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How to Install Board and Batten Siding – A Step-by-Step Guide

roof and board and batten siding

Imagine transforming the exterior of your home with a timeless look that adds charm and curb appeal. Board and batten siding is a classic design choice that is both attractive and durable. Installing it with a Seattle siding contractor or by yourself can be a rewarding project, yielding a sense of accomplishment and significant cost savings. In this step-by-step guide on how to install board and batten siding, we will walk you through the process, from gathering materials and tools to adding the finishing touches.

Short Summary

  • Gather materials and tools to construct board and batten siding.
  • Prepare the surface for installation, then measure, cut, attach boards with nails & adhesive.
  • Seal joints of battens and apply two coats of paint/water sealer. Inspect regularly for maintenance.

Materials and Tools Required

Before starting your board and batten siding project, it’s essential to gather the necessary materials and tools. You’ll need plywood boards, battens, trim, a HardieTrim skirt, a nail gun, nails, an insulation roll, a moisture barrier, a mitre saw, a HardieBlade, gloves, a rafter square, a pencil, and a magnet. Various rot-resistant materials can be used in constructing the siding. Examples include naturally rot-resistant wood, fiber cement, synthetic lumber, vinyl, and aluminum. Opt for exterior-grade screws compatible with your chosen wood species and exterior-grade ring-shank or spiral shank style nails designed specifically for installing wood siding.

When selecting the dimensions for your board and batten siding, several options are available depending on your desired look. For instance, you can choose between 1×10 boards with 12 or 13 battens or 1×8 or 1×12 boards with 14 battens. The boards should be fitted with fasteners that measure 2 1/8” in length. Battens, which are stacked on top of the boards, require fasteners measuring 3” in length. Nails for one inch thick siding boards should be at least 2 1/2” long. For battens, use 3 1/2” long nails.

Preparing the Surface

Proper surface preparation is crucial for a successful board and batten siding installation. Start by removing the existing siding, utilizing tools such as crowbars, hammers, gloves, and a magnet. This step ensures that the new siding has a clean, stable surface to adhere to, promoting longevity and resistance to wear and tear.

Once the old siding is removed, scrape away any remaining materials to create a smooth surface for the new siding. This process may involve replacing or adding wall sheathing and a weather-resistant barrier as needed to provide additional protection against the elements.

Proper surface preparation not only enhances the appearance of your board and batten siding, but also helps prevent potential issues down the road.

Installing the Baseboards

With the surface prepared, it’s time to install the baseboards for your board and batten siding. This process involves cutting and measuring the boards to the desired length, positioning them using a plumb line, and securing them with corrosion-resistant nails.

Don’t forget to leave small gaps between the boards, which minimize the amount of material required and provide a channel for moisture to escape if it accumulates behind the siding.

Cutting and Measuring

To ensure accurate measurements for your baseboards, hold a piece of the baseboard against one corner of the wall and mark it instead of using a tape measure. For longer walls, cut a piece of baseboard exactly 100″ and fit it tightly into the corner, then measure from the other corner to the end of the board. Once you’ve measured the boards, use a mitre saw to cut them to the desired length.

When measuring and cutting the battens, measure the length of the wall and cut the battens accordingly. Secure the battens to the wall using nails or screws, ensuring that the correct size and type of fasteners are selected for the material in use.

Attaching Boards

To attach the baseboards, use a combination of nails and construction adhesive for optimal stability and longevity. Nailing the baseboards helps keep them straighter and free from warping over time, while gluing them requires less effort.

Apply construction adhesive at the top and bottom of the board, and nail the floor trim to the studs. If you need extra width, you can position plywood sheets to the edge of the stud, provided there is ample space for the nail to be secured. The seam will eventually be concealed with battens, so don’t worry about minor imperfections.

Installing the Battens

cut the battens to the desired length using a saw and install them by nailing them into the boards.

Securing Battens

Measure the length of the wall and cut the battens to the appropriate length. To secure the battens, drive one nail into the top and one nail into the bottom, adjusting for alignment with slight pulls.

Verify the line with a small level and drive a nail into the middle of the batten. Using a small level ensures that the battens are accurately aligned and level throughout the installation process.

Finishing Touches

After installing the boards and battens, you’ll need to apply some finishing touches to ensure a polished appearance and long-lasting durability. This process involves sealing the boards and battens with exterior paint or water sealer, typically applying two coats for optimal protection.

Use exterior paint or water sealer that is suitable for the type of material you’ve chosen for your siding. Additionally, caulk all seams, including those around the trim, skirt, and battens, to create a watertight seal.

