Woodform Architectural lists out five clever ways to keep costs down when specifying timber battens for internal and external applications. Cost can be a challenge for designers when working on original design concepts. However, there are various cost-saving measures they can adopt including working with the least expensive timber species.

Woodform Architecture has ranked various timber species from the lowest to the highest price per square metre with Spotted Gum identified as the cheapest followed by Blackbutt, Pacific Teak, American White Oak, Burnt Ash, and American Black Walnut.

Another suggestion is to widen the spacing between timber battens. For example, doubling timber batten spacing from 10mm to 20mm will result in approximately 10% savings in the per-square-metre price of 60mm x 19mm (WxD) Spotted Gum battens without drastically affecting the desired aesthetic.

Alternatively, designers can also reduce costs by rearranging the orientation of the battens. The same 32mm x 42mm Spotted Gum batten can be alternatively installed in a 42mm x 32mm orientation, meaning more surface space can be covered with fewer battens. This will lead to a nearly 14% reduction in cost in the per-square-metre price of the battens.

The final cost is also influenced by the choice of coatings and finishes selected by the designer for the timber battens. A simple coating of clear oil, for example, can be 16% or so more economical than a water-based lacquer finish per square metre for 60mm x 19mm Spotted Gum battens spaced 10mm apart. A wire-brushed texture effect can make the price disparity even greater.

One more way to reduce costs is to line surfaces with timber battens in smaller dimensions, which means the designer has to profile a vertical or horizontal plane with timber battens at a more subdued scale. For instance, 19mm x 32mm Spotted Gum battens spaced 10mm apart cost about 80% less in terms of price per lineal metre compared to 42mm x 60mm timber battens of the same species with identical spacing.

Designers can also save on costs by avoiding extended installation durations. This can be achieved by choosing modular, prefabricated systems, often with uncomplicated click-on mechanisms to minimise installation time, improve onsite productivity, and lower labour costs for a project. 

Image: Cost can be a challenge for designers when working with timber battens