I promised to give you details about how I finished off the board and batten and the balusters on the staircase remodel project. As you know it wasn’t an easy process but it took so long mainly because I had never done it before and I had no instructions.
When we last left off, I had …
- Removed the carpet from the stairs
- Scraped and sanded the treads
- Stained and sealed the stair treads
- Removed the balusters and handrail
- Stripped the paint off the handrail
- Built a Newel post
I built a second newel post that was attached to the wall so it didn’t need to slide over anything. I built it the same way I built the other one only I built 3/4 of it.
It took the oak handrail into the garage and sanded it down to the raw wood. I used a combination of the power sander and sanding by hand. I applied the same color stain to the handrail as the stair treads and I used a foam brush.
I choose not to seal it at this time. I would later seal it once everything was installed just in case I needed to do some touch ups. I test fitted the railing prior to cutting it to the exact size I needed. Reusing the railing saved me about $40.
With the rail in place I was able to estimate the exact height and width of my “to be built” balusters. Trying to figure that out made my head hurt so I put it on the back-burner for a while. Not installing the rail also gave me more working room.
Meanwhile, I decided to start on the board & batten wall treatment. I painted a portion of the wall with Behr Silky White in Semi-gloss. Then I added a 5′ wide piece of 3/4″ MDF on top of the stringer. This would serve as my baseboard for the battens.
I used an angle finder to find out the angle of the stringer and it was 40°. Forty would be my magic number for this entire install.
I continued on adding the top board which sits at exactly 42″ high from the front of each step. I wanted the detail to be visible from over the railing.
Now It was time to start adding the battens. In theory, if your two boards are the exact distance apart from the top of the stairs to the bottom of the stairs then all of your battens should be the same length. Somehow, I was slightly off by about 1/16th of an inch and so I had to cut them two at a time. It took me about two hours to get them all installed on both sides of the staircase.
My battens are 15″ apart. To keep that measurement consistent, I cut a piece of MDF to 15″ long and 40° parallel and used it as my spacer.
I used the same spacer to create the cross battens which are 4″ wide.
I don’t have a photo of this next step but i simply placed a 1×2 piece of wood on top of the top board to create a ledge. I secured with glue and brad nails to the top board and not the wall. Then I went back and filled and sanded every nail hole with spackling.
Then I used my Cheap & Easy Sanding Blocks to get it completely smooth.
I vacuumed up all of the dust and then wiped down with a few tack cloths. I used two coats of spray primer to coat all of the MDF and I made sure to sand the final coat to keep things smooth.
Here I am after all the spraying is complete . The hubs took this photo so I thought I’d share.
Next I sealed all of the seams with paintable caulk. This is what creates that professional look and it hides all of your novice mistakes.
Now it was time to paint. Everything got two coats of Semi-gloss Silky White.
While I waited for the paint to dry, I took a piece of 3/4″ Solid oak into the garage and stained it to match the stair treads and railing.
The edges were beveled on the table saw to give it some detail.
When the paint was dry, I taped off and covered the board and batten to avoid spilling any gray paint.
I decided to go a shade darker than the original gray that was on the wall since there was so much white in the space now. Plus there would be a good amount of contrast.
The painters tape creates a perfectly clean line between the trim and the wall.
Lets take a closer look at the stair treads.
See those little holes? They need to be filled in order to secure the balusters. I measured the holes and they were 3/4″ in diameter. I bought a 3′ long wooden dowel that was 3/4″ in diameter and cut it up into 2″ pieces.
I put glue in the hole and then lightly tapped them in using the hammer.
Once the glue dries, it will be hard as nails.
I attached a 2×2 to the railing and painted it white. Then I cut the piece to the exact size to fit between the two newel posts. I toenailed it into the newel post and filled the holes with stainable wood filler. Then I touched it up with stain.
In order to get a perfect fit with the balusters, I cut each piece to fit and taped them in place temporarily. Then I used glue and brad nails to secure them together.
Once all pieces were secure to one another, I removed the two sections and finished them.
I filled the holes, sanded, caulked and painted two coats of the same white paint.
Note: Right about now is when I decided that a HVLP Paint sprayer would be a good gift for the constant DIY wife.
Then I toenailed the top and bottom of each baluster into the stair. I filled those holes and sanded and touch-up painted. I also installed the caps of the newel posts using a little bit of glue and brad nails.
The caps and the railing got three coats of polyurethane.
It makes such a statement when you walk in my front door.