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Community and Q&A

Unfinished Board & Batten Siding

Jeremiah_Sommer | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

I’m looking for feedback regarding board and batten siding. I installed B&B on my home 15 years ago over continuous insulation and a rain screen. Before install I stained all four sides and so far it has held up very well even on the walls that get significant sun exposure. Eight years later I built a shop and installed B&B in the same fashion minus the Ci, however in this case I did not seal/stain any of it, as I wanted it to naturally grey. So far it has met my expectations and there is part of me that wishes I had not bothered to finish the B&B on my house as the unfinished siding appears to be about as maintenance free as it gets vs my house which will someday require another coat of stain.

I suspect the inclusion of a rainscreen is the main reason both assemblies have performed well and I expect both buildings to last many years before siding replacement is necessary. 

I don’t really have a question but mainly curious to hear opinions regarding long term durability of unfinished wood siding when installed over a RS detail.

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  1. tjanson | | #1

    I have been installing local hemlock ship lap on my garage and house as I renovate. I install it vertically with a rainscreen. I am not finishing any of it. I don't how long it will last, I'm hoping for 20+ years, but we will see. I do not want finish because I don't want to have to repaint, etc, I want repairs to blend in after a year or 2 of weathering, and when it gets all gets replaced I want the debris to be able to go into the wood stove.

    Robert Swinburne, Minde and Morse, do alot of unfinished siding on their projects. You see unfinished hemlock siding on alot of ag buildings around here in VT, seems to last.

    1. Jeremiah_Sommer | | #2

      I agree, I think ultimately as long as there is a rainscreen and the appropriate flashing in place it should last as long as any other wood siding. If the natural grey appearance is the desired look then it really does become a low maintenance option.

  2. plumb_bob | | #3

    My standard program for siding is either shingles, or board and batten, from western red cedar. I will paint or stain the trim/belly boards/fascia for contrast, but the actual siding remains unfinished. No problems yet. And no rain screen, I live in a very forgiving building climate.

    Of note, the wood that is not exposed to water turns a dark brown from the sun, not grey. I have a small house and fence that were built at the same time, the house cedar has darkened and the fence is silver. Same batch of wood.

    I like the look, and the time and $ saved is considerable. And if I ever feel like it I could give the B+B a quick sand and then paint or stain. Not a viable option for shingles I think.

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