Cottonwood for Barn Siding

      Advice on using Cottonwood for board and batten siding. June 18, 2010

Question
I have access to large cottonwood logs and wish to cut them into 1 X 12 boards and apply them to the sidewall of my barn. The barn has a 24" overhang, and the spaces between the 12" boards will be covered with 1 X 3 battens. All of this siding will be applied vertical. The boards will be nailed to 2 X 6 girts 36" apart. Should I dry them first or apply green? I have never used cottonwood for siding. I live in the Pacific Northwest.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor C:
I would nail them up green...You will notice quite a bit of shrinkage and some splitting over time, especially on the south side, but with board and batten it doesn't matter as much. I would use 3" galvanized or stainless deck screws to hold them flat. Pallet mills around here love cottonwood.



From contributor J:
I've built a few barns with it. It helps to have a foot of overhang or so. I used ring-shank nails and nailed the boards in the center for a couple of weeks, then when it dried a little I nailed the boards down. Helps with splitting. Got a semi-colored stain and sprayed the wood. It has held up for many years - will be around longer than I am.


From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Cottonwood is probably not the best species to use, but it will work well if you can keep it dry and allow for some movement. Ring shank nails are indeed important. Installation of green wood is okay, but plan on substantial shrinkage and even some warping. Because the pieces will be trying to shrink about 3/4" in width, if you nail down the edges, there will be tremendous stress and the pieces will likely crack in the middle. Therefore, nail in the middle and allow the edges to move unrestricted. Make sure that the batten nails do not restrict movement of the pieces underneath. Decay resistance is nil, so using gutters on the roof might be a good idea.


From contributor S:
I sawed for a guy with a 100 year old barn with cottonwood siding that's still in good shape except for where it's close to the ground. Try keeping it 8" or so off the ground.


From the original questioner:
Thanks, all. Great info!

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?


Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing: Sawmilling

  • KnowledgeBase: Wood Engineering

  • KnowledgeBase: Wood Engineering: Wood Properties


    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.



    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2016 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB











  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers


      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article