Board and Batten
Everything you need to know
Board and batten is a classic way of siding a building. Before plywood, builders used the widest boards they could make from a tree. Often that was about 12″ wide. They attached the wide boards vertically and then covered the seam with a narrow (cheaper and easier to find) batten strip to keep the elements out.
These days, board and batten is most often created using large 4’x8′ or 4’x10′ sheets of wood or HardiBoard and 1×2 battens. Even with larger sheets of wood, there will still be seams, so batten spacing must be calculated to ensure the seams are covered while keeping an even spacing. We did 12″ on center. “On center” means you measure from the center of one to the center of the next as opposed to the edges.
Spacing is important to consider when using board and batten. If the battens are off center it can make the everything else look “off”. Under a gable, its good to place the first batten at the peak and work out from there. It’s also important to center spacing around windows and doors. This may require “fudging” by shrinking or widening the spacing slightly between several battens. If the tweaks are small and spread out over several spaces, they will be unnoticeable.
Our city required our home to be 80 percent masonry on the first floor, so we had to be strategic about where we used board and batten. Although, since HardiBoard is cement-based, it may be considered masonry by some cities. We used it where it would be most seen but also where it would stay clean, since we knew we would be painting it white. The front porch is definitely to most seen part of the house but its also protected by the deep porch roof.
We also used a reddish brick water table to prevent mud from splashing up and dirtying the white board and batten. A water table is the lower courses of bricks that projects slightly from the rest of the wall. It’s primary function is to divert water running down the face of the wall away from the house. It also is a source of visual interests and functions very well to prevent board and batten from getting too wet and dirty.
Hey, guess what?!? You can also use board and batten inside the house too! We have used it in our Master Bedroom and in our Guest Bathroom. This is a project my husband and I did ourselves during construction. We love the texture and interest it gives these spaces.
I poured my heart into the design of this house because it is a home for my family. This floor plan is now available for sale on this website. For more pictures of our home, be sure to follow @the.old.barn on Instagram. I would love to hear from you…comments and questions are welcome!