ROOFERS AND CONTRACTORS are being encouraged to ask their suppliers whether their timber roofing batten is dipped or pressure-treated with preservatives.
SR Timber – which is a leading importer of timber products and the UK’s largest importer of roofing batten, including its flagship Premium Gold – is making the call after a preservative manufacturer reported an increase in cases of batten that has been dipped rather than pressure-treated.
The Nottinghamshire-based company says that to the naked eye, dipped and pressure-treated batten can look the same, especially if the batten is dyed a specific colour, such as blue. However, the preservative does not penetrate the batten in the same way when the batten is dipped rather than pressure-treated, and this can impact the long-term performance of the batten.
SR Timber’s Trading Director Shaun Revill said that the company that supplies the preservative treatment for Premium Gold had been tipped off about the rise in the number of cases of batten being dipped instead of pressure-treated.
“We’re suggesting that roofers and contractors ask their suppliers a simple question: has it been dipped or pressure-treated? – particularly if the price of the batten seems extremely competitive,” said Shaun.
“If they’re still unsure, they could go one stage further and ask their suppliers for treatment certificates, as these stipulate details on how and what the batten has been treated with.
“There is also a specific marking on the side of a length of batten. In our case, we use the Q symbol as a sign of certification for the Q Mark. This denotes that the batten has been independently assessed by third-party quality assurance experts and shows that the grading, preservative treatment, product marking and management processes have all been independently audited and verified by a good third-party body, in our case a UKAS-accredited expert.
“With merchants, it’s still worth asking the question because the more the question gets asked, the more that merchants will look into the issue on behalf of their customers.”
SR Timber is concerned that roofers and contractors are being hoodwinked into buying batten that isn’t fit for purpose.
Shaun explained that, as the name suggests, batten dipping is a very quick process that takes just a few minutes, whereas quality batten has the preservative applied in a much longer procedure using low-pressure vacuum or double-vacuum processes. Alternatively, the preservative can be applied using high-pressure vacuum processes.
“Dipping will not achieve the required long-term protection of roofing timber against decay and insect attack. However, controlled pressure treatments will ensure the correct level of penetration and retention of the wood preservative into the timber, which will provide real confidence in the roofing batten as a key component in any roof design.”
He added: “We’re concerned that if you put dipped and pressure-treated batten side by side, roofers and merchants would struggle to tell the difference – which is why we are urging them to ask the question.”