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Board and Batten Siding: Everything You Need to Know

Whether you want to change up an existing home’s exterior or add siding to a new home, board and batten might be the best way to go for you. Board and batten siding has many benefits and few downsides. 

This article will discuss what we mean by board and batten siding, the pros and cons, the different types, who manufactures it, and how to install it.

What Is Board and Batten Siding?

Board and batten siding is a type of siding that consists of thin strips of wood molding, called battens, alternated with wider boards or planks. Placing battens over boards creates an aesthetic, textured, and layered effect with chic and rustic vertical lines. Although decorative, the resulting siding can be durable and resistant to harsh weather conditions.

Board and batten siding has existed for hundreds of years. We can trace its roots to the settlers who had access to a sawmill after discovering the ineffectiveness of a cabin out of logs. They would use boards or planks for siding and battens (smaller strips of narrow wood) to cover the seams on barns and houses. By covering the seams, they kept the heat inside the house during the winter. 

While we still use similar styles, they are for very different reasons. Our reasons are primarily because barn siding is aesthetically pleasing. People from different climates and regions love the look of board and batten siding on the exterior of their house. Others prefer board and batten steel siding for its improved durability. 

Shiplap, another style of board and batten, has seen a resurgence in popularity in the interior of houses. Typically, board and batten are vertical, but they can be run horizontally in an instance, like shiplap. 

Originally barn siding was constructed of wood. Today you can also purchase vinyl, steel, and fiber cement board and batten siding. The exact dimensions will depend on which material you choose and your builder. On average, the planks will be 1’ wide x 10’ long and ½” thick, and the strips will be 2 1/2 “ wide x 11’ long and ¾” thick.

Advantages of Board and Batten Siding

Board and batten siding has many advantages over other siding styles, such as brick, rock, and metal. The material you choose will determine the exact advantages but the following advantages are for board and batten in general. 

Aesthetics and resale value. Board and batten siding is aesthetically pleasing. Even though it has been around for hundreds of years, many people enjoy the look of board and batten. Your house's curb appeal will increase; therefore, the resale value of your home will increase. Using board and batten siding could help your house stand out if the houses all look very similar.

Durability. Barn siding is durable. Depending on the type of wood or siding you use, it will last for decades with proper maintenance. Old barns and houses that still have the original siding on them in good condition still exist.

Low maintenance. Except for certain types of wood, board and batten siding is low maintenance. You won’t have to paint, stain, or seal it constantly. If a piece or two are damaged, you can easily replace only the damaged parts and individual pieces rather than large sheets of siding or the entire section. 

Versatile. Because of the different types of material, barn siding is versatile. You can get a barn house or chic look from board and batten siding. It doesn’t matter if you’re going for a rustic look or a modern vibe; you can accomplish either one with this style of siding. You can also install board and batten siding vertically, horizontally, or both.

Affordable. Despite the increased labor costs, they are comparable to the prices of other sidings. This is because the materials are often less expensive and quickly go together. There are just more of them, so it does take a considerable amount of time to cover an entire house. 

Although there are many advantages to board and batten siding, you must also consider a few disadvantages.

Things to Keep In Mind About Board And Batten Siding

Although there are many advantages to board and batten siding, you must also consider a few disadvantages.

Longer installation. The high number of pieces and unique cuts take longer than some siding styles to install. While this will increase your labor costs, most of the board and batten should go together quickly and efficiently.

Requires finishing. You will need to stain or paint board and batten siding to ensure it lasts as long as possible. Your maintenance costs will be exceptionally high if you go with natural wood board and batten siding because real wood requires much more maintenance than other types of siding.

Different Material Options and Their Benefits

You can achieve the aesthetic look of board and batten siding using several different types of materials. Certain materials will offer you better qualities than others. However, they often come at a higher price. The following are the four most common materials used to make barn siding, along with their pros and cons. 

Wood Board and Batten Siding

batten board siding

Staying true to the original board and batten, you can use any number of types of wood. The most common are pine, cedar, and redwood.

