Roof Batten

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Roofing battens are integral components in roof construction, serving multiple key functions that contribute to the overall integrity and effectiveness of the roofing system. Typically made from timber, these long, thin strips are installed horizontally across roof rafters or trusses. Here at Materials Market, we are a leading supplier of roofing materials and sell a range of roof batten sizes.

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What Are Roof Battens? 

Roof battens, also referred to as tile battens, wooden battens, counter battens, roofing lats, or cladding battens, are essential components in roof construction. These narrow, elongated strips of timber are horizontally positioned across the rafters or roof trusses. Their primary role is preparatory, setting the stage for the roof covering that follows.

Despite their ungraded status and lack of structural function, roof battens play a critical role in the integrity of roofing systems. They provide necessary spacing between different surfaces—such as keeping plasterboard panels away from damp external walls to prevent moisture damage—and help secure roofing felt, ensuring a stable base for tiles or slates.

In the building and construction industry, timber roof battens are valued not only for their practicality but also for their affordability. While they are not designed to bear loads, their utility in spacing and securing roofing materials makes them indispensable in creating durable and reliable roofing structures.

Please note that our suppliers stock varying roof batten colours, therefore we cannot guarantee the specific colour you will receive. This being said, you can rest assured in the knowledge that the dye colour does not affect the performance of the battens in any way. What's more, roof battens aren't exposed within an application so there’s no aesthetic consideration. 

Where Are Roof Battens Used? 

  • Support for Roof Coverings: Roof battens provide a framework for securing various types of roof coverings, such as tiles, shingles, metal sheets, or roofing membranes. The battens create a stable surface for the roof covering to be nailed or fastened onto, ensuring it remains securely in place, even in adverse weather conditions.
  • Improving Roof Ventilation: In some roofing systems, particularly those with pitched roofs, roof battens create a gap between the roof covering and the roof deck. This gap allows for air circulation and ventilation beneath the roof covering, helping to regulate temperatures and prevent moisture buildup, which can lead to mould, rot, and other issues.
  • Water Management: Roof battens can also help manage water runoff by providing a raised surface for the roof covering. This elevation allows water to flow freely off the roof and away from the building, reducing the risk of water infiltration and damage to the roof structure.
  • Alignment and Spacing: Roof battens ensure uniformity and proper spacing of roof coverings, such as tiles or shingles. They help maintain consistent alignment and spacing, which is essential for both aesthetic reasons and the functionality of the roof system.

Roof Batten Benefits 

  • Suitable to provide the fixing point for roofing materials such as shingles or tiles
  • They keep the roof covering in straight, uniform rows and provide a solid foundation for nails or clips used to attach the tiles or slates
  • They keep clips and nails securely in place, even in high winds
  • Roof tile battens also have an effect on the weatherproofing 

Roof Batten Installation Tips

  • It is important when installing treated roof battens to ensure that they are all perfectly horizontally and vertically aligned, in order to provide a sturdy fixing point for the roof tiles. If there are irregularities, this could have an impact on the integrity of the roofing structure and the weatherproofing and protection that it provides. 
  • It may be necessary to use small pieces of treated timber as packing behind roof battens to even out any irregularities.
  • It should be noted that when fitting roofing, a horizontal treated wooden batten should be used just above the bottom of the roof cladding to deny entry to small animals and pests. This markedly reduces the risks of pests getting in and helps to secure the structure against the hazards that this can ultimately cause.
  • It is important to check that you have selected the correct tools and size and gauge of slate battens for the job at hand, and this depends on the span of the rafters and the roof covering that you are using. This will have a direct effect on the weather tightness of the finished roof and should be a step that is considered very carefully.
  • You must make sure that you are using the right size of nails to affix the wooden battens to the rafters. 3.35mm nails tend to be the recommended minimum diameter, along with a penetration of at least 40mm in order to ensure they are securely and safely fixed. 
  • When installing roof battens, we recommend starting at the lower edge of the roof and nailing them into place or otherwise affixing them directly over the rafters. This adds to the sturdiness of the job and ensures that there is a firm base to attach the outer roof covering.
  • Once the wooden battens are installed, the final roof covering is applied (tiles, slates etc). If the roof battens have been applied correctly, this should make the final steps a lot easier. 

Explore our comprehensive blog on Roof Batten Installation for more insider tips and tricks. 

Frequently Asked Roof Batten Questions

What Are Roof Battens Treated With?

Roof battens are typically treated with preservatives to shield them from environmental threats such as moisture, fungal decay, and insect infestation. These treatments significantly enhance their durability and lifespan, particularly under harsh weather conditions. 

A commonly used preservative is Tanalith E (Copper Azole), a water-based wood preservative that includes copper and an organic co-biocide. This treatment is effective in protecting the battens from rot, decay, and wood-boring insects, ensuring they maintain their structural integrity over time.

How Long Do Roof Battens Last? 

The lifespan of roof battens can vary widely based on several factors including the material used, the quality of the treatment, environmental conditions, and the quality of installation. 

Generally, treated timber battens, which are most commonly used, can last anywhere from 15 to 25 years. However, if the battens are exceptionally well-maintained and the conditions are favourable, they could potentially last even longer (up to 60 years!).

What Are Common Timber Roofing Batten Sizes For Cladding?

Although timber battens are known predominantly as a roofing product, they can also be used for cladding. Cladding batten sizes are very similar to the roof batten range, with dimensions of 19mm x 38mm, 25mm x 38mm and 25mm x 50mm. These then come in lengths of 3.6m and 4.2m respectively.

The timber battens should be at least one and a half times the thickness of the cladding to ensure that they are thick enough to take the fixings where overlapping cladding panels are used. Again, this is a way to ensure the strength and durability of the finished project as well as ensure that the work done can keep out the elements.  

What Is The British Standard For Battens?

BS 5534:2014 is the British Standard for roof battens and all of the roof battens for sale on our website conform to this as a matter of course. We sell a variety of competitively priced solutions for roofing requirements, as well as a huge range of other good quality building materials to suit any project.

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