Wood Slat Wall for My Home’s Exterior

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If you’re looking to spruce up the exterior of your home or even the interior, have you considered making a wood slat wall to create a point of interest where there is none? You may be asking yourself, what is a slat wall? Read on to find out.

Outside of a home that was just painted tan from a dark teal color

After posting about getting the exterior of my house painted in the Glidden paint color Khaki Bronze, I left you with what else I had planned to do to the front of my house with this Photoshopped image.

We had thought about removing the brick steps and having new ones made, but it was too costly. It will be a future update.

House Exterior Before Adding a Slat Wall

1970 Ranch style home

One of the projects that we could do was to add interest to the flat front exterior of the house without having to spend a lot of time or money doing a major renovation.

I decided to add a slat wall on the brick wall between the window and the front entry.

Since the front of my house is traditional with a modern vibe, I decided to go with it. It actually was the best and the most budget friendly way to give the front of the house some curb appeal.

I had every intention to start this wood accent wall right after the house was painted, but then it got hot outside… very hot. Too hot to work outside.

Then we traveled a lot and before we knew it, summer was over and we hadn’t gotten any of the front exterior makeover projects completed.

With the arrival of fall, the temps and humidity have gone down and we got back to work. I am happy to be able to report that the wood slat wall is now checked done on our to-do list.

I even added 3 hydrangeas and small mounding Japanese holly along the front beds where we removed the overgrown shrubs.

ranch style house with wood slat wall as an exterior architectural feature

The horizontal wood slat/accent wall stained in the same color as the front doors and garage door adds not only a new focal point to the front of the house, but more importantly, it adds balance that was needed to increase the curb appeal.

After photo showing stained outdoor modern wood slat accent wall on brick Ranch home.
Pine straw is the garden mulch of choice when your house is surrounded by towering pine trees.

First off, for anyone who isn’t quite sure what a slat wall is.

What is a Wood Slat Wall?

A wood slat wall is a feature or accent wall made using wood boards that are spaced equally apart on a wall. It can be created to go vertically or horizontally. A slat wall can also be made using metal slats which are commonly sold to create storage for garage walls.

It can be made in many different ways to use as a privacy screen, a garden wall for vines to grow, or simply to add a modern architectural  and decorative feature such as I did.

Creating the feature wall of horizontally placed boards was not hard or expensive once we got our act together. It can be completed in a day after you complete the initial staining and painting.

I wasn’t exactly sure how to build the wood slat wall as the tutorials I was finding were for garden slat walls or privacy screens. I picked up a few tips from this post that helped me to get the look I was envisioning.

After image of an exterior wood accent wall on the front of a brick home.

This is one thing I like about DIY projects. You can design and create projects of any kind in your own style.

Once completed it is a nice feeling of accomplishment that you designed and made something from vision to completion on your own.

How to Make a Wood Slat Wall on an Exterior Brick Wall

brick Ranch house Before adding an outdoor wood accent feature

supplies needed:

  • Wood boards – I used cedar, but you can also use treated pine. I used 1″ x 3-1/2″ wide boards, but you can use any width for your design. You will need boards to place horizontally, but will also need 2 or 3 boards to place vertically that will be attached to the brick wall. These may be a longer or shorter measurement depending on your design. Once these boards are attached to the wall, the horizontal boards will be screwed into them.
  • Wood stain – I used Behr Semi-Transparent Waterproof Stain & Sealer in the color Chestnut
  • 3″ wide bristle staining brush
  • Wood screws – 8 x 1-1/2″ (choose a color to go with your exterior as they come in black, rust, white, silver and gold)
  • Concrete flat-head screws/anchors – 3/16″ x 1-3/4″
  • Wood and concrete drill bits the same size as your screws
  • Countersink drill bit for the wood screws
  • Bubble level
  • Power saw
  • Power screw driver
  • Sander and 220 grit sandpaper
  • Work table or saw horses
  • Measuring tape
  • Painter’s tape
  • Pencil
  • Ladder
  • One piece of scrap wood board to use as a 1″spacer as you build the wall
  • Optional
    • Wood jig to help drill screw holes in both ends of each wood board in a uniform way
    • Exterior Liquid Nails

Time needed: 3 days.


Hanging the wood boards on the wall is a two person job so make sure you have a second set of hands around to help you when it comes time to actually attach the boards to the wall.

  1. Measure wall


    Determine how long you want your slat wall to be and how high. Then figure out what width you want your boards. Mine are 3-1/2″ wide.

    Do the math to figure how many boards you will need if you put a 1″ space between each and how long the wall will be.

    Before photo of plain brick Ranch style home

  2. Find center point on wall.


    Use painter’s tape to mark center.

    How to prep a brick wall to build an exterior horizontal wood accent wall

  3. Make a wood jig.


    To make the screw holes uniform on the ends of every board, make a jig with scrap wood screws or Liquid Nails that will fit on the end of your boards.

    Once jig is made, find the center on the top piece of wood and drill two holes as shown in the photo below. We made the holes so they would be 1″ from the end on each board.

    wood jig to use when drilling holes into the end of boards to create a modern wood slat accent wall

  4. Sand Each Board Lightly Before Staining


    This step will remove the factory milled finish on your boards. If you leave this on, the wood stain will not penetrate the wood as well. how to stain and prep wood slats

  5. Pre-drill screw holes on the ends of each board.


    Use your jig to mark where each screw will go on the ends of each board.

    Once marked, remove the jig and then use a countersinking drill bit into each hole. When it is time to screw the top boards into the support boards, the screw heads will be lower than the wood’s surface.

    Doing this will make the slat wall look professionally done.
    How to make a jig so you can evenly drill holes in wood slats to keep them in line

  6. Pre-drilled holes should look like this.


    When the boards are lined up, the holes should also be in line with each other.

    how to drill screw holes in wood slats to create a wood slat wall outdoor

  7. Stain boards


    Once boards are cut to length, stain each one with wood stain to achieve the desired color. I stained both sides so all the wood even in that won’t be seen will weather the same way as the front.

    I set up two folding tables to make the staining process go faster. I also used two foam blocks to keep the board I was staining off the table. Let dry overnight.

    how to stain wood slats to create a modern wood slat accent wall

  8. Install vertical mounting boards on brick wall.


    Use painter’s tape to mark center of wall and where the boards will end on each side of that center mark.

    Hold up one board and place vertically on wall. Use a bubble level to make sure it is straight.

    Use a concrete screw and power screw driver to attach the boards both at the top, middle and bottom. This was the hardest part of the job. It takes some muscle to drill the holes into the brick.

    Note: If you can, figure out where the horizontal boards will be placed so you can drill the screws into the wall where they will be hidden when a horizontally placed board goes on top.

    How to attach vertical wood boards to a brick wall to create a wood feature wall outdoor

  9. Add Two or More Vertical Boards


    We added 3 vertical boards, one in the center since our horizontal boards were long. We didn’t want them to warp over time, so we attached the back center of each horizontal board with Liquid Nails as we didn’t want to see screws in the center section..

    To make it easy to know where the center of each horizontal board was, I centered a piece of painter’s tape on one board to use a guide.

    As we were about to attach one board to the wall, I would first line it up on my work area with the taped board and then apply a dab of Liquid Nails on the back. Then I would carry the board over to the wall to be installed.
    How to attach the wood to make a slat wall without using screws.

  10. Begin attaching horizontally placed boards.

    Starting at the top, place first horizontal board right up against the roof line. Use a bubble level to make sure it is perfectly level.

    Countersink wood screws into the pre-drilled holes on the ends to attach the board to the two outer vertical boards.

    Have your helper hold up a long section of a scrap piece of wood that is 1″ thick and place it against the edge of the first board.

    This is your spacer and will be used to evenly space each board as you work your way down the wall.
    How to level wood slats when making an outdoor slat wall or privacy fence.

  11. Cut boards to fit around objects on the wall

    We had a water spigot low on the wall and cut and fit the horizontal boards as needed around it so it would not to block access to it.
    how to make a modern wood accent wall on the exterior of a home

  12. Keep adding horizontal boards.

    Once you get towards the bottom of the wall, add boards as far down as you can go as long as you can keep them spaced evenly. If not, don’t add any more boards.

    Working from the top down helps to keep the most visible section of the wall perfectly spaced. If the boards don’t fill the bottom section, you won’t see it as easily as you would if there was an uneven gap on the top of the slat wall.

    How to make a wood slat wall of the exterior of a house

How to Attach a Wood Slat Wall to a Brick or Concrete Wall?

wood slat wall ideas outdoor on a home's facade

This was the hardest part of the entire project. To attach the vertical wood boards or slats to the brick, you need to use a concrete drill bit and concrete screws or anchors. Both are sold at the home improvement store.

This is what they look like.

I found them in blue and also in white. Since they will be counter-sinked into each board that will then be covered by a horizontal board it doesn’t matter what color they are. Having a power screwdriver will make it much easier to drill these into brick or concrete.

TIP: Buy extra drill bits. They dull very fast.

Adding House Address Numbers to the Slat Wall

Aluminum floating house address numbers

UPDATE: To finish the budget-friendly front exterior makeover, I added modern house address numbers and this modern style planter that I plan to place on the far side of the garage door.

You can read how I attached these numbers in this post: Modern House Address Numbers.

Veradek Metal planter being aged to a rusted patina.

I also added a Corten Steel planter that has taken on a rusted aged look over time.

It looks great with the new house paint color, brick and the painted and stained wood doors and now the slat wall. All of these elements help to bring more interest and color balance to the front exterior.

Modern aluminum house address numbers mounted on a slat wall.
How to Paint Front Doors To Look Stained
front entry of a 1970's ranch home that is getting a budget modern makeover

Future Exterior Projects: I am not sure if we will get them done soon, but I also plan to add two modern wood benches to the porch area. I have instructions on how to make these, but I want to keep searching some more to see if I can find affordable ones with the right dimensions that are already made. :-) Less work for me to do.

As soon as I have them in place I will post about each… so stay tuned.

How to make a wood slat wall on an exterior brick wall.

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72 Comments

  1. You’ve inspired!!! Using your plan, any ideas on how I could incorporate lights on the back of each horizontal wood panel? My original thoughts would be to use rope lights and “C” clip them to the back of each horizontal wood piece but the thickness of the rope lights would interfere with the vertical stud beams. Right?
    Thanks.

    1. Hi Sandy – Adding lights to the back of the slats would look awesome. You are correct that the rope lights would not work because of the vertical boards. The only way to add them along the back of each horizontal piece would be to drill a hole in the vertical boards that is large enough to thread the rope lights through. One hole where each horizontal board meets the vertical ones would work.

  2. I would just tile over the brick steps with some kind of natural stone tiles or use flagstone

  3. Hello! Really great job on the slat wall – I love the chestnut stain…it’s warm and inviting. When you stained the boards, did you stain all 4 sides of each board? Or just the sides that are visible? (I ask because I’m wondering if the stain is needed all around to protect the wood from weathering.) …thank you!

    1. She said under item 7, “I stained both sides so all the wood even in that won’t be seen will weather the same way as the front.”

  4. Wow. I came across this post while browsing Google images. This slat wall was a perfect choice for Adding to the exterior. Bravo! Well done. Maybe add some landscape flood lights shining upward to light up the wall at night.

    1. Hi George – Thanks – :-) I do have sun-sensor up lights aimed at the wall, but photos of them and the light accent does not show up great at night. Hence the reason I don’t have a photo showing them.

    1. Hi Betsy – I used Behr Semi-Transparent Waterproof Stain & Sealer in the color Chestnut. I linked to it in the supplies list. I chose the color to coordinate with the garage and front door of my house.

  5. Awesome curb appeal!!! ♥️♥️
    I would also paint the inside area by your front door white or off white, so it can pop out!! Love the door and it should have more attention to it!! Just my thought, but you did a great job!!

  6. Awesome work and budget friendly update. May I know what was the length of the horizontal and vertical slats? Thank you!

  7. It looks amazing. I really love. I want to have this outside the house. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Wonderful idea to add interest and a modern vibe to your home! The wood slat wall offers great contrast against your brick wall. I have to admit I haven’t considered this idea so far, but I’m in love with how beautiful it looks, so I’ll definitely give it a go. Thank you for sharing the whole process!

  9. Looks fantastic! I love the way this wall has transformed the front of the house!!

  10. What a transformation! I really love how the wood tones just warm everything up and ties it all together. Very creative!

  11. Wow Diane your slat wall really looks beautiful. What a great idea. I’m excited to see you have planted some hydrangeas in the bed that once housed those giant shrubs. What kind of hydrangea did you plant? I’m hoping they are a miniature or dwarf variety as it looks like they are very close to the house. Standard hydrangeas can get really big. That Muhly grass you asked about would look great in the bed on the other side of the driveway around the Crepe Myrtle.

    1. Hi Vikki –

      I think the hydrangeas are a Cape Cod variety. They will get larger, but I really wanted them. :-) I will just need to cut them back every few years or remove one or two as they grow.

      I want to see what the Muhly grass looks like in the winter. If I still like it, I may put it around the Crepe Myrtle. Whatever I place there though needs to be more on the low side to keep the front of the house in proportion. Last summer I planted flowers that got way too high. They were pretty, but didn’t look right in the bed. I think the Muhly grass should be low enough from what I have seen around the neighborhoods I walk around.

  12. Gorgeous!! And based on the photo of Ed- it was still pretty warm while he was doing that work. :)
    It really does add so much visual interest.
    So pleased for you to have this done.
    It must make pulling into your driveway a pleasure every single time!

    1. Hi Kat – Yes the day we put the slat wall up was hot, but not as hot as it has been all summer. I smile now when I pull in and drive down my driveway. I will be adding the modern house address numbers this week which will make it all come together.

  13. Hi,
    Your house looks so nice. I really like how you neutralized the outside with the new paint color and the wood slat was is perfect. I can’t wait to see it with your new house numbers. Here’s a thought:
    On youtube I saw where someone placed plain wood panels with trim over her louvers on some closet doors. Could you put plain wood squares over the ornate designs on your front doors to give them a cleaner look. Just a thought. Seems a shame to replace perfectly good heavy wooden doors and spend a ton of money doing so. Instead of buying new doors, spend the money on a trip to the south of France. Much more fun. Don’t you think?

  14. Wow, Diane, you and Ed did a beautiful job of installing this feature! Nice clean background for the hydrangeas.
    Thank you for explaining what you used as mulch in the beds. Do you leave it there year round, refreshing as needed? Or do you spread dark mulch over it in spring when/if you plant annuals?

    1. Hi Karen – The pine straw is all year round. It falls constantly from the trees. More in the fall, but it falls all the time. We have to have someone come every few months to clear it from our roof and on the top of the gutter guards.

      Our neighbor has a rake attachment to gather it on his riding lawn mower and collects it for us, especially in the fall when it can get out of control.

      It is sold in bales at all the home improvement and garden stores in the area. Most landscapers use it and have a machine that rolls the edges. I would like to find the tool that does this as it looks very neat and tidy when it is rolled.

      It would be pointless to use any other style mulch as it would be covered with pine straw in a few days or weeks in the summer months. We do replace it every so often when it starts to fade to brown and when I plant flowers in the spring.

  15. Hey! I would like to thank you for sharing a useful materials with us …I will try it definitely and keep sharing such kind of blogs with us.

  16. What a gorgeous impact that makes on your house! Will you grow some kind of climbing plant on it?

    1. Hi Kim – Thanks. I do not think I will grow climbing plants on it as I want it to simply be a modern architectural feature. Once the address numbers are up, it will finish the look. Just waiting for them to arrive via the mail. :-)

  17. It looks great now and more finished. You have wonderful forethought capabilities…you see it in your head and make it happen.

  18. That really turned out well. What a nice, simple touch. I would not have thought of that. I need to add interest to our front too and now I’m thinking about doing a version of this on our two walls on the side of our garage door, which unfortunately, dominates the front of our house. Break. I just measured them and one is 19″ and the other 23″!! so that might accentuate the difference. I was going to put up trellises and I tried using industrial velcro, but it won’t stick to painted brick well. I thought they may not stand up to screws, plus I didn’t know how to drill into brick (but now I do :). Thanks.

    1. Hi Deb –

      The screws should work perfectly to hold up your trellises. Having the right tools definitely make any job easier. Even with the right drill bits and screws, it is not easy drilling into the brick, stone or concrete. It does takes muscle – so don’t give up. Ed did it, as I didn’t have the strength to put behind the drill.

  19. I have been a silent follower for quite a few years. I love observing and learning from your creative and cost conscious perspective. But I couldn’t be silent about this! I absolutely LOVE this slat wall. It’s the perfect break on that brick area and gives a modern updated look! Nice work!

  20. Everything you have done to your home looks nice. Now, I think some cedar posts or cedar corbels in each corner of the porch would look good. Also you could place a planter on each side of the steps until you get your benches. You have lots of possibilities with this area.

  21. Love the slats and what the added to the whole first impression of the house. Your quest for a modern vibe really worked here. I’m wondering if you’re planning on doing anything with the front doors. They seems so ornate and not fitting with a more modern vibe–especially the square inserts. House looks beautiful.

    1. Hi Linda – From the day we moved in, I have wanted to replace the doors, but they are not cheap as we would need 4. They don’t bother me as much as they used to since I painted them. I will get them replaced someday – hopefully sooner than later.

  22. Wow. What an amazing upgrade. It’s perfect. Your idea of benches on the porch would be my choice too. How about a stained and/or stamped driveway to complete the beautiful entrance? (My pet peeve is a boring concrete front door driveway. I have one and wish I could afford to do something with it.)

    1. Hi Pat – A new surface on the driveway would be fabulous. Eventually we will have to do that and get a new roof. I wish I could wave a magic wand and have it all happen overnight. :-)

      1. I have the same issue with my concrete driveway and sidewalk leading to the front door. Every 2 years or so, in the spring, I treat those surfaces with a bleach and water solution, poured on and scrubbed with a large push broom…then rinse thoroughly. That gets rid of the dark, mold-like buildup in the rough finish of the concrete. Cleaning with a Pressure washer is another option, but that takes longer and is much more labor intensive! The lighter, cleaner concrete makes a huge difference in the overall appearance and curb appeal.

        I love your blog, and have learned so much from your detailed tutorials and instructions. Everything you have done to your home, inside and out, is so inspiring and looks amazing!

        1. Hi Beth –

          I like the look of the concrete – light in color, but it is, like you mentioned – time consuming to take care of. It has been power-washed, bleached and scrubbed numerous times, but only looks good for a short time, before all the mildew and dirt start showing up again.

          I like the idea of a stamped driveway and am going to look into that. For now though, I will think of you every time I get the power washer out.

          Thanks for reading my blog. :-)

    1. Thanks Holly – The planter is supposed to arrive on Wed. I will have to start the oxidation process by spraying salt water on it. Can’t wait for it to show the aged patina that is shown on the Wayfair photo.

    1. Hi Rachel – Thanks. Now I just have to wait for the hydrangeas in front to get a little bigger and I will be happy. Even more happy if the blooms are purple. :-)

  23. Bravo Diane! It really balances out your home. Do you plan to use it as a garden trellis as well as a design feature?

    1. Thanks Carolyn. I think I am going to leave it as an accent/feature for the house. I think once the 3 hydrangeas in the front bed get bigger they will add a pop of color and a flower garden feel.

    1. Hi Alison – I got the idea for the slat wall after painting the garage door. When I stood back to look at the house I knew I needed to find a way to add a balance of color on the wall. Reading so many decorating magazines and blogs, I started to see slat walls come up and knew that creating one would do exactly what the facade needed. Looking forward to getting together with you on the 19th. Will email you to set up the time and details. :-)

  24. This looks fantastic! The changes you made are just awesome! I like that you find less expensive ways to update because that is what most of us non-bloggers have to do as well.

    1. Hi Vicki – I enjoy finding budget-friendly solutions that will get me the look I am after. I also want to keep things simple, not too complex or that will need a lot of maintenance.