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What is Board and Batten Construction?

Board and batten siding with board and batten attic window.

What is Board and Batten Construction?

Board and batten is a type of building exterior treatment with precut wide, wooden boards framed and secured in place with narrow board strips named “battens.” In some cases, the style can be used for interior surfacing as well, but in most applications, it’s used on the outer surface of a building. Variation typically follows either a horizontal placement pattern or vertical.

Related: Types of House Siding | Types of Wood Siding for Home Exteriors | Aluminum vs. Vinyl Siding | Types of Stucco Siding | Types of Stone Siding | Cedar Siding Pros and Cons | Steel Siding Pros and Cons | Types of Bracings Used in Construction

Historical Background

Board and batten gambrel shed.

The beauty of the board and batten style was that it was so easy to assemble and finish. No surprise, it was commonly used for larger buildings such as additional property sheds or barns and utility buildings. In a number of U.S. states the style is also referred to as barn-siding because it was so common on farms. The second benefit was the style was very effective at trapping in temperature and reducing the amount of internal heating needed to keep a building warm inside.

Interestingly, because the board and batten style was so frequently used on farms and utility construction for decades, it was deemed more provincial and frowned upon in more urban settings where a more formal impression was sought with architectural design, even on homes. There are also different styles of board and batten. Some have wide boards and thin battens, and others have the reverse set up and sizing.

Modern Uses

Board and batten have had multiple proponents in different applications, even in modern times. When Disney Company decided to promote a new planned community among its Florida investments, it wanted to show a true American foundational image going back in time to farm and frontier styles from the earlier century. The board and batten style was chosen for the mid-1990s community because it looked authentically American and informal. Alternatively, a number of retreats and social getaway lodges in California have used the style as well to give their buildings an “older” style look.

Where to Obtain Board and Batten Packages

Wooden board and batten shutter

An assortment of building materials providers can supply board and batten kits and components, but it might take special orders to have sufficient supply for a larger project, especially if given sizing is going to be required. Fortunately, the market is still well-served by a variety of material types ranging from authentic wood to aluminum and composite material. There are also choices for insulated or bare boarding as well. Pricing can vary considerably because board and batten are not treated as a bulk building material but as a finishing kit approach instead. Both the style and type of board and batten can cause significant price differences when calculated for a full project.

A Final Note

Remember, board and batten is a very unique style of siding. It only works on certain types of architecture, and the style doesn’t apply to every type of building or home. If board and batten are used without serious planning, it could turn into an odd-looking, expensive mistake when the building is completed. Doing a bit of modeling and research ahead of time can save thousands of dollars otherwise lost to a look that doesn’t work well with the end product.

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