Board and batten siding is a time-tested design that seems to never go out of style. Due to its simple composition, board and batten siding can be installed quickly and cost-effectively by professionals and homeowners alike. Today, we will briefly discuss the texture options available when installing board and batten siding.
What Is Board and Batten Siding?
Board and batten siding is a style of siding that uses wide and narrow lumber to create a watertight exterior for a structure. The “boards” are usually 8” wide or wider, while the “battens” are narrow, often less than 2” wide. The boards are installed first, and usually include a space between them. The battens are then installed over this space between the boards to prevent rainwater from entering the structure.
What Is Board and Batten Siding Used For?
Board and batten siding can be used virtually anywhere, but the most common exterior location on a home is in the gables of a ranch or country-style home. Board and batten siding is also common on barns, barndominiums, storage buildings, and even commercial spaces. True board and batten siding uses two sizes of lumber, but many manufacturers offer the style in sheets, fiber cement, vinyl, and composite materials like MiraTec.
Are Different Textures Available For Board and Batten Siding?
Many manufacturers offer versions of board and batten siding, even if only in appearance. Here we will describe the most common materials used for board and batten siding:
Some products like T1-11 sheets are used as an exterior for storage buildings, garages, and workshops. T1-11 has a relatively rough texture, designed to emulate real wood grain. However, T1-11 replaces the batten with a groove, so it does not replicate the texture of board and batten siding unless battens are added. Still, some manufacturers describe the material as board and batten siding.
Fiber Cement Board
Fiber cement boards are also commonly used as board and batten siding due to their durability. In most brands, these materials will again simulate a wood grain texture, but not all will so check availability. Some applications require a smoother finish, like that used in European architecture.
However, it should be noted that although fiber cement boards will not rot or decay, they must be maintained with high-quality exterior paint or sealer. If a low-maintenance exterior is the goal, note that fiber cement boards will only need repainting about every ten to fifteen years.
For those projects requiring real lumber, many times the wood used is roughly sewn to retain the uneven texture. For example, many rustic-style homes and cabins tend to use board and batten as an exterior, as well as wainscoting in the interior. In fact, some builders will skip the lumber store and purchase the lumber straight from a sawmill.
If you want a maintenance-free board and batten-style siding, consider wrapping it in aluminum cladding. A material called coil stock is an aluminum sheet sold in rolls. Usually 24” wide, these rolls of aluminum can be used in combination with a machine called a brake to forms shapes.
Known as PVC (not to be confused with the plumbing pipe) coil stock, the material is coated with polyvinyl chloride to provide a completely water-resistant surface. Generally, PVC coil stock is available in a few basic colors, like white, ivory, and beige. The coil stock is loaded into the brake, and custom formed to fit the siding. Using this method is time-consuming, but the results are often the most durable, maintenance-free solution.
Another form of coil stock is slightly thicker and smooth textured. Known as trim coil, this material has no texture at all, yet retains all of the durability of PVC coil stock. Trim coil is a common cladding for board and batten siding when the goals are clean lines, sharp corners, and flat surfaces. Be careful with fasteners, however, as if they are over-driven they will dimple the aluminum and cause a wrinkle.
Can I Change the Pattern of Board and Batten Siding?
Because board and batten siding is so versatile, many patterns are available for a specific application. Board and batten siding is really just a design method that works, not a particular shape. As long as we maintain important elements like tight joints, straight materials, and consistency, the pattern can be almost anything. Generally speaking, designers and builders aim for a consistent ratio of boards to battens, depending on the goal.
Many designers employ a ratio of boards to battens to compliment a specific design element, like a gable. For example, if the board and batten siding is mostly used as an accent, smooth materials often produce the cleanest visual lines. In these arrangements, many designers use 6”-8” boards, lapped by 1 ½”-2” battens. This method produces a ratio of about 4 to 1, where the batten represents about 25% of the width of the board.
In projects requiring large areas to be covered, many designers will use a textured material, like MiraTec or weathered barn lumber. MiraTec is a composite material made from the by-products of lumber milling and resins. Composite materials are particularly useful for board and batten siding because the material is available in almost any length. Because joints are usually the first to fail, using composite materials reduces the number of joints, resulting in a longer-lasting installation.
Board and Batten Siding Never Goes Out Of Style
Considering that we are still using board and batten siding a couple of hundred years later, we can probably assume the design will stay with us forever. Board and batten siding can be the visual focus, or merely an accent to most structures, as it compliments nearly any exterior facade. Use your imagination, keep everything square, plumb, and level and board and batten siding will reward your efforts.