Go Back

How To Do Board And Batten On A Staircase

A step-by step tutorial to add board and batten to a staircase

Author Laura Gummerman


  1. First, you’ll want to figure out your grid pattern! I used some painters tape to get an idea of where I wanted the lines to be and that’s really the easiest way to see what size grid you would like.

  2. Once the top board was in, I set about cutting my 1/4″ boards to line the bottom of my stairwell area. You can see that it’s a lot of angle finding on the bottom of the stair area, so what I would do is hold boards in place basically drawing with a pencil where it looked like the angles should be, and then I would take the board to my miter saw and move the blade angle until it matched the line of my pencil drawing (you can line it up with the side of the opening for an easy way to tell if you have the right angle).

  3. Use a nail gun (I’m in love with our battery powered one but you can also rent them!) to attach the boards to the wall as you get them cut to the right angle and length, and I would give the cut edges a little sanding before attaching to sand off the little fuzzy edges from the saw.

  4. Once you get all your bottom boards in (yay!), you can start on the vertical boards! Measure, cut, and attach with your nail gun all your vertical boards, finding any angles the way we did with the bottom boards (i.e., hold it up to the angle, guess the angle with a pencil line, cut and see if the angle fits, recut a little more if needed).

  5. Corners are generally two vertical boards coming together to meet in the corner, and if your corners aren’t a perfect 45° you may need to attach one board as close to the corner as you can (level it to make sure it’s straight) and then scribe the side that will fit in the corner of the second vertical board with a jigsaw to fit perfectly against that first board.

  6. Once the vertical boards are in, it’s time for the horizontal ones! These go the fastest as you have some angles to find, but a lot of them are between columns so they are just straight cuts and a lot faster (you can just measure the space between the vertical boards and cut to fit).

  7. Fill the nail holes and gaps where board joints meet together with wood filler to smooth out all the joints. A little tip for less sanding is to let the filler set a bit and then gently go over it with a damp cloth—it will smooth out the filler and wipe away excess so you have less sanding to do later.

  8. Once the filler is dry, sand it down smooth (I like this grit for sanding and this for a final coat to smooth it). Then using this caulk, caulk all around the squares between the boards and the drywall to make it look integrated and not separate from the wall. Just cut the tip at an angle with a small opening, use a thin bead of it, and smooth it out with a damp finger or cloth. It’s a bit time consuming to do, but it makes a HUGE difference.

  9. Once your filling and caulking is complete, it’s time to paint! I love this brush for painting angled trim like this and then this roller for painting the insides of the squares and the flat faces of the trim for a smooth look. It’s up to you what paint to use, but I would suggest a satin finish as it’s more of a wall than trim and generally you use satin on a wall and semi-gloss on trim (eggshell could work but the whole thing in semi-gloss could look too shiny).