How to Fix Battens

Written by g.k. bayne
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To batten means to fasten, secure or hold down, as in the terminology for ships of "batten down the hatches." Homeowners may be familiar with this term if they have wooden shutters or board and batten siding. The side frames on windows, that have wooden shutters attached, are called battens. The battens on siding are the thin strips of wood that cover the vertical joints between each board. These battens in particular can become damaged due to their low proximity to the ground. They also sit higher than the flush surface of the siding. These two factors can cause a lawnmower to hang against the small board or an errant bicycle to run into it.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Pry bar
  • Replacement battens
  • Mitre saw
  • 8-p nails
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Caulk
  • Screwdriver

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    Board and Batten Siding

  1. 1

    Pry the damaged batten from the exterior siding or boards of the home. With the nail puller on the end of the pry bar, remove the nails that remain in the batten and in the boards .

  2. 2

    Set the batten edgeways in the mitre saw. Angle the saw blade to a 45-degree angle. Cut the damaged portion off of the batten in such a way that the outside of the cut will cover over the replacement portion of the batten. In other words, you will want the old batten to lap over the 45-degree angle on the new piece of batten. This will keep the rain from falling into an exposed joint on the wood.

  3. 3

    Install the cut batten back onto the boards. Pay careful attention to line up the batten with any paint or shade marks on the siding. Install the 8-p nails into new places on the batten. Do not use the old nail holes as they will not hold the batten securely to the boards.

  4. 4

    Measure the distance from under the 45-degree angle to the bottom of the board. Transfer this measurement to the replacement batten with the pencil. Cut the batten to the proper length, at the corresponding 45-degree angle. Hold the batten in place under the secured batten. Check for fit. Trim if necessary.

  5. 5

    Run a small bead of caulking on the angled cut of the replacement batten. Slip the batten into place. Nail the batten securely. Wipe any excess caulk from the surface.

    Shutter Battens

  1. 1

    Remove the wooden shutters. Pull the hinge pin or pull all the screws from the fixed hinge half of each hinge mounted on the batten. A seriously damaged batten may have to be replaced altogether. Removing the entire hinge may be most expedient.

  2. 2

    Use the pry bar and carefully remove the side batten. With the pry bar, scrape off any caulk that is left behind on the siding.

  3. 3

    Measure the overall length of the batten and cut the replacement on the mitre saw. Move the angle on the saw so a perpendicular cut is made with the blade.

  4. 4

    Test fit the batten alongside the window. Attach the batten using the 8-p nails. Install the hinges onto the batten and rehang the shutter.

  5. 5

    Run a bead of caulking down the vertical length of the outside edge of the batten. This will seal out any moisture that may attempt to enter the joint.

Tips and warnings

  • Pre-paint the battens before installing on the home. Allow the paint to fully dry before replacing any of the woodwork.
  • Do not place caulk alongside or under the battens used for siding. This piece of wood must allow the boards to expand and contract widthways during seasonal changes in weather. Caulking may cause the boards to crack from lack of movement if held in place by the caulk.

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