How to Install Roof Battens

Introduction to Wood Battens

In this video, I’m going to show you how to install tiles with a batten system. Battens can be made out of different things, the simplest of which is a one by two piece of wood that’s installed on the roof. The idea behind battens is essentially installed perpendicular to the slope of the roof, and the tiles actually hook onto this. It’s really meant for tiles that are installed on roofs past 6/12, so 6/12 and steeper by code need battens, and that’s to make sure that they don’t slide off. The reason that I don’t personally like battens is because you’re stopping the direction of water by installing these battens. Now there are different battens on the market that do a better job. There are raised battens and synthetic battens. The issue with installing wood is that it rots and it completely blocks the flow of water. If you’re gonna use battens, I recommend using a raised batten system. Boral, and I think Polystick and a few other companies make them, where they raise off of the deck of the roof to allow water to drain underneath.

Regardless of what you use, the installation method is the same. You’re gonna be chalking lines, nailing battens and installing the tiles. Not much to it, it’s really the pattern that matters. So just keep that in mind when you watch this video.

Calculate Where to Place the Battens

0:01:13.4: Now to start installing battens, the first thing you’re gonna have to do, just like any other tile job, is chalk out your roof. Mark the lines where you wanna have your battens installed. Now the calculations on this is a little bit different. For batten installations, you’re marking at the top of the batten. The way I like to do it, especially on our first row, is first of all, set the tile at the tile riser, the eave riser right here. So this groove is gonna sit in the eave riser. So we’ve got that in the correct location. Now back here every concrete tile has a little bit of lip. So I just place that on that lip right there. So I’ve got my eave in the correct location and I’ve also got my batten in the correct location. Now, all I do is just make a mark on this side. This is gonna be the top of my batten. Now I’m gonna go on the other side of the roof and do the same thing. You can do all this using math too, but in my opinion, this is the easier and bulletproof way of doing it.

So that’s our first line. We’re pretty much gonna be going up the roof in the same pattern. Now we’re not gonna be using the same measurement, we’re gonna be using something else. So again, we’re gonna place this down. Before we continue, I’m gonna place a sample tile down. Now, again, if you watch our other videos, we explain how you wanna measure out from the top of your roof, all the way to the bottom, to figure out your desired exposure. Every tile has a different exposure that it’s allowed for. This tile is about 13-14 inches, so you wanna divide up, make sure that that you have nice even pieces and if not, you can offset the first one. Now, we’re gonna use a 13 1/2 inch exposure for this tile right here. So we’ve got 13 1/2 marked down. Now again, the same way what I’m gonna do is lift up this tile, put the batten where it’s supposed to be, and make a mark. Now I’m not gonna do this on both sides because I’ve already got my measurement in place, all I’m gonna do is measure from this chalk line to this mark right here, and I’ve got the 13 1/2 inch mark. I’m gonna do the same thing on this side.

If you have a pipe or a penetration or a vent, something like that, what you wanna do is mark it on both sides. Then we’ll discuss how we’re gonna cut this piece short and how we’re gonna continue on this side.

How to Nail Battens on a Roof

Now that we’ve got our lines chalked out, we’re ready to start installing our battens. Now you can use a few different types of nails, whatever you do, make sure that you use corrosion resistant nails. So whether it’s electro galvanized or regular galvanized, it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s resistant to corrosion.

Batten strips come in different shapes, these ones are crooked and generally these battens are crooked. So what we wanna do is align the first edge of it, nail that down. Having two people on the job is a lot easier, ’cause what I’m gonna do is I’m just gonna align. And now you can see here, up here, we’re not aligned, we can’t see our red line. So what I’m gonna do is pull the batten to align it, and now we’re ready to install. Again, I wanna shift it, making sure it’s aligned. There you have it. Now, any time we come up to a pipe, what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna install smaller battens and we’re gonna end pretty much short of the flashing. So over here, we’re just gonna need a 12 inch piece. And on this side, we’re gonna continue off with a full length. You can see Marco did not nail on the flashing, which is the correct thing to do. You don’t wanna nail on the flashing, you wanna nail on the ends.

How to Nail Roof Tiles on Battens

Now that we have our battens in place, again, you’re gonna do all the batten installation prior to loading the tiles on the roof. It’s gonna be a lot easier for you to work without having piles of tiles laid all around. All that’s left to do is really just hook the tiles on, they’re sitting on the battens, so it’s as simple as that. You can put your nails in and you call it a day.

So for this demonstration, I’m not gonna be putting any nails in, but really that’s all it is. And for our second layer, again, same thing, we’re just gonna be hooking the tile on, we’re still gonna nail it. Of course, as always, we wanna make sure that we’re at the center here. So I’m gonna measure out our center and it’s as simple as that.