Board and Batten Wainscoting using Scrap Wood: Basement Stairway

Hi Everyone, I thought I’d share with you how I spent my Super bowl Sunday . . . 
You see that pile of scrap wood, well that is wood that belonged to a swing set that was never built.  I mean, my hubby purchased this wood from a Wal-Mart auction, it belonged to a swing set that was missing parts, he got it all for $5!  So whenever I get that itch to start building something, I’ve got tons of scrap wood to build to my hearts desire.


Now, you see these stairs? These are the stairs to my basement . . . Yikes, they drive me nuts!  My hubby decided to spray paint them black a couple of months ago after a dark walnut stain fail . . . It was an absolute disaster (as you can see).  The treads are soft pine wood that were dented and damaged very badly.  I’m hoping that once I’m done with this wall treatment, I’ll be able to convince him to install new stair treds.


Believe it or not, I haven’t completed my hallway board and batten yet, it still needs paint, I’ll update you on that real soon, I promise! 

I’ve got big plans for this stairway . . . and I’ve been so inspired to start it:

I was first inspired by this beautiful wainscoting I found via Google search:P1010024




It reminded me so much of my stairway, almost exactly the same (minus the ugly spray painted steps).

Then I visited Lisa’s blog at Shine Your Light, she recently did a beautiful entryway makeover

isn’t it gorgeous??  Lisa also shares a bunch of B&B resources and tips–you have to check it out!

I also found great inspiration from Brittany’s bathroom B&B at Pretty Handy Girl. She uses quarter rounds and decorative molding to “dress up” her Board and Batten, which gives it a beautifully finished look. I must also give her tons of credit, as she has an excellent tutorial for using a nail gun(as well as other tools-with videos!) great for people who are just starting out like me—Please go check her out!

And so I began:


I prepped the walls and removed the cove molding at the base.


I lined up the boards along the base of the stairway to get a measurement for the angle using a mini level and marked it with a pencil.

Because I’ve yet to purchase a miter saw, I used a jig saw to cut this angle at each end of the board, then sanded the edges to ensure that they were smooth.


Next was the fun part! I got to use my newest tool . . . My Campbell Hausfeld pneumatic Nail gun and compressor.  I thought I got a thrill when I first used the jig saw, that thrill didn’t even compare to using this nail gun . . . I’ve done quite a few projects using a good old hammer and nails and although they came out okay, I now want to  go back and redo every project with my nail gun!

Anyway, I digress . . . I began lining up the boards at the edge of every other step, no exact measurement needed.  But I made sure the boards were level.




I finally got the top boards measured and nailed up ( I chose not to use construction adhesive this time around after dismantling my hallway B&B and seeing the damage that it did to my walls).

Board and batten Stairway

This part was a little tricky because I had to kinda depend on trial and error to get the angles right.  On any spots that were a little off, I simply sanded them down to make them  “fit”.

The top boards are MDF boards from Lowes (1x4x8’s)


Here You can see how much caulking and spackling I’m going to have to do . . . hopefully it’ll all be worth it.


My husband says I used too much spackle, I say I’m better safe than sorry, lol.  But honestly you shouldn’t use as much as I did, I get carried away sometimes,  it just makes for more sanding and more dust!


Before I added the decorative trim and top railing, I decided to prime the walls and the boards.

So, what do’ya think? Pretty close to my inspiration photo so far huh?



Almost there, will be back tomorrow with more . . .

Now I must go console my hubby thanks to the Patriots!!!

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  1. Lisa Scibilia
    February 7, 2012 / 12:40 pm

    Carli, the way you joined the boards at the top of the stairs, where the angled cut meets the batten, was so smart – I wish I had seen this before I did mine! Who knew one day I'd be studying angles on photos of board and batten. If I ever install on stairs again I'll use your method. Such a great job. I hope you'll link it up to my Before & After party on the 24th!And thanks for linking to me 🙂

  2. - Brittany aka Pretty Handy Girl
    February 7, 2012 / 2:27 pm

    Look at you rockin' the power tools! Love how it is coming along. Keep up the good work, I can't wait to see the after pictures!Brittany aka Pretty Handy Girl

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