How to Install Board and Batten Vinyl Siding

So, we’ve been renovating my home for a few years. It seems to be a never-ending cycle of finding new projects. My husband once joked that when we finally have the house how we want it, it’ll be out of date, and time to renovate again. I stand by the fact that some projects need a professional to complete them. To me, this is mostly for safety reasons. But the projects that can be done as a DIYer, save us money and make us feel proud when we’re done.

One project that may seem daunting, but isn’t bad is the installation of siding. Particularly, vinyl siding is easy to install, once you know the proper method. Board and batten vinyl siding goes vertically on the outside of the home rather than horizontally. This is becoming quite popular, especially when the home already has stone or brick accents. With the proper know-how, you’ll find this an easy project that doesn’t even require power tools.

How to Install Board and Batten Vinyl Siding

This is not to say that power tools aren’t useful, but there will be no need to go out and rent or purchase specialty power tools. Today, we’re going to check out the steps for hanging your board and batten vinyl siding. Also, we’ll cover some tips that will help the finished product look professionally done.


Tools Needed

First off, let’s talk about what’s needed to hang board and batten vinyl siding. As mentioned before, you won’t need any special power tools, but you will need tools that are most likely already part of your toolbox.

  • Board and batten vinyl siding
  • Hammer
  • Roofing galvanized nails
  • Tin snips
  • Furring strips
  • Base molding
  • Corner posts
  • J-channels

Board and Batten Siding

As I mentioned before, board and batten siding is just another term for vertical siding. This siding comes in a variety of sizes, and you’ll need to know which size you’re using to make installation that much easier. Most are around seven or eight inches, but some brands have wider boards., nearing 12 inches. You can also select between aluminum and vinyl board and batten siding, but vinyl tends to be easier and safer for DIYers. Aluminum siding can get quite sharp once snipped.

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Installing Board and Batten Vinyl Siding

Step 1: Prepare Wall

A mistake DIYers can easily make is forgetting that there need to be certain protective barriers between the plywood and the siding. You’ll want to lay down a moisture-protective barrier, but this should have been done before the installation of windows and doors.

However, if this is a renovation and the barrier is torn, you’ll want to replace it. This barrier will prevent moisture that may get behind the siding from rotting the wood. You’ll want flashings around the windows to protect from water seepage, and you’ll want to install the furring strips around corners, doors, and windows. Consider adding silicone caulk to any vulnerable seams.

Step 2: Measure the Wall

The important part of vertical siding is making sure that it looks even all the way across. If you start in one corner and run to the end of the wall, you’ll likely find you have a gap of an inch or more. It will look very strange having a very tiny piece on the edge, so it’s best to make sure that both edges of the wall match.

To do this, you’ll need to measure the wall from the inside of the corner or furring strip to the inside of the other. Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to subtract an inch from your total. This is because there needs to be a half-inch gap between the panels and the corner for expansion. Some contractors suggest nailing a row of nails a half inch out from the wall for the boards to abut.

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Step 3: Find the End Board Measurements

Once you have the wall measurement, divide it by the size of boards that you purchased to know how many pieces you’ll need. For example, if I measure my wall and find that it is 189 inches, I’ll subtract one inch from it before dividing it by 8 (my board size).

  1. 189 – 1 = 188 inches
  2. 188 / 8 = 23.5 pieces

This tells me I’ll need 23 full pieces, and I’ll need to break down my last two pieces. Now, if I had a wall that was 185 inches, I wouldn’t even need to worry about it, because I’d have an even number of 23 pieces. However, you need to know how to make this look professional, and it is very uncommon for a wall’s measurements to fit perfectly.

Next, look at the remaining number – a half. Figure out half of that and measure the lock overlap (about 3/8 inch) to add to that piece. This will bring you to the correct measurements for the two end pieces.

  1. 8 / 2 = 4 inches
  2. 4 + 3/8 = 4 3/8 inches

Step 4: Hang the Board and Batten

You’ll want to begin from the inside corner because it is more difficult to slide the siding into the corner. Split the edge piece after it has been measured. Use the tin snips to cut the vinyl. Once you have your ripped first piece (my first piece is 4 3/8 inches, remember?), slide it into the corner to the furring strip and hammer the first nail into the lock overlap. Then, place a nail every 12-18 inches going the length of the lock strip.

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Because board and batten siding will mostly expand vertically, you do not want it shifting and messing with the visual line. To prevent this, hammer the very first nail at the top of the nail slot to keep it in place. The other nails can be put anywhere within the slot to allow for movement. From here, you simply slid the next piece in place, lock it in place, and hammer it down before moving on to the next piece.

If you happen to have any windows or doors on the side of the house, you’ll need to measure those and cut them accordingly. Allow for a half-inch gap between the siding and the edge of the window/door. This will be covered by the furring strip and trim, so no need to worry about expansion.

Step 5: Hang Trim

Trim is the final piece that needs to be hung on your project. This will hide any gaps and make the project look professional. If you find that the trim is not even with the siding, use some of the thicker batten pieces from scraps. Once you’ve cut this off the board, glue it to the back of the hanging edge of the trim. This should make it look flush with the wall when you install it. As a bonus, the shading behind it will be the same color as the vinyl so it won’t stand out.