What Is Batten Wood?

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Batten is not a type of wood but rather a way to use wood for various building and decorating techniques. Battens are used for shutters, in roofing and as siding. They also are made of plastic. Battens are best described as long, thin strips of wood used to separate, layer or edge building materials.

Roofing Battens

  • In roofing, battens made of redwood, cedar or treated lumber are nailed to the roof in horizontal lines 24 inches apart to hold terracotta roof tiles up and away from the roof surface. Layout of the battens helps with tile spacing, according to Brazil Quality Roofing. The battens used in roofing are 1-inch thick and 2 inches wide. Typical length of a roofing batten is 4 feet.

Siding Battens

  • Board and batten siding, also known as barn siding, often is used to create a rustic look. Unlike traditional siding, batten siding is vertical. Knotty pine, cedar and spruce are favorite wood choices. To create the look, a vertical board -- 6 to 12 inches wide -- is nailed to the exterior wall; then small, thicker battens are nailed between the vertical boards. Random-width battens are used to give the home an unusual appearance, and the rougher the batten and boards, the more rustic the effect.

Shutter Battens

  • Board and batten shutters are constructed much like a barn door, with several thin boards laid side by side with two or three horizontal boards connecting the verticals at the top, middle and bottom of the shutter. The battens are lined up tightly, or a gap is left between the battens for a more open appearance.

Panel Battens

  • Battens can be used as trim when finishing a room with paneling or drywall. The long strips of wood cover the seams where the pieces of paneling or drywall come together. This technique is used in place of spackling and often is used for rustic cabins or beach homes.

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