Sealing and Caulking

Applying sealant to the entire board before installing the battens is essential to protect against warping, cracking, and splitting. Proper caulking is critical for a successful batten installation too, so be sure to use an exterior-grade acrylic latex or synthetic rubber caulk.

Apply the caulk along the outside edges of the boards and battens to weatherproof your home. For a smooth finish, apply the caulk between the wall and the edge of the board, using a putty knife to ensure a clean, professional appearance.

Painting or Staining

Before painting or staining your board and batten siding, clean the surface with a mild detergent and water. An oil-based primer is recommended to provide a solid base for the paint or stain. Use a combination of a roller and brush to apply the paint or stain, ensuring an even and thorough coverage.

Choose an enamel paint that coordinates with the other trim in the room for a cohesive look.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Board and batten siding can occasionally experience issues such as warping, cracking, and water infiltration. To prevent these challenges, create gaps when installing the boards, use appropriate flashing and caulking techniques, and seal the boards and battens adequately.

Additionally, utilize solid plywood or OSB sheathing for added stability and secure the boards and battens in a way that allows for flexibility.

Uneven Boards or Battens

To identify uneven boards in your board and batten siding, look for boards that are not flush with the rest of the boards. If you notice any unevenness, adjust the nails or screws holding the boards in place using galvanized, coated, or stainless wood or deck screws.

Ensure that the boards are positioned to cover 48-inches at a time, and nail either 16 on center or 24 on center to vertical board installation guarantee a secure installation.

Water Damage Prevention

Proper flashing and caulking are crucial for preventing water damage in your board and batten siding. Bevel cut the battens at the flashing with a 1/4″ gap between them and prime all cut ends. Use exterior-grade acrylic latex or synthetic rubber caulk on both sides of the battens to create a water-resistant seal in the seams.

Regular inspections for water damage are also important for maintaining the integrity of your siding.

Maintenance Tips

Proper maintenance is essential for keeping your board and batten siding looking its best and ensuring its longevity. Regular inspections, cleaning, and repairs are all crucial aspects of maintaining your siding.

Inspect your siding at least annually, looking for signs of water damage, loose boards, and other potential issues.

Regular Inspections

Conduct regular inspections of your board and batten siding to identify any potential issues early on. The life expectancy of traditional board and batten siding is estimated to be around 25 years and can be extended with more durable materials such as fiber cement.

For homes without vinyl siding, inspect them at 10 years and then every three to four years thereafter. During inspections, check for signs of wear and tear, such as cracks, warping, or discoloration, as well as any loose nails or screws, and ensure that the siding is adequately sealed.

Cleaning and Repairs

Regular cleaning is vital for maintaining your board and batten siding. Use a mild detergent solution, such as dish soap or laundry detergent, and a soft brush to clean the siding. Pressure washing is not necessary, as a garden hose or bucket of water is sufficient for wetting the siding before scrubbing.

If you discover any damage during your inspections, address it promptly to avoid further deterioration. This may involve replacing boards or battens or, in more severe cases, replacing entire sections of siding.


In conclusion, installing board and batten siding is a rewarding DIY project that can enhance the appearance and value of your home. By following this step-by-step guide, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle the installation process and maintain your own batten siding installing board, for years to come. With proper care and maintenance, your board and batten siding will stand the test of time, providing your home with a timeless and charming look that never goes out of style.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you put behind board and batten siding?

To properly install board and batten siding, you need to first attach a layer of plywood or OSB sheathing. This will give the the batten siding board a solid foundation on which to be securely fastened.

Additionally, it provides the necessary support for proper insulation behind the board and batten siding.

Do you nail or screw board and batten?

For the installation of board and batten siding, screws are recommended instead of nails. Screws should be placed at least 2” from the top and bottom of the wide boards and then every 2’ vertically, with 1-3/4” screws for the wider boards and 2-3/4” screws for the narrow battens.

Nails should not be used when installing exterior wood siding.

Is board and batten easy to install?

Board and batten is a great DIY project that doesn’t require an extensive set of tools or woodworking skills. With careful planning and preparation, board and batten can be a straightforward project to install in your home.

Overall, it can be considered easy to install with the right materials and instructions.

How to install board and batten?

Installing a board and batten wall is a straightforward process – simply start by removing your existing baseboard and marking the wall for horizontal boards. Then, find and mark the studs, mount top trim boards (optional), install the baseboard and corner vertical battens and cut any spacer boards.

With these steps complete, you’ll have a beautiful board and batten wall in no time!