Metal Roof Battens: What are the Benefits?


A roofing system is much more than meets the eye. The layers of material under the metal panels help support the overall roofing structure. The different bases provide a sturdy structure for the exterior of the roof to rest on. While you can install a metal roofing system straight to the decking, many choose to install metal roofs on battens. Understanding what battens are and why they can be beneficial to a roofing system is crucial for ensuring a roof is functioning at the highest quality possible. Before we begin discussing how battens can be beneficial, let’s have a refresher on the two different types of metal roofing. 

Types of Metal Roofs 

As a contractor, you likely know about standing seam and exposed fastener metal roofing systems. However, it can be difficult to remember the distinction between the two. While both have metal panels, they have differences in installations, duration, and quality.

Exposed Fastener

These metal roofing systems are exactly what they sound like! The hardware used to secure the roof remains exposed on top of the panels and can be seen from the ground. Screws will be used on the top of the panels to secure them to the structure below. Exposed fastener metal roofs are a cheaper alternative to standing seam metal roofing due to their simpler installation. This option is budget-friendly making it a preferred choice by many clients. As a result, there are numerous other contractors that have experience installing these types of metal roofs.

Standing Seam 

Meanwhile, standing seam metal roofing hides the fasteners and makes them invisible. Installing the fasteners under the metal panels, it creates a sleek and appealing appearance. These panels will not have to be screwed into the structure because fastening clips make sure that the panels are locked into place. While the installation is more complex than exposed fastener systems, it may be the preferred option due to its durability and leak-resistant qualities. Many contractors are not fully educated on how to install standing seam metal roofs. This means that there is less competition. While it may be more initial work on the contractor, standing seam roofs will ensure that your clients have a long-lasting and reliable roofing option.  

What are Battens? 

Battens are also known as lath for roofing and serve as a fix point for materials. They provide space for ventilation while still supplying a fixing point for the panels. The battens are installed along a roofline horizontally. They are spaced out to allow ventilation throughout the roof. This roofing system is designed to ensure that if water gets under the panels, it has a way to escape through the gap between battens. This helps eliminate risk of leaks and moisture problems. If you are installing battens along with metal roofing panels, the batten material will always be metal. To determine how far apart battens should be placed on a roof, you will need to examine the decking board, material, and specific measurements. Contractors have been using the batten method since the 1950’s and have seen reliable results for its durability and longevity. 


While battens are not required for some roofing systems, choosing a batten system can bring many benefits. Compared to the alternative, direct-to-deck installations, battens use far fewer fasters to keep the panels in place. While direct-to-deck roofs can have up to two hundred fasteners, batten roofs can have fifty at most. Batten installations are known to withstand stronger winds than direct-to-deck installations. Throughout the years, battens have proven to be a better solution for strong winds and harsh climates. When paired with a metal roof, metal battens can provide an underlying support structure that is rot-free, rust-proof, and fire-resistant.  

Energy Efficient

Energy efficiency is the main reason why people choose batten installation. Adding insulation between the battens is an option for many who wish to increase energy efficiency. Reducing the heat gain in the attic, it also decreases the amount of work the HVAC system needs to do in order for the house to be cool. Battens will not only help a building stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer, but it could also help people save money. By adding insulation to the roof, Energy Star estimates that property owners can save up to 15% on heating and cooling costs. 

New Roof Over the Old 

Battens also allow a new roof to be added on top of an existing roof. This can save time and money on the demolition and generates less debris. If a roof is old and worn in but has no structural damage, this would be a great option. Adding a new metal roof with battens, it will strengthen the overall structure of the roof without undergoing a lengthy and intense construction project. 


Metal battens have a quick and easy installation process. These beams will be installed horizontally across the roofline with gaping space between each one. Determining the amount of space between each batten is unique to the roof and specific materials used. A good rule of thumb is to estimate roughly four feet between each batten. Staples or nails are used to secure the battens into the roof deck. While most metal roofs can be applied over battens, it is important to double-check the roof’s design to ensure it is compatible with battens. 

Pairing battens with a standing seam metal roof can provide reliability and durability while being aesthetically pleasing to the owner. These two elements complement each other to create an excellent option for anyone looking for a new roof. As a contradictor, knowing how to install both a metal roof and battens can set you apart from the competition. 

Whether you are building a new home, installing a new metal roof over a pre-existing roof, or completely removing the old roof, it is important to ensure you have all the necessary materials to get the job done. Check out our Builder Materials Checklist for Contractors guide to help you stay ahead before the project even begins.

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