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What Is Board and Batten?

What are battens?


Board and batten siding on the 1874 Carpenter Gothic South Park Church in Colorado

The 1874 South Park Church in Park County, Colorado is a fine example of board and batten siding on a Carpenter Gothic style

Photo ©Jeffrey Beall on flickr.com, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)


Board and batten, or board-and-batten, describes a type of exterior siding or interior paneling that has alternating wide boards and narrow wooden strips, called battens. The boards are usually (but not always) one foot wide. The boards may be placed horizontally or vertically. The battens are usually (but not always) about 1/2 inch wide. These battens are placed over the seams between the boards.

Reverse board and batten has very narrow boards with wide battens installed over the seams.

Also Known As:

Board-and-batten siding is sometimes called barn-siding, because many barns in North America are constructed with board and batten.


The words board and batten are hyphenated when used as an adjective, but not hyphenated when used alone. For example, we say: "My home has board-and-batten siding. Our builder constructed the house using board and batten."

Boards and battens can also be used individually. To "batten down the hatches" was a ship's preparation for a severe storm, when batten strips would be used to secure door-like hatch openings.

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