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What’s the difference between direct-to-deck and batten installation?

The choice between direct-to-deck or batten installations will depend on your individual project needs, the condition of the existing roof, and the recommendation of your contractor. Fortunately, DECRA Metal Roofing products are conveniently designed for either direct-to-deck or batten installations. 

“Direct-to-Deck” installations are just what the name implies -- the roofing material is installed directly onto the roof (aka roof deck). This is often the best choice for intricate roof designs and areas where architectural elements require key precision.

“Battens” is the common professional term for an Above Sheathing Ventilation (ASV) roofing system and is also referred to as “strapping”, or “strips”. Roofing materials are attached on top of a 2’x2’ wood batten grid, creating a 1-½” continuous airspace. Batten installations are ideal when energy efficiency is a high priority, especially when the roof must comply with rigorous environmental standards such as those set forth by California’s Title 24. Batten installations are also ideal for roofovers as they provide an uninterrupted level surface.

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Let’s take a deeper dive into each installation method. 

Direct-to Deck Installations

As mentioned above, direct-to-deck installations are ideal for intricate roof designs that would be complicated by the raised batten grid. 

Energy Efficiency

When asphalt shingles and wood shakes are installed direct-to-deck, they lie flat on the underlying plywood deck with no airspace, leading to trapped thermal energy from both the sun and the building below, increasing HVAC costs and reducing energy efficiency.

DECRA’s direct-to-deck roofing profiles all incorporate an integral ¾” airspace in the overlaps of the installation. This allows for energy-saving airflow that supports a consistent temperature throughout the entire roof. When compared to asphalt shingles, DECRA direct-to-deck products improved energy efficiency improved by 30.3%.


Improper nailing or stapling of asphalt shingles and wood shakes (or careless placement during installation) can lead to leaks and a shortened lifespan for the entire roof.

The additional strength of DECRA’s rigid multi-layered stone-coated steel panels reinforces the plywood deck to prevent buckling. The panels also feature a unique overlapping and interlocking system, fastened through pre-drilled holes by corrosion-resistant screws approved for use in saltwater and coastal applications.

Capture the look of tile, asphalt shingles, or wood shakes with the energy efficiency and durability of stone-coated steel. DECRA Villa Tile, DECRA Shingle XD, and DECRA Shake XD profiles offer more than 15 color choices for direct-to-deck installations.

Batten Installations

As we hit on earlier, batten installations are an excellent choice when energy savings are a priority and for projects where the new roof is installed on top of the existing roof.

Energy Efficiency

With 2’x2’ battens, the 1-½” airspace provides an effective escape route for hot air. The continuous airspace throughout the roof functions as an effective “heat elevator”, so much so that DECRA roofs increase energy efficiency by up to 48.7% when compared with asphalt shingles. 

As impressive as those numbers are, when advanced radiant barrier underlayments are used with batten installations, energy efficiency is taken to a whole new level. 

A 2019 R&D Engineering study showed that when advanced radiant barrier underlayments are used, DECRA Shake on 2’x2’ battens posted a 216.7% improvement in energy efficiency when compared to an asphalt shingle roof. Not to be outdone, DECRA Tile on 2’x2’ battens recorded a 218% improvement in energy efficiency. 

When energy efficiency is a priority, be sure to discuss the benefits of using advanced underlayments with your roofing contractor. 

Batten Installations Over Existing Roofs

Roof-overs can save money on time, labor, and disposal expenses when compared to a complete roof tear-off. Batten installations are usually preferred for roof-overs as the 2’x2’ batten grid ensures an uninterrupted level surface for the new roof.

Since local building codes put limits on roof weight loads, you’ll need to choose a lightweight roofing product. Heavy roofing materials like asphalt, cement, and tile will usually require a complete tear-off, eliminating any timely and cost-effective roof-over option.  

DECRA stone coated steel roofing profiles are extremely lightweight, averaging a total roof weight between 3,700 and 4,500 pounds, the lightest roofing material on the market. 

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Capture the look of tile or wood shakes with the energy efficiency and durability of stone coated steel. DECRA Tile and DECRA Shake profiles offer more than 15 color choices for batten installations. 

About DECRA Metal Roofing

For more than 60 years, DECRA roofing products have passed the test of time on more than 1 million roofs and are backed by the industry’s most comprehensive Lifetime Limited Warranty. DECRA roofing products are proudly made right here in the U.S. at our state-of-the-art facility in Corona, California. 

Contact a DECRA Metal Roofing advisor today to learn more about protecting your home for a lifetime.