Batten Spacing and Installation for Roof Tiles

Work in progress on a roof with clay tiles

Roof battens are nailed into the rafters (or trusses) and provide support and something to fix the roof tiles or slates to.

The updated BS 5534 code of practice for slating and tiling specifies a number of batten sizes based upon the span of the rafters and the product being used. For example, 25 x 50mm battens are required for single-lap Modern roof tiles laid on rafters with a 600mm maximum span.

Batten spacing 

The correct batten spacing is necessary because it corresponds to the gauge and head lap of the roof covering being installed. This is important because the correct gauge and head lap has a direct influence on a tile's ability to withstand the ingress of rainwater through capillary - ensuring that the roof remains watertight. It is also important aesthetically, so that the tiles on the finished roof are equally spaced.

Battens should be fixed to rafters set at centres not more than 600 mm apart unless calculated and should span across at least 3 rafters. To ensure this, the battens should be at least 1.2m long.

Not more than one in four course of battens should be joined over one truss for gauges over 200mm. Below a 200mm gauge, there can be 3 consecutive joints in any twelve courses.

Battens should be nailed to the centre of the rafter and any joints should be directly over a rafter with the batten square cut, tightly butted and skewed nailed.

When set in mortar, a cut batten end should be treated or the batten turned so that the treated end is in the mortar. With dry-fix systems, the batten cut end is deemed to be within the roof and does not require treating. 

Relevant standards:

  • BS 5534, The Code of Practice for Slating and Tiling
  • BS 8000-6, Workmanship on Building Sites, Code of Practice for slating and tiling of roofs and walls

Where can I get more information? 

If you have questions about any of our products, please download a brochure or contact us.

Don't forget you can always get in touch with our Technical team for any help on your next project. 

Category: Roofing Technical

Download our batten grading guide

Before installation of roofing battens it is incredibly important to ensure you are installing a compliant batten, download our handy guide opposite to help you identify a roofing compliant batten. 

Here when you need us...