Why are most barns exterior vertical board and battons? by barngeekthe | Sep 3, 2014 | AskTheBarngeek | 7 comments Why are most barns exterior vertical boards? Strength, appearance, tradition? 7 Comments The Barn Geek on September 4, 2014 at 9:52 pm It’s about longevity and practicality. You see if a board that is exposed to the elements such as rain, is oriented so that the water can shed off the board quickly, then the board will last longer. If you stand your boards upright, the grain will run up and down and the water will rum off easier. If you install your boards horizontally the drops of water will sit on the edge of the wood grain and soak into the wood. The wetter wood gets and stays the quicker it will rot. This is why you see many old barns with vertical board and batten siding still intact, and not too many old homes with horizontal wood lap siding still intact. Also, you have to admit that vertical board and batten just looks really cool…. At least I think it does! Reply DJ4wd on September 5, 2014 at 9:52 pm I see That makes a lot of sense, with the grain, and moisture. Love this site, thank a ton. Reply Cathi on January 11, 2017 at 9:52 pm Ventilation In the South, tobacco barns had this type of siding on tracks, hinges, or wires so the board could be moved to improve airflow to the drying tobacco. They were also often painted black or stained with black walnut husks to make them heat up more Reply The Barn People on January 12, 2017 at 9:52 pm Board and Batten In New England barns were first enclosed with just one layer of vertical barn siding. Because this siding was installed while still wet from fresh cutting it naturally shrunk leaving spaces between each board. While good for ventilation, these gaps also permitted water damage to the frame and also allowed for drafty conditions on the barns interior, not good for livestock. sometime in the early 1800’s a layer of “live edged” thinner boards were first installed with the second, exterior layer covering the gaps between the first layer. This is now termed “reverse board and batten”. Later when water powered saws came into use it was easy to rip “batten strips”, usually 3″ – 4″ wide were applied over one layer of vertical siding to cover the area due to shrink. A common mistake made was nailing the battens to both the boards it was covering. This had a tendency to split the vertical siding. the nail should have been placed in the gap between the two boards to allow for movement. Reply The Barn Geek on January 12, 2017 at 9:53 pm Thanks for the great information in the comments from Cathi and The Barn People! It’s interesting to learn how different areas had different uses and techniques for installing and using board and batten siding. Reply Kurt on January 20, 2017 at 9:53 pm Barn Battens I have been trying to find information on tin barn batten strips, but no luck. We are currently tearing one down here in Nebraska and trying to determine its value but I can’t find anything about the stuff anywhere. Our stuff is stamped with a patent date of February 1913. Thanks! Reply Rand on July 8, 2021 at 3:06 am Any idea why most barns in the prairie provinces have horizontal siding (usually tongue and groove) while eastern Canadian Barns are more typically vertical? Reply Submit a Comment Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment * Name Email Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Sign up to our newsletter!