Used for centuries across a variety of structures and architectural styles, board and batten siding is one of the most recognizable exterior layouts — especially for cabins and rustic farmhouse-inspired homes. The look of board and batten cabins hasn’t changed much over the years, but the installation and construction approach to this exterior style certainly has.
Modern materials and smart modifications to designs have propelled the popularity of board and batten cabins by providing an easy way to achieve this classic look while also reaping the benefits of technological advances and modern construction capabilities. In particular, material choice can make a big difference in the success and ease of building board and batten cabins.
Take a look at how the approach to building board and batten cabins has changed (for the better!) over the years:
Traditional Board and Batten Cabins
Board and batten cabins are instantly recognizable: regularly-shaped, rectangular siding panels are arranged vertically and marked with thin vertical beams at each seam, creating a textured exterior look that has depth and character. Some board and batten cabins feature this layout from foundation to roof.
More recently, however, designers have begun creating segmented board and batten cabin layouts, meaning the exterior wall is segmented horizontally, with a board and batten layout on the bottom half of the wall and a contrasting layout, such as a smooth surface or brick, on the top half. This segmentation creates additional character and contrast.
Traditionally, board and batten cabins were built with either smooth or rough-cut wood beams. Why? Wood was widely available in many regions, which means it did not require as much transportation as other manufactured building materials. In addition, wood was fairly affordable and easy to work with, which was a great advantage for frontiersmen and women looking to build their own cabins with minimal help.
However, as new material innovations and approaches to construction have adapted, so have market trends. Many people have specific interests and needs for their board and batten cabins that can’t be met by traditional materials alone. Trends have changed to meet these shifting needs, and modern board and batten homes frequently feature other, more adapted building materials and styles.
Modern Cabins, Modern Materials
One of the biggest changes in building trends is the demand for more eco-friendly and energy efficient materials. Obviously, natural wood requires logging, which can put a strain on stressed ecosystems and sustainability initiatives. Materials that last longer and perform with greater durability can cut down on board and batten cabin repair and rebuilding. Materials like steel are now in higher demand precisely because of this interest in long-lasting materials that don’t have as severe of an impact on the environment as logging might.
In addition, board and batten cabins that consist strictly of wood can require a significant amount of upkeep. Rain, snow, and sun damage can cause rotting, warping, and color fading, which will need routine repair and repainting to protect the integrity of the board and batten cabin structure. Because of this, many cabin owners turn to materials like steel that offer low-maintenance durability that can stand up to a range of weather conditions without requiring repair.
Many cabin dwellers are also strongly concerned about the flammability of their building materials, especially as wildfires continue to become more prevalent and more difficult to control. In addition, those who are building a board and batten cabin in a remote area that is far from city services tend to seek out materials with fire-resistance, as this can help create peace of mind and buy time to get help in case a fire is sparked.
Steel Board and Batten
Modern challenges and concerns call for modern approaches, but this doesn’t mean that switching to modern building materials means cabin dwellers have to give up their idyllic board and batten siding style. One innovative approach is to select a wood-look steel siding that imitates the look of natural wood without carrying the burden of upkeep and concern that comes along with real wood.
For example, TruLog carries a wide variety of steel siding products that allow cabin owners to enjoy that natural board and batten aesthetic with the additional protection of steel siding. In addition to being low-maintenance and much more durable than real wood, TruLog steel board and batten siding is naturally fire-resistant and won’t sustain damage from excess moisture, like rain and snow.
Another modern development with TruLog’s steel board and batten cabin siding is the fact that each panel is pre-formulated with a bottom lock, lip, and groove to simplify installation and deliver a more secure, impenetrable board and batten layout. The finished product looks just as beautiful as the original board and batten cabin designs used in years past — including natural-looking wood grain patterns and colors — but it has the added security of steel construction.
For those who want the best in modern building materials for their board and batten cabin, look no further than TruLog’s board and batten steel siding options. Download our Board and Batten Buyers Guide or Contact a siding expert today.