Cost: $1.50 – $5.50 per square foot is an estimate of the cost of materials. You will have to factor in the labor costs, which will depend on who you hire to install the siding.

Best for: A rustic look. When wood board and batten siding well taken care of, it is durable.

Pros: 

  • Lots of options to paint, stain or seal it
  • Depending on the wood, it can be cheaper than other options
  • Gives you the natural rustic look

Cons: 

  • Higher maintenance — can be susceptible to disease, rot, and decay if moisture should find its way inside
  • Must watch out for termites
  • Certain woods will be costly and hard to find. 

Vinyl Board and Batten Siding

Image Source: kaycan.com

Vinyl is cheap and can achieve a classy board and batten aesthetic with lower maintenance than natural wood. It does have a couple of drawbacks that you will want to consider.

Cost: $1.00-$5.00 per square foot is an estimate of the cost of materials. This estimate doesn’t include labor costs or in which part of the country your home is located.

Best for: Cheaper installation but keeping a decently realistic look.

Pros: 

  • Lower maintenance, disease-proof 
  • You don’t have to worry about termites destroying your siding
  • Comes pre-painted
  • Lots of color options
  • Mid-range price

Cons: 

  • Not as durable as the other options, can be prone to storm damage from debris
  • Doesn’t look quite as good as natural wood, but from a distance, it’s hard to tell the difference

Steel Board and Batten Siding

Image Source: trulogsiding.com

Steel siding can cost a bit more than other material but it’s up there with fiber cement in terms of durability. Steel board and batten siding can also be styled to look like different types of wood and different colors. It’s long lasting and very durable when it comes to storm damage.

Cost: $3.00- $9.00 per square foot will get you in the ballpark price for steel board and batten siding. This price doesn’t include the labor to install the siding.

Best for: durability, impact resistance, low maintenance

Pros: 

  • Steel is one of the most durable options
  • Can be painted any color you like
  • Low maintenance

Cons: 

  • The most expensive option
  • Can’t get the rustic natural wood look

Fiber Cement Board And Batten Siding

board and batten exterior

Fiber cement is incredibly durable, versatile, long-lasting, and safe. It is weather, fire, and heat resistant. It can also be designed to look like almost any other kind of material, including wood and can closely mimic natural wood grain and texture without having the high maintenance of wood. It’s also relatively cheap to install, compared to wood or steel.

Cost: $1.00 – $6.00 per square foot is the average cost for fiber cement board and batten. The installation will cost extra, especially since special tools are needed.
Best for: Getting a wood look with improved durability and without the maintenance hassle of natural wood

Pros: 

  • Low maintenance
  • Fire-resistant
  • Durable
  • Low-cost materials
  • Looks good

Cons: 

  • Heavy
  • Difficult to install
  • Needs special tools to install
  • You might need to add more support to your house to hold the extra weight

Prominent Manufacturers of Board and Batten Siding

The following companies are known for making quality siding products, especially board and batten.

James Hardie is a top manufacturer of fiber cement siding. They also offer other styles and types of siding. The advantages of choosing James Hardie are they are known for high-quality products. They offer a 15-year limited warranty for their ColorPlus Technology and a limited lifetime warranty on their cement board with hydrodefence technology. Keep in mind because James Hardie is a leader in the industry, their products are higher priced.

Trulog is a prominent USA steel siding manufacturer with one of the best board and batten steel siding products on the market. The company offers 30-year warranty on their products, supplies high-quality USA steel with Class 4 impact rating directly from factory and provides a wide range of wood grain and white modern farmhouse options.

CertainTeed also offer vinyl board and batten siding. The advantages of purchasing CertainTeed products are their lower cost, realistic look, and limited lifetime warranty. Keep in mind that vinyl is cheaper upfront, but it could cost you more in the long run due to its lower durability.

