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While the bare brick look is trendy, many people still prefer a smooth wall. One way to achieve this is by attaching plasterboard over the masonry, using wood battens to provide support.
This is a good method to use if you want to install insulation, as the battens provide a gap between wall and plasterboard that the insulation can be placed in before the plasterboard is secure. This guide will teach you how to fix vertical and horizontal wood battens to your wall to ensure a stable framework to attach the plasterboard to.
We also have a guide for the dot and dab method of dry lining, as well as how to attach plasterboard to a stud wall.
Tools and Materials
1. Check Wall Level
Place spirit level vertically against bare wall and check if wall is level. Wood battens can be attached directly to a level wall, but if the wall slants out at any point then plastic wedges need to be placed behind the battens so they are level.
2. Measure And Cut Batten
Measure and cut batten that will run along the wall under the ceiling. Mark line to be cut with pencil and metal ruler. Cut ends at an angle (if walls have a slant) so they fit snugly into corner. You might need to cut more than one batten to cover the full length of the wall.
3. Mark Drill Points
Place batten in position and mark drill points using a pencil. You want to place several marks evenly spaced out along the batten, so that the fixing will go through to the centre of the individual brick behind. This is stronger than fixing into the mortar, or at the edge of the individual brick.
4. Drill Batten
Place wood on workbench and drill holes using wood bit.
5. Drill Wall
Place drilled wood in position and drill through holes, into wall, using masonry bit.
6. Insert Wall Plugs
Remove wood and push wall plugs into hole in wall, hammering them in for a tight fit.
7. Screw Batten In Place
Place wood in position. Push screws through wood into rawl plug and hand-turn so the screw is held steady. Drill into place using impact driver.
8. Repeat For Floor Batten
Repeat Steps 2 through to 7, this time using the for the length of the wall along the floor and fixing the batten on the wall against the floor.
9. Repeat For Vertical Battens At Edges Of Wall
Repeat steps 2 through to 7, this time measuring between the horizontal battens to find the length of the vertical battens. The first and last vertical battens might need to be fitted at an angle to compensate for unlevel walls.
10. Repeat For All Other Vertical Battens
Measure plasterboard width. Place second batten so that first piece of plasterboard will completely cover first batten and half of second. This second batten (and every batten thereafter apart from the last) must be horizontally and vertically plumb, so check using a spirit level.. Repeat steps 3 through 8 to fix battens in place.
Pro Tip: If wall has window frames or doorways, batten must be placed hard up against frame, even if not plumb level.
11. Fix Further Horizontal Battens If Needed
If plasterboard is not as tall as wall, then measure, cut and fix horizontal battens in between uprights to fix top and bottom of plasterboard panels to.
12. Attach Plasterboard
Fix plasterboard on top of battens using plasterboard screws, having first placed a layer of insulation in between battens if you wish. Stagger the joins if you can to create a more durable surface for plastering. Screw until metal head is flush with plasterboard but take care not to over-screw as the plasterboard could split.
This guide should have furnished you with comprehensive knowledge of how to build up a strong wooden framework to affix plasterboard to. We have covered making sure the wood battens are level, that the whole frame fits the wall accurately, and that they are close enough to ensure the plasterboard will cover them easily.
When your plasterboard wall is finished, you will want to fix things to it. This requires special fixings which you can find more about in this guide to the top 7 plasterboard fixings.