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Learn about Board and Batten Siding

Board and Batten Siding

Board and batten siding is a classic exterior cladding made of wood boards installed vertically, with narrower boards (battens) to cover the seams. It can be stained, painted, charred, or allowed to weather.

Look for locally harvested, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood.

Look for high-quality, thicker boards with few knots - it will last longer. Installation can be do-it-yourself or look for a contractor with experience with real wood siding. It's best installed over a 3/4" to 1" air space above the waterproof house wrap layer, with spacers made from wood lattice or strapping, to allow the backside of the wood to air dry after rain and condensation.

While most types of wood siding require preservation treatment such as paint or stain, some kinds of wood are more naturally weather resistant than others. In North America, woods such as white cedar, red cedar, and douglas fir can be used as siding without treatment, while woods such as pine and spruce should be treated with a stain, paint, or non-toxic preservative.

Wood is a classic, easy to install, aesthetically desirable, and renewable material. While still having some drawbacks, such as relatively high maintenance (painting, staining, or replacement), it is a preferred material for those considering a more sustainable exterior shell for their home. In forested regions, it can sometimes be obtained from local sawmills.

The word batten is common in construction, where it usually refers to long, thin strips of wood that are used to cover or strengthen joins. They're also used in sailing to support the roach of a sail so it won't flutter in the wind!