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Shown below is an example of my exterior above my garage. I was wanting to look into painting/stucco/new siding work and wondered if what "bracing" you see as the same color of the house was purely decorative or if it applied to the structure of the house. To be more specific, these are the boards that run horizontal and vertical which are not white.

Some of the inside panels below/between these 1x6 boards may need to be replaced around the house and I wanted to assess replacement options/methods.

Decorative Exterior Bracing

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It looks like trim to hide the seams. I haven't heard of 1x being used as a structural but have used this kind of trim to cover seams / gaps in the siding. – Ed Beal Mar 15 at 13:03
    
Great, if I go for a more streamlined look, can I just fill cracks on new plys between seams or is there a more resilient way to have a uniform look? – Shawn Strickland Mar 15 at 13:04
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@EdBeal, looks like an answer... And I agree for sure. – JPhi1618 Mar 15 at 13:11
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A good exterior latex calk will fill the gaps but you will be able to see them if just painted. this kind of trim cost a bit more to install but weatherproofs the seams and looks better (IMO). If you stucco over or put up a new type of siding it wont hurt to remove them. – Ed Beal Mar 15 at 13:14
up vote 9 down vote accepted

The style of finish with several narrow vertical boards placed on broader surfaces is called board and batten. The battens are used to hides seams of the broader sections, and in more primitive construction, to fill cracks, block air, and improve insulation.

The battens are not meant to be structural, but when nailed, screwed, or glued into place, add some minor additional rigidity to the structure. The horizontal and angled strips are also primarily decorative, but fill roles similar to the battens.

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They're decorative, but may also be covering seams if the fields between are plywood. But, it would've been a horrible waste of time to build it with small intricate pieces so I doubt someone was that overly dumb.

If they stay or return. I'd vote to paint them white or to match the house & garage trim, if that may be changing. Much better character & curb appeal.

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I agree they should be a contrasting color, but too many homes around me have this decoration with contrasting colors and frankly, it's too busy. Especially on 20+ foot walls. – Shawn Strickland Mar 15 at 13:25
    
You think that's bad? I had a neighbor with a Tudor style house that had these all over the place, but it wasn't enough. He actually Barber Pole Striped them. Unbelievably ugly & talk about busy. It was just stupid. bldgblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/11/… – Iggy Mar 15 at 13:32
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@Iggy note that Tudors aren't board-and-batten. They are what's called half-timbered (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timber_framing#Half-timbered)--or rather, emulating half-timbered construction. Those are definitely often painted in contrasting colors given that they are entirely different materials (wood v stucco). Board-and-batten, on the other hand, are usually painted the same color (as it's both the same material). A 'real' half timbered structure is what holds up the house (essentially a post-and-beam structure). Board and batten isn't...it's just siding. – DA01 Mar 15 at 14:26
    
Yep, I know. But, as soon as you do even a single horizontal it can no longer be considered board & batten. As board & batten are only meant to be vertical & just 1-story or 1 uninterrupted run of wide & thin strip. – Iggy Mar 15 at 14:53
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:D But, get it in plastic so you don't have to paint it. – Iggy Mar 15 at 19:36

Ok thanks @JPhi1618.
It looks like trim to hide the seams. I haven't heard of 1x being used as a structural but have used this kind of trim to cover seams / gaps in the siding.

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