The term “top hat” is not found in the Oxford Dictionary. It is a term used in the construction/building industry that describes a wide array of steel profiles with a cross-section that resembles the shape of the top hat. From the flat “top hat” with a wide brim to a high “top hat” with a narrow brim, the hats were available to suit people with different head shapes and sizes. In the construction sector, the purpose of the top hats is similar. The range of sizes and metal thickness enables various uses in different applications.
Top hat battens are used for various purposes, both externally and internally. Top hats are used for roof purlins or wall grits to span between the portal and other structural framing elements, especially in applications where there is a higher wind loading or where heavy-duty sheeting will be installed. The load to be supported and the wind loading requirements will determine the size of the top hat needed.
There are specific top hat battens manufactured to suit the general requirements of the building industry. This includes a simple symmetrical shape with all the angles being 90 degrees. They are produced from cold roll-formed steel coils.
Top hats are available in a wide array of thicknesses and sizes. This variation offers the structural engineers a choice of profiles that suit their specific requirements, including the wind loads if it is an external environment.
In general, a project manager identifies the requirement of the type of top hat batten and specifies it accordingly. The contractor follows the specifications and installs the system. The installation is checked and signed off by the responsible engineer.
The top hat battens are structural elements used in roofing and walling applications. The most common top hat battens are steel battens. They have distinctive shapes, just like the top hat, which offers them the name. They are mainly used in roofing applications to provide a stable and secure base for metal roofing and cladding tiles. They are also used in walling applications to offer additional support and stability to the structure.
In recent years, the steel top hat battens have been the most preferred option for construction professionals because of the many benefits.
One of the most crucial advantages of the steel top hat battens is they can be used as an alternative to the traditional pine battens. The pine battens are highly susceptible to rotting, warping, and cracking. This means they need frequent maintenance and replacement. Steel battens are virtually maintenance-free and can last for decades without being replaced. This makes them a cost-effective and reliable choice compared to pine battens. The most common top hat section sizes are 40 mm and 22 mm. The 40 mm is mainly used in roofing applications where a larger span is needed. The 22mm top hats are primarily used in walling applications where the thinner profile is required.