How to Build a Board and Batten Shed

More and more homeowners are opting for DIY projects at home over hiring contractors that only offer pre-fabricated styles. When it comes to home design, there’s a current emphasis on character, personal touch, and the pride that comes with tackling a project from start to finish — which is why so many individuals are creating their very own building projects right in their backyard.

Whether it’s a stylish spot to stash lawnmowers, patio furniture, and Christmas lights, or it’s a full-blown she-shed that serves as an extra space to kick back and relax in privacy, building a high-quality board and batten shed requires careful attention to detail during construction, as well as the right building materials.

Before picking out paint colors and decor, be sure to establish a solid overview of the project by taking a look at this step-by-step guide for building a board and batten shed.

A Strong Foundation

Building a strong foundation requires taking a hard look at specific landscape challenges, like slope. For relatively flat areas, a gravel bed with treated beams is usually sufficient for building a strong foundation that can support a joist system. 

Sloped areas, on the other hand, usually require building on posts that are rooted in concrete footing pads. While pouring concrete makes for a fast and easy floor, it’s generally not recommended for sheds built on a slope. Instead, the opening beneath the foundation of the shed can be hidden with a skirt. Always check to ensure the foundation is properly set and leveled before moving on to the next phase of the building project.

Roofing Trusses

Roofing trusses can be ordered directly from the lumberyard, however,building them from scratch can save a lot of money. A good trick for building trusses with precision is to use the floor of the board and batten shed as a work surface to take measurements and help visualize the structure. In general, most board and batten sheds will need one truss about every two feet, and plywood gussets can be used for framing. Roofing will depend on your particular tastes, but choosing a durable roofing material is best to ensure quality protection and coverage.

Walls with Windows and Doors

Typically, plywood or OSB sheathing is used for board and batten shed walls, because both of these materials provide a good nailing surface for securing the siding. Sash windows are a good option for board and batten sheds, because they just require a basic frame and hinges, which can help speed up the building process. Be sure to measure the window and door frames properly before moving on to the next step.

Install Board and Batten Siding

Once you prep the walls by installing flashing at the corners and around windows and doors, then you can start laying out the siding. Measure the width of the boards and be sure to plan a layout that avoids thin strips of siding near windows and doors, as this can appear amateur and create the potential for leaks.

When installing the first board, always start at a corner edge and work your way across, nailing into the sheathing every 16 inches. Be sure to use a spacer, like a ⅝-inch plywood block, between boards so that the intentional gaps are consistent, and check for plumb every few panels. It’s critical that board and batten sheds have straight and consistent lines, as a few angled panels or skewed battens can really take away from the finished product. 

Fasteners can help maintain consistency and ensure stability. Once the vertical boards are in place, the battens can be installed in each of the gaps, overlapping the boards by ¾ inch on each side. Sealants and caulk should be used as a final step to close gaps and strengthen the siding.

The choice of materials can make a big difference in this step of the building process. Board and batten siding that’s made from real wood may need extra maintenance and prep so that it’s able to withstand the elements. Hard woods, like pressure-treated pine, can be difficult to seal properly and may lead to leaks and cracks down the line. Cedar, on the other hand, is relatively soft, which makes for an easier installation and sealing. However, sourcing real cedar can be pricey, and it will still leave the board and batten shed susceptible to certain outdoor threats, like woodpeckers and insects.

For all of these reasons, many homeowners prefer working with wood-look siding, like TruLog metal siding, which can provide enhanced durability and protection from the elements without losing the charming allure of wood. Metal siding designed to imitate the appearance of wood comes in a wide range of colors and textures, which reduces a significant amount of time for a DIY board and batten shed project. Since the siding is metal, there’s no need to worry about warped panels or skewed battens.

Adding Extras 

Finally, you can add unique personality and character to your board and batten shed by adding extra features, like gutters, decorative brackets, and additional trim, if desired. Board and batten sheds already feature great dimension and detail with the vertical siding layout, so they don’t necessarily require a lot of extra pizazz, as the character and charm are already there!

If you’re thinking of building a shed, contact Trulog today for more information on the best siding option for the job.

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