vertical battens for the wall. These are all three and a half inches and I cut them a little oversized at 28 inches long so I could cut them to fit during install to adjust for any differences in the wall. I gave them the same edge treatment as the other boards except since these were all the same size, I ganged them together to apply the spackle to the edges.

And this went a lot faster, and it was easy to clean up afterwards. When the spackle dried I primed all the MDF pieces with a foam roller. I wanted to do as little painting in the room as possible, and if I did it again I'd probably go ahead and do one finish coat before I install them. And then just do some patching and 1 final coat in the room. I took the baseboards back up to the laundry room and started laying them out for install. The board under the window was the highest so I leveled it first and then I nailed it in place. Then I shimmed up the long baseboard to the same height and nailed that in place as well.

I checked for level and then nailed the rest of the baseboards in place all along the trim. To attach the top rail I measured up 36 inches and marked a line across the wall using my four foot level. Since I was working solo here, I used a spanning clamp as an extra hand to hold one end of the rail while I attach the other side. I leveled the other end and attached it in place and then secured the rail with more nails. I modeled the room in Sketchup. It's an easy to learn free 3d drawing software. We looked at doing six vertical battens, but I thought the spaces in between them were just is a little too narrow.

Five battens looked a lot better to us with a little beefier feel. The beauty of Sketchup is that you can then use the dimensioning tool to show exactly what measurements you need for all the boards and all the spacing. I'm gonna have a link below to the blog post where you can go and download this exact model and use this as a starting point for your own project. I marked off where the center of each batten should go. Then I set each one in place and marked where I needed to make the cut.

And I went back down to the shop and I cut all the battens to size on my miter saw. There was a little bit of variation between that top and the baseboard, so doing the cuts afterward gives me less gap when I go to install. I lined up each batten, and I nailed it in place using 2-inch brad nails. It's worth mentioning here, I didn't have any adhesive on the back of these trim boards and I probably should have. That's something I'd do differently if I did it again. I wasn't able to hit the studs in each location and even when I did there's only a half-inch of contact at most. Honestly I just have a fear of commitment, and if I ever take this down I didn't want it to tear up the walls.

I know, it's ridiculous. On the end board you can see there is quite a gap between the wall and the baseboard. I taped some thick cardstock to the back of the board to act as a shim to get the board flush with the baseboard and the top rail on the front of each of the pieces. This will give me that flush fit where it counts and then I'll just caulk the gap between the wall and the batten. I'm using a one and a half inch cap board on the top rail. I like the look of the extra trim, but you can leave it off for a slightly cleaner look here. I glued it in place, and then I secured it with brad nails as well to the top rail. The last piece to finish the trim out was to do a shoe molding on all the baseboards. I measured it and cut the shoe molding to fit and attached it with pin nails.

And like I mentioned these walls were less than flat so I went back and caulked all the seams between the trim and the walls with a paintable caulk. I used a wet finger to smooth out the joints for a clean look. Now just make sure you have plenty of paper towels or rags on hand for cleanup because it gets messy in a hurry. I also spackled all the nail holes in the joints between the battens and the rails. I sanded everything flush once it dried. I came back and brushed on two more coats of the white paint to the trim boards to finish things off.

Like I said before it would have been easier if I have done one more coat in the shop and then just had to do one coat to finish it up. I absolutely love the way this wall treatment turned out. It's totally transformed the look of this room and I can't wait to continue with the remodel in here, cause that flooring has gotta go! I want to give a big THANK YOU to MaytagⓇ for sponsoring today's video. They sent over that sweet washer and dryer combo and the dryer has seven cubic feet of capacity and it dries evenly. So it can handle the load that my family of five puts in it. If you want to find more information about those products there's a link down below in the description.

If you want to download of that Sketchup file that I showed in the video there's a link down below in the description to my website. You can get it there. If you're not subscribed to the channel already I'd love to have you as part of the team and until next time guys get out there and build something awesome!.

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