I know we’re late with the hallway updates but needless to say the board and batten is finished and looks great. Overall it was pretty easy and quick so we decided to continue the board and batten into the front hall and stairs (much to Danny’s dismay). I will finish getting the posts up this week and I will try to keep it consistent with the stages in how we worked.
Third Step: Paint
Since I can’t take off during the week, my mom painted the hall white and purchased all the necessary wood and tools. Painting before hand saved a lot of time and gave us the finished look right away. The paint she used was leftover from a previous job that was still in the garage. Painting before putting on the battens allowed a little more forgiveness in the final painting and we didn’t have to painstakingly get all the nooks and crannies perfectly.Tip: Paint first and save yourself some time!
Fourth Step: Install the Woodwork
The following weekend we began installing the woodwork beginning on the smaller walls. We used a stud finder to locate the studs and nailed the top boards to the wall with a nail gun. We used a Bostitch Nail gun from Lowe’s which was pretty easy to operate, although I never used it because Danny claimed the job. The nail gun was a great purchase and a huge time saver (without a nail gun we may have quit). We attached the top board, top rail, corner pieces, and battens using the nail gun. The cove piece, which is below the top rail, was attached with wood glue, and was taped to hold in place until the glue held steady. Switching to the smaller battens was a great choice and they were also more forgiving. Lowe’s machine can’t cut precisely down to 1/16th, which is of course what we needed, but some were close enough to squeeze in. Any other battens that were too long were cut with a table saw outside.
Having three people made the job easier and we worked much faster. Gluing the cove pieces and adhering them was definitely a three person job with those longer pieces (two to hold at the ends and one to run frantically taping in place).
Everything was going smoothly and we had quite the rhythm going. We completed one side of the main hall and around the corner, leaving the longest wall for last. This is where we made a huge mistake. The longest board on the wall was the top piece, measuring 8 ft. long. We did everything as before, we found the studs, and nailed both top boards and top rails in place, and continued around the corner. Thankfully we did not adhere the cove yet, and had decided to quit glueing the battens and just use nails (much quicker and looks the same). As we put up the battens we began to notice a difference between the height of the top board. It was a good 2 inches higher on one side! This wall was also very beveled, so at first we blamed the wall. (We measured, cut, leveled; what could be wrong?) After we got up 4 battens, it was obvious the battens were at an angle, taking a step back the entire top board was on a decline. Despite our pride, we had to call in the big guns, my dad, who has had no faith in us from the start. He very nonchalantly walked past, took one quick look, and told us our level was too small (Huh! That would have been a helpful tip). He went to the garage and came back with a huge level. It clearly showed our top board was on an angle. We had been sliding our small level down the entire board, which we found out is not the best idea, and we finally paid for our lack of construction skills.Tip: Use the right size level. Big wall = big level.
Now we had to completely start over and my dad got stuck helping us use a crowbar to get the boards off. Thankfully the battens weren’t glued so with a little tugging they came out fairly easily. Nails had to be pulled or clipped off the studs and boards, and the crowbar left nice big black marks on the wall.
Thankfully we put the boards too low, and once moved to the appropriate level, all the marks were covered. We started again this time using the correct level and measuring the distance between every batten at the top and bottom. The long wall was finally up! There were still some awkward walls left where battens needed to be cut short to fit around the vents but overall we were finished. It looked great and although there was still more left to do, the hallway had a completed look.
As we worked, we ran into several minor problems. Some of the boards were too short, and doors and windows caused spacing problems in some areas. We decided it was better to look right than be right. To get spacing correct around doorways we sometimes moved the battens slightly closer/farther apart to get it to look appealing to the eye. No one will know which batten is 1/2 an inch farther as long as it looks correct. We ran into more of this in the front hall which I will cover in my next post.
Cutting the corners for the cove pieces was really hard and I’m glad Danny was there to help. I cannot visualize things well ( I also barely passed geometry in high school) so its safe to say I was absolutely no help. Danny was able to logically reason through what to do and figured it all out with only an error or two. He practiced on some scrap pieces before cutting the boards and gave us some really nice corners.Tip: Make the walls visually appealing verses precisely measured. Doors and corners stop the flow a bit so make the wall look right. It is better to look right. Tip: To cut corners both pieces of wood need to be cut at the same angle. Therefore for a 90° corner each end has to be cut at a 45° angle, this will make a perfect corner because the cut ends will be a matching length and angle.
Fifth: Putty and Caulk
Once everything was up we puttied and caulked. There was very little caulking needed, thankfully, and my mom was able to complete most of it during the next week. I remember helping caulk as a kid when my parents built the house, and loved going around with my caulking crayon and filling in the holes. Unfortunately, it seems as if no one carries those crayons anymore, so after searching a few stores we had to settle on the tub. (If anyone knows where to get those little crayons let me know.) This was much messier and I think I made more of a mess as an adult than I ever did as a kid. I found it easier to just put putty on my finger and rub it in the spots instead of using the knife. I could feel the spot and although my hands were messy, the floor was not.
Sixth: Final Painting
Everything received a final painting, including the garage door and baseboards. This cleaned up everything and kept all the white the same shade throughout the hall. My mom was able to do this during the week and we returned the following weekend hoping to relax and do laundry, only to find out she wanted to continue the board and batten into the front hall and up and down the stairs (this ended up being quite the project).