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caulking board and battens

I am working on a historical barn in AZ. I have been told to caulk the board and battens on the horizontal joints. I disagree. I don't think you should caulk anything on board and batten siding, esp. on a barn! The board and battens only cover the lower third of the barn siding, above them are cedar shingles. Between the board and battens and the shingles above is a cove moulding topped with a drip cap that extends roughly 1" beyond the siding. The board and battens also rest on a skirt or band board below. Both the skirt board and the drip cap are bevelled to allow water to flow away from the building. Am I correct?

Re: caulking board and battens

the only horizontal joints in siding that should get caulked are directly under a window and up at the soffit. they have to be left open so that water that gets behind can get back out.

one thing i see all the time on homes are the gap over top of windows where the cap flashing comes out from under the siding getting caulked, and all these windows there is visable water damage on the inside.

it wouldnt hurt to set a bead of caulking behind the batten when installing over the gap between boards, this will keep wind driven rain from getting into the joint and by back caulking you dont see a visable bead of caulking

Re: caulking board and battens

Over the years as a painting contractor, I have seen alot of damage done by overcaulking in areas that should never have been caulked at all! If all carpentry were perfect, there would be precious little caulk on any house!

Such items as rain caps have a purpose, to drain water away from the siding and windows. Battens on boards also have a purpose, to keep rain from the otherwise exposed gaps between the boards. Battens are not there because they look architecturally quaint, but because they serve a purpose.

Coming from the Mid-west where aluminum storm windows are common, I would often see the exterior bottom edge of the storm window caulked tightly shut, thus trapping rain water on the inside edge of the storm window. And of course, the weap holes were also closed up! No wonder the wooden sills were often rotten.

For that matter, I never believed in caulking the storm window in place. A well fitted storm window should leave precious little room for air or water to enter behind the storm window. Given my choice, I always would remove the entire storm window to affect a better paint job on the entire window.

Re: caulking board and battens

I agree with you, I would not caulk the battens, side or back. I'd let them breath.

If you are going to paint them, then I would prime all sides and ends of the boards and battens first.

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