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Roof Batten

A roof batten – sometimes called a timber batten, tile batten, wooden batten, counter batten, roofing lat or cladding batten – is a length of timber which is used in the construction of roofs and other structures. They are a very common building material and are relatively cheap to buy. They aren’t graded as they don’t serve any structural purpose and are not load-bearing. Here at Materials Market we are a leading supplier of roofing materials and sell a range of roof batten sizes, including 19mm x 38mm, 25mm x 38mm and 25mm x 50mm.


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What is Timber Roof Batten?

Timber roof batten is a piece of wood which is generally quite small and is used in the building and construction industry as a spacing material between two different surfaces. They are often found in roofing or cladding, or used with plasterboard panels as spacers between them and a damp external wall, to prevent the dampness from being in direct contact with the panel.

Timber battens are not load-bearing and therefore don't have a grade for that characteristic. They play an important role in the construction of a roof because they hold tiles or slates securely in place – even in high winds – so care should be taken to obtain the correct size and to get the spacing correct. Roof tile battens also have an effect on the weather proofing of the building and are therefore an important component in ensuring the durability and rigidity of the roofing structure.

Wooden Battens in Roofing

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 weather proofing 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 in order to deny entry to the space 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.

Frequently Asked Questions about Roof Batten

What are treated roof battens?

All timber battens on our site are made from pressure treated sawn timber. The treatment process serves to strengthen them and enhance resistance to fungal and insect attack as well as routine decay.

Untreated or sawn timber, by contrast, offers no protection at all to adverse environmental conditions. In order for the battens to work correctly and satisfy modern roofing requirements, it is important that they are made from treated timber.

How do I install roofing battens?

One of the biggest questions we get here at Materials Market is how to install timber roofing battens.  In order to install battens, it is first necessary to install a roofing underlay as this provides insulation and extra waterproofing. There are a variety of options for these and some popular solutions include bitumen and felt, though there are also more modern solutions.

It is important to check that you have selected the correct 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 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. 
It is recommended that when installing roof battens, to start at the lower edge of the roof and nail them into place or otherwise affix 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 to.

Once the battens are installed, it is then that the final roof covering is applied, whether this is tiles, slates etc. If the roof battens have been applied correctly, this should make the final steps a lot easier.

What are the timber 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 ensuring that the work done is able to keep out the elements.  

How much does timber batten cost?

Timber battens are a relatively low cost material and they are important to help with the structural integrity of many roofing jobs. They are an important component in the composition of roofs and help to ensure the correct and safe sealing and weather-proofing of the roof.

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 building materials to suit any project.