7th Dec 2022 -

Aside from building wall frames and new partitioned walls, you can also dry line existing walls. This may be to cover unsightly brickwork or just to provide a small space behind the wall to hide pipes or wires. In this scenario, it may be more beneficial to use battens rather than an entire partition wall frame.

Battens are used to construct a wooden frame against a solid wall, onto which plasterboards can then be attached. They can also be used for separating plasterboard from outside walls, which can help to avoid dampness, as well as add a layer of insulation to the wall. 

Building a timber frame can be more time-consuming than an adhesive dot and dab method for attaching plasterboards, but it has a few key benefits. Being a frame system, it’s comparable to a stud wall, but easier to construct as it predominantly uses vertical battens and only has one outward face. Unlike stud partition walls, they tend to be used mainly on exterior walls. 

Generally, plasterboard battens are 25mm thick and made of treated timber. Treated timber helps prevent rot and decay and will last longer within your wall. Using heavy-duty timber studs for extra support will also provide a studier end product. 

How Should You Space Your Wood Battens Within Your Wall

Properly spaced battens are important to ensure the stability of your plasterboard wall. Battens must be firmly secured against every edge of the wall, including floors and ceilings. They must also be used to border any windows in the wall. 

Across the rest of the wall, the vertical battens should be 400mm apart. It’s worth measuring your room in advance to ensure you have enough timber for the amount of battens you require. While the vertical battens need to be completely vertical, the battens at the edge should be fitted to the wall, even if the wall is not perfectly straight.

If you are looking to use a batten wall for insulation you can buy 25mm thick polystyrene insulation slabs called batts, which can be cut to fit into the gaps between battens. When looking to ensure insulation for an outside-facing wall, you should consider using vapour check plasterboard, which is designed to keep moisture out of your house and keep heat in.

Before you attach timber battens to your wall you must ensure that it is level, otherwise the batten wall will be uneven and cause problems when attaching plasterboard. Always use a spirit level to check the wall and make sure that it is level. If it’s not you will need to use plastic shims behind the battens to ensure they are level.

man holding plasterboard

Fixing Battens to Your Wall

The best method for attaching battens to your wall is to measure and cut your wood at the beginning and make sure that every piece you have cut fits correctly. 

Then, mark evenly spaced drill holes along the centre of each batten. At a workbench, drill through each hole in the batten. Then, place the batten against the wall, and drill through the pilot hole and into the brick, making sure to use a suitable drill bit for masonry. 

Insert wall plugs into the brick, such as Rawlplugs. Then screw the battens into the wall plugs using long screws, firmly fixing each one to the wall. 

Plugs and screws are the best method to fix battens to your wall and should be screwed in using an impact driver for the strongest connection. It is advisable to install either the horizontal batten across the floor or one of the battens next to the wall first, as wall edge battens may not be perfectly level. 

Fixing Plasterboard to Your Battens

Similarly to the battens themselves, your first step when fitting plasterboard to your battens should be to measure the wall and establish both how many boards will be needed and where to cut them. Plasterboards can be accurately cut with a sharp knife and then attached with nails or screws.  


If you are using nails, you need to ensure they are galvanised, which makes them resistant to rust, and ideally 40mm in length for a 12mm plasterboard. They should be hammered until flat with the surface, with care taken to avoid damaging the plasterboard. They should also be inserted within 12mm of the edge of a plasterboard panel, as this could cause damage to the plasterboard.


For plasterboard screws use dedicated drywall screws, sometimes called plasterboard screws, which are designed to firmly grip within boards. Screws should be long enough to penetrate 25mm of the timber, so for 12.5mm plasterboard, you should use 38mm drywall screws. You can drill straight into regular plasterboard without a pilot hole, driving the head of the screw under the surface of the plasterboard, being careful not to screw too far and break the core. Like nails, you should not place screws within 12mm of the edge of a plasterboard sheet. 


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How to Batten a Plasterboard Ceiling

You can also install a batten wall on your ceiling, using the same techniques as walls, though depending on the thickness of your ceiling it is advisable to use a stud tracker to check for pipes. If your ceiling is flat it may be easier and quicker to affix plasterboard panels with plasterboard adhesive rather than installing a batten wall. 

Excellent plasterboard available for battened walls

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