Originally designed to create a strong, energy-efficient cladding that was easy to install, board and batten has been popular for several centuries. During the Victorian era, board and batten was particularly popular as a way to add architectural detail to Gothic buildings and in Arts and Crafts architecture, it was a favored indoor and outdoor cladding.

Today, many homeowners choose board and batten because it can add tremendous charm, character, texture, and depth to many architectural styles. Are you ready to take a look at the answers to your most commonly asked questions about board and batten?

What is Board and Batten?

Board and batten is a popular siding style that lends a classic, charming, and more rustic look to a building. Traditionally, 1″ x 10″ or 1″ x 12″ boards are placed next to one another and the seams between are covered by 1″ x 2″ or 1″ x 3″ strips of wood called battens.

Is Board and Batten Expensive? 

The cost depends on the material you choose and the area of siding to be covered. Traditionally, wood was used for board and batten but today, it’s available in various materials that will affect the cost. Wood and steel board and batten are the most expensive materials and vinyl is the cheapest. If you’re just planning to use board and batten to accent a facade or a second story, the cost will be less than if you cover an entire home. And of course, the more complicated designs will add to the cost because they require more labor.

What Are the Advantages of Board and Batten Siding?

  • Aesthetic – Board and batten lends a classic and charming aesthetic to a building.
  • Resale Value – It can enhance the resale value of your home by adding curb appeal and making your home appear unique among others in the neighborhood. 
  • Durable – Depending on the type of material you choose, board and batten can be very durable, and with proper maintenance, can be very long-lasting. 
  • Low Maintenance – Usually, board and batten is low maintenance. If a section gets damaged, it’s easy to replace a board or a batten instead of having to replace large sections of siding. 
  • Versatile and Customizable – The versatility of board and batten makes it applicable to many architectural styles. It can be installed horizontally as well as vertically, with wider than average boards or closer together battens. All of these variations make it an extremely customizable and versatile siding. 

Are There Any Disadvantages to Board and Batten Siding?

The only disadvantages seem to be with wood board and batten.

  • The installation of wood boards and battens can take longer than sheet siding.
  • Unlike pre-finished sheet siding, wood boards and battens will need to be painted, stained, and sealed. 
  • And if you choose to go with wood, maintenance will be fairly high because the wood will need regular treatment.

What Kind of Wood is Used for Board and Batten?

Although board and batten can be manufactured from materials other than wood, the most common woods used are cedar, redwood, cyprus, white oak, and hemlock. 

Is Board and Batten Available in Other Materials Besides Wood?

Traditionally, board and batten is made from wood, but with today’s technology, it’s also available in a variety of low-maintenance materials. It can be purchased with or without insulation.

  • Fiber-cement – Long lasting, durable, and versatile, fiber-cement is heat, weather, and fire resistant. The panels are available in a variety of textures and colors and although heavy and needing special tools to install, it’s cheaper to install than steel or wood board and batten. 
  • Engineered wood – This material is lighter than fiber-cement which means it’s easier to handle and can be installed faster. It’s also less expensive.
  • Vinyl – Less expensive than many other materials, vinyl can offer a similar board and batten look but upon close inspection, it tends to look low-end. It’s low maintenance, comes pre-painted in many color options, and is impervious to wood-eating insects.
  • Aluminum – Low maintenance, impervious to pests, and durable, aluminum board and batten siding can be purchased in a range of colors.
  • Steel – Of all available materials, steel board and batten is the most durable, however it tends to be one of the most expensive options. It’s also very low maintenance and stands up to most extreme weather conditions. Steel can be painted in any color of your choice. 

How Durable is Board and Batten Siding? 

The durability of board and batten depends on the material it’s made of. When made from fiber cement, steel, or engineered wood, board and batten is very durable and long-lasting. These materials are easier to maintain than wood and are particularly strong and impervious to moisture, fungus, termites, wind, and hail.

Can Board and Batten be Used on Inside Walls?

Board and batten, when used on inside walls, imparts interest and charm to otherwise boring plain walls. It can give a room a cozy, warm vibe and depending on the look you’re after, can be either painted or stained.

What Do I Need to Know About Installing Board and Batten?

  • Whether inside or outside, you’ll need to leave a ¼- to ½-inch expansion gap between the boards. This will allow for natural movement during temperature shifts. 
  • When you place the battens over the seams of the boards, nail in the center of the batten, through the seam and into the wall. 
  • Experts recommend painting or staining and sealing the wood before installation.

Can DIYers Install Board and Batten?

  • For DIYers with the proper tools and some real experience, installing board and batten is fairly straightforward. 
  • It will be important to determine exactly which tools and materials you’ll need and research the installation process before you decide that you can install board and batten on your own. 
  • Some hardware stores and home improvement centers sell board and batten pre-measured kits that are much easier to install.

What Are Some of the Various Designs and Applications of Board and Batten? 

Board and batten is more dimensional and textured the closer you space the battens. The farther apart they are, the look is more subtle. Some of the style variations include: 

  • Wide boards with thin battens.
  • Narrow boards with wide battens, called reverse board and batten.
  • Boards and battens of the same width.
  • Varying thin and wide battens on the boards.
  • Installing the board and battens horizontally instead of vertically.
  • Installing board and batten above a brick or stone veneer.

Does Board and Batten Go With All Architectural Styles?

Board and batten always looks great on architectural styles that historically used it. If you’re considering using board and batten on an architectural style that wouldn’t originally have used it, it’s possible that it will look out of place.

If you’re convinced that board and batten is a style that will work with your home, now it’s time to find a reputable installer. You’ll save time and headaches finding an experienced and trustworthy molding installation contractor when you get a free quote from Great Guys Painting. We vet all contractors in our network to make sure they are licensed, insured, and reliable. 


Great Guys Painting will help you find an expert board and batten installer you can trust. Request a free quote today!