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Building Owners Beware: 3 Vital Functions of Roofing Insulation

3 Vital Functions of Roofing Insulation

Commercial and residential buildings need adequate roofing insulation to protect the building and the roof from energy loss and damage. Moreover, roof venting must be part of the roofing as well. Homes and commercial buildings without adequate insulation and venting use more energy. Unfortunately, this leads to expensive damage and high energy bills. However, a good roofing company or contractor can solve this problem.

If this piques your interest, we invite you to continue reading to learn what you need to know about roofing insulation and venting.

What You Need to Know About Roofing Insulation & Venting

What You Need to Know About Roofing Insulation & Venting

Issues Caused by Inadequate Insulation

Residential and commercial buildings need adequate roofing insulation. When a building does not have any or enough roofing insulation, problems occur that are expensive to repair. That’s when it is important to call a roofer to get the necessary repairs. For instance, commercial buildings with inadequate insulation can suffer from the following issues:

  1. High energy bills
  2. Poor indoor air quality
  3. Drafty areas and air leaks. Look in exterior corners and other areas where there are cracks, voids, and gaps in insulation.
  4. Water damage because of ponding water, roofing membrane damage, clogged drains, wet insulation, and other roofing issues
  5. Damp insulation due to leaks or condensation can lead to mold growth. A lack of adequate insulation can cause dangerous condensation and accumulation of moisture.
  6. Rodents can cause damage to insulation and cause health risks with their droppings and nesting. Rodents can reduce the R-value of existing insulation.

The Vital Functions

The amount of roofing insulation affects the building’s performance and the cost of operations. Roofing insulation helps buildings to last longer and requires fewer major repairs. However, many building owners and managers ignore the building roof and insulation until it’s too late. It is important to note that the functions of roofing include providing:

  1. A Thermal Barrier: Roofing insulation makes a thermal barrier in three ways: conduction, convection, and radiation. The unit R-value of insulation must remain at recommended levels for the insulation material. Also, check for roof vents to control convection with air movement and condensation.The use of a vapor barrier also helps when it is the correct one for the location and conditions.
  2. Drainage: Tapered insulation helps