Quality Edge is a top manufacturer of steel board and batten siding. The advantages of purchasing Quality Edge products are the TruCedar Lifetime limited warranty, durability, lower installation costs than fiber cement, and a realistic cedar look. Keep in mind that steel is more expensive to purchase initially, and the warranty will be void if installed improperly. 

Allura is a manufacturer of fiber cement siding. The advantages of purchasing Allura products are the strength they bring to your home, the durability of the siding, the 15-year ColorMax Warranty, and the beautiful aesthetic fiber cement can add to your home. Keep in mind fiber cement is heavy and requires special tools for installation.

How to Install Batten Board Siding

While you can DIY board and batten siding, it is a large project to tackle. Unless you are extremely handy and have all the tools, we suggest purchasing the product from a manufacturer and hiring a professional to install the board and batten siding.

However, if you are determined to install barn siding yourself after lots of research, you will need the following tools and materials.

Tools

  • Nail gun
  • Hammer
  • Laser level
  • Stud finder
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Scaffolding
  • Ladder
  • Saw (Jigsaw, circular saw, miter saw)
  • Caulking gun
  • Utility knife
  • Chalk line
  • Prybar
  • Paintbrush

Materials

  • Boards and battens
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Caulk
  • Siding nails

Once all the tools and materials are in order, here are the steps to install the boards and battens.

Installation Process

  1. Use the laser level to set up a skirting board on the bottom of where the siding will end.
  2. Start at one corner of the house and make sure the board is upright and true. 
  3. Nail it down to the studs.
  4. Determine the gap you need between each board and then continue the same process to the other corner of the house.
  5. When you come to a window upright, you will have to measure and cut the board to fit around the window.
  6. Now you can install the top trim and then the battens.
  7. Start at a corner of the house and cut the battens to size. Check out the video below for a great tip regarding the corner battens!
  8. Plumb and center the batten on the gap you have between the boards. Repeat this process until you have finished the house!

In his video, Matt offers 5 great tips for installing board and batten siding

  1. Prefab the corner trim.
  2. 24” control line.
  3. Batten Layout
  4. Calculate your bat numbers.
  5. Line up your bats.

Depending on what material you use for your board and batten siding, you’ll need a different approach when it comes to installation. Here are some comprehensive breakdowns of how to install each type of material

How to Install Steel Board and Batten Siding:

How to Install Wood Board and Batten Siding:

How to Install Vinyl Board and Batten Siding:

How to Install Fiber Cement Board and Batten Siding:

Board and Batten Siding Installation Costs

Installing the board and batten will cost $2.50 – $13.00 in labor. Several factors contribute to this price, such as the size of the house, the unique features of your home, the pro you choose to install it, and the type of board and batten you select. 

The low installation cost makes it a no-brainer to hire a professional to install board and batten siding on your home.

  • For vinyl material, you will typically see a board and batten siding cost of anywhere between 2 and 7 dollars per square foot. This comes out to about $10,500 for a home of 1,500 sq ft.
  • Wood such as Cedar and others will cost about $3 per sq ft and can cost anywhere from $7,000 to $10,000 for a 1,500 sq ft home, depending on labor costs.
  • Fiber cement siding is a bit cheaper, coming in at anywhere from 75 cents to 5 dollars per sq ft. The average 1,500 sq ft home will cost anywhere from $4,000 to $15,000 for installation, as labor costs can range from 2 to 5 dollars per sq ft.
  • Steel board and batten siding can be installed for around $3.50 to $4.50 per sq ft. Some companies like Trulog Siding will give you free shipping on orders of over $1,000.  

Consider Board and Batten Siding

Board and batten siding is very popular right now. If you’re looking to have some installed on your house, this article should have you up-to-speed on everything you need to know about it.

After some brief deliberation with yourself or your spouse, you should be able to choose the right kind of board and batton siding for your home, giving it a fresh new style while simultaneously keeping it safe from outside elements.

2 Responses

  1. I am looking for board and batten steel siding for our home. We are located in Georgia and do not need an installer. We just need to purchase the material.

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