Recommendations for board-and-batten
Next year I’m building a house, and I plan to install board-and-batten siding. John Birchard’s article on this subject mentions an alternative method to provide nail backing for the boards: Instead of installing blocking between studs, use horizontal nailers on the exterior sheathing and fasten the boards and battens to the nailers. This method appeals to me because of its simplicity. How far apart should I place the nailers? What type of nails should I use with unfinished, roughsawn boards? Finally, can I use a panel material, such as Louisiana Pacific’s Inner Seal, instead of individual boards, and simply install 2-in. battens over it?
David G. Sutliff, Park City, UT
John Birchard, a builder in California, replies: Installing 2×4 nailers to the exterior side of the framing certainly would save you some time in cutting blocking, but you’ll have to buy extra material instead of using a lot of scrap framing lumber. Board-and-batten nailers should be spaced 2 ft. o. c., but you can fudge this figure a little if your walls are, say, 9 ft. high. If you plan to leave your boards unpainted, then stainless-steel siding nails are best because they won’t stain the boards as they weather.
Plywood or composition panels, such as Inner Seal, with battens nailed over them can be used instead of boards for a quickie board-and-batten treatment. You can even nail the battens to wall studs on 16-in. centers to eliminate the need for horizontal blocking. Just remember that composition board will have to be painted.