After we finished lightening up the look of the fireplace brick with distressed white cement mortar (see the tutorial here ) we decided keep going with the momentum of the project and add board and batten to the wall above the mantel. We had done a similar project to my hallway earlier in the year and were really happy with the results. The supplies needed were minimal, (and also inexpensive!!) and we were hopeful that we could get all the cutting and wood placement done in an afternoon.
For this project we used white MDF 3.5″ boards purchased at Home Depot, Loctite liquid nails, a nail gun, level, measuring tape, pencil, and saw.
The first, and most important, step was the measuring and placement of our first board. We started with the left vertical board. We measured the distance from the top of the mantel to the ceiling board, cut the board accordingly, and then checked and rechecked the fit. We then applied liquid nails to the back of the board, made sure it was level, and secured it with brad nails and a nail gun. Be sure to use a level before securing your board to the wall with the brad nails. The board can shift while the liquid nails is drying. If this board isn’t totally straight, it will be obvious and throw all the other boards off.
The next step was doing the same thing on the other side of the mantel. It is helpful to draw out the design for the boards before you cut them. Once you lay the outside framing boards and ensure they are level and straight, the rest of the steps move pretty quickly and you just follow your design sketch.
You will notice that for this project we didn’t remove our TV. There were two reasons for this. One, it didn’t seem like it would be in our way or interfere with where I was wanting to place any boards. Two, this massive guy weighs 50 lbs and I remember how hard it was for us to hold it up and steady while applying screws into the wall mount. I was seriously hoping to avoid that experience if at all possible!
We framed the outside and added a horizontal board to the top.
Then we added two more interior vertical boards.
Next came the horizontal boards. I measured down 12 inches from the ceiling for the top board, and up 12 inches from the mantel for the bottom board. I used my trusty level at every step to ensure the boards were square.
Next, we installed the top row of horizontal boards before adding the row below.
I used quick drying caulk to cover over all the brad nail holes and also ran it along every board edge to give a seamless appearance along the wall.
Using a 2 inch angled brush I painted the edges and corners of each board. I used Vista Paint Carefree Brand Paint and Primer in One leftover from our construction earlier in the year. It is a stock bright white color.
Using a roller, I painted inside each box on top of the trim. I then immediately went over each section and board with my brush to smooth it out. Make sure you do this step right away before the paint has had any time to dry and leave bubbles.
Here are a few shots of the finished project. We are so happy with the way it brightens the living room. It also makes the ceilings look higher, which is an added bonus.