We believe you know about board and batten siding. This siding may be familiar when envisioning traditional barns, old Victorians, cottages or modern homes. Remember the cladding on the American Gothic home?
In American Gothic, painter Grant Wood includes a Victorian country home with white-painted board and batten siding. (Art Institute Chicago)
How board and batten gets assembled
Even if you never pick up a hammer, it’s good to learn that board and batten is a unique siding assembly. Wide boards are nailed vertically, followed by narrow battens that cover spaces between them. Sometimes the arrangement is reversed, with battens attached first and boards covering gaps. And boards alone may be used, with overlaps to create visual interest.
Construction highlights: By placing vertical boards and battens with 1/2″ or larger gaps, it allows for wood expansion and shrinkage seasonally. Wood should be stained or painted for protection. Builders recommend nailing though the wood, as shown. (Fine Homebuilding)
Historic board and batten houses
In 1842, Andrew Jackson “A.J.” Downing introduced 29 cottage plans with board and batten designs. The book was widely read and spread the new Carpenter Gothic style. In 1850, Downing published another tome with country house plans, some sporting porches. While best-known for landscape design, Downing’s impact on architecture comes a close second through the 19th century.
Springside Gatehouse is one of the earliest examples of Carpenter Gothic style, with obvious board and batten use. It is the only known home designed by A.J. Downing, and built after his death in the 1850s. It stands today on landmarked property in Poughkeepsie, NY. (Springside Estate)
The Aaron Ferrey House, built in 1866, followed a design from A.J. Downing’s country houses book and is on the National Register of Historic Places. While not a small Ohio home, many features can be seen in cottages built today. (Living Places)
Modern board and battens to build
These days, you may spot board and batten treatments in different homes. We selected four looks including an elegant lakeside place, cute studio cottage, barn-style garden shed and sweet garage. As you consider a new home or space, this vertical cladding could make it something unexpected.
This Washington home is made with energy efficient SIP panels. Its cedar board and batten siding and fir timber work well together. Measures 1,200 sq. ft. (Cascade Joinery)
A welcoming, country style entry is seen in this tiny house with green-painted board and batten, along with proportional door and windows. Measures 168 sq. ft. (Kanga Studio)
Next to a 100-year old farmhouse, the decrepit garden shed was knocked down and replaced by this traditional board and batten built with care. Measures 160 sq. ft. (Barn Light)
Storybook cottage owners renovated their garage with board and batten, in Carmel CA. Next renovation is a tiny house, no? Measurements unavailable. (Garden Tour)