Home Improvements, Featured

Building a DIY vertical wooden slat wall

5 tips on how to build a wood slat wall

Hey everyone, during the Covid lockdown we’ve found the time to get creative with some ideas we’ve seen and wanted to implement for a while. We first thought of building a DIY vertical wooden slat wall after seeing some amazing interior designs on Pinterest. Some are called acoustic walls because they’re backed with sound damping material to reduce echo in large spaces, others are just timber slats attached to a wall for aesthetic reasons.

We pondered over various ideas for the wall. Paint it..nah! cover it with palette wood..maybe, but we felt that wouldn’t suit the rest of our plans. So stained timber slats were the way to go.

5 ways to make building a wood slat wall easier

  • pick the straightest timber slats you can find
  • buy or hire a nail gun that uses LARGE nails
  • make sure you have enough wood stain/dye
  • use grip glue to help line up while nailing
  • GLOVES…splinters are hell.

DIY slat wall foundations

The first thing we built was a new large skirting panel. This boxed in the new radiator pipes but also provided a bit of clearance for the slats. Our entrance and living room is open plan so people coming in and out with bags, taking shoes off and general movement would mean the bottoms of the slats would get scuffed or damaged if they reached the floor.

Wooden slat wall building process

We looked into a number of different tutorials on how to do this. This blog by theolivegreenwindow was our first inspiration. We decided we couldn’t do a ‘proper’ acoustic wall because it needed to be quite low profile as it’s the open plan entrance to our home as well as part of the living room.

We wanted the visible wall to also be wood, rather than just nailing the slats straight to the wall (which I guess would have been a lot easier). So our initial idea was to flip everything face down, use spacers between the slats and create panels nailed from the back to hide the nails, which could then be attached in rows to the wall. So this was our first issue. Despite the slats being planed wood, some were quite twisted or bent and without a great deal of force some of them would not attach straight.

We had bought a nailgun, a cheap one, in Wilkos on a whim weeks before, thinking “that’ll go through the ply behind and in to the wood”. Problem is, it only fired nails up to 16mm in size, so by changing the plan and attaching the slats from the front this nailgun was useless. We had to do it the old fashioned way.

We had new radiators in March before lockdown and at that point, we were unsure it was possible to build this wall, it was still just an idea. The 4mm ply sheets had to be cut around the radiator leaving room for the heat not to affect them, they were then stained and fitted. A tiny unused cupboard above the door was boarded over too. Each slat was sanded and stained with a water-based walnut wood dye (point 3. get plenty of wood dye, as opposed to running out, then waiting a week for more to be delivered by mail because DIY stores were locked down too)

We started next to the radiator, this was just to make sure we could get the slats close enough without being affected by heat, then we worked the rest off from that point. Grip glue was used to help secure the slats in place while nailing, it also removed any movement or rattle between the timber and the back ply. (Our walls are not flat, it will be a recurring theme on DIY projects, walls aren’t flat, corners are not 90 degrees)

It took two days to line up and attach all the slats. The only thing left to do is the plastic pipe cover for the radiator which needs a coat of brown paint, but we’re still locked down so I need to order something online.

DIY slat feature wall completed

Keep checking in for more updates, if you follow us on Instagram you will see we’ve been working on the rest of the living room, so we’ll be posting a blog about that soon. Also check out our kitchen renovation.

22 thoughts on “Building a DIY vertical wooden slat wall”

  1. Eleni says:

    Your wooden slat wall is stunning! Planning something similar on our kitchen diner one day so this is super inspiring!

    1. Thanks Eleni, we’ll be following on instagram and we can’t wait to see what you create.

  2. Laura Donnelly says:

    Hi can I ask how did you attach the back panels to the wall? Just with nail gun? I’d like to do a slat wall but minimise damage to the actual wall (ie with glue or nails directly to it) and creating a painted panel to attach the slat to seems like best option.

    1. Hi Laura, I don’t have a proper sized nail gun just one of those electric stapler types, it fires a 14mm brad nail which was enough to tack the sheets of ply in place after using fixing glue like no-nails.

  3. Mick says:

    Looks great, we wanted to do something similar, have you noticed an improvement in the acoustics?
    Cheers
    Mick

    1. Hi Mick, it seems like there’s a little less of an echo in the room, but it’s not a huge difference. Go for it.

  4. Tim says:

    What was the type of wood you used? And how big are the slats and the gap?

    Looks really good

    1. We bought lengths of yellow pine, they were about 42mm wide and 22mm deep, I used the depth to make the gap, so I could nail the next length against it, so every gap was the correct size without having to measure floor to ceiling.

  5. Tiera Gonzales says:

    What stain did you use??

  6. Geoff Gunn says:

    Love the effect you’ve achieved, I’m inspired to have a go myself. What type of wood slats did you use and did you then stain them.

    1. We bought lengths of yellow pine, it was pretty cheap and during the first lockdown there wasn’t a lot of choice locally. It worked out well as it sands easily and takes wood dye really well to keep the grain. We mostly used Coldron wood dye in Walnut, Red Ceder and Oak.

  7. Sonny says:

    Live the look of your wall, great job. What kind of slats did you use?

    1. We bought lengths of yellow pine, it was pretty cheap and during the first lockdown there wasn’t a lot of choice locally. It worked out well as it sands easily and takes wood dye really well to keep the grain.

  8. Anthony says:

    Hi there, it looks great and I am looking to do something similar in the front room, can I ask what timber you used for the slats?

    1. We used yellow pine from our local timber merchants. As long as it’s light and straight I guess it doesn’t matter, each piece was sanded and stained.

  9. Prem Chugh says:

    Hi, What is your wood dye color? can you add the link? I need exactly the same.

    1. We used a few different shades and makes but Coldron was the main make and we had Walnut, oak and red cedar. Some slats had a single colour and some had a mix of layers to give a natural variation across the wall.

  10. Han Duong says:

    It looks great! What width is each slat and what is the spacing between them?

    1. The slats are 42mm wide and about 22mm deep, I set the gap to the depth so I could use a length on it’s side to wedge in to hold the next one straight as it was nailed into place.

  11. Nazia says:

    Hi, your project looks fabulous. Are your slats also pieces of plywood? What width are they? Where did you buy the walnut dye from?

    1. Hi Nazia, the slats are yellow pine and we bought the dye from a few places, Wilkos and B&Q.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *