Board and batten is a siding method that began in Europe and made its way to the United States in the 1840s. Board and batten is a system of thicker boards attached to the surface with nails plus thin strips of wood at intervals to hold it in place. Board and batten siding is available in a variety of wood types and different thicknesses.
About Board and Batten Siding
Board and batten siding is a vertical type of design that uses clean or knotty boards spaced slightly apart with a narrower piece of wood that covers the joints between them. The board sizes can vary and may be either unseasoned wood or surfaced on one side and the two edges. Wider boards provide the better appearance, while battens must be sufficiently wide to cover the edges and should be in proportion to the boards to achieve the right visual balance. Occasionally, boards and battens are placed horizontally for a different design effect.
Material Choices for Board and Batten Siding
Board and batten siding was originally made of wood that was used to cover log homes to prevent them from being worn by weathering. Fir and red cedar are common materials used for board and batten siding. Woods are available in a number of grades that provide a variety of natural characteristics in the wood to suit the homeowner’s taste. Board and batten style siding can even be found in vinyl materials that have a wood look.
Thickness of Board and Batten Materials
The most common sizes for board-and-batten siding are 1-by-10-inch boards with 1-by-3-inch battens (the narrower strips that cover the joints of the boards). Other sizes may be used, from 1-by-2-inch to 1-by-12-inch. Though a 1-inch thickness is common for board and batten siding, materials up to 1 3/4 inch may be used to produce the right design effect for the home.
Installing Board and Batten Siding
House wrap or another type of insulating material is first applied to the house envelope to keep moisture out of interior structures. Wood studs are then applied at intervals along the sides of the house, to which you attach the boards. One nail is used to fix the board to the bearing strips if the board is 6 inches wide or less. Two nails are used for boards 8 inches wide or more. Nails must penetrate the solid wood for 1 1/2 inches. The battens are then attached over the separations between the boards, overlapping the boards at least ½ inch on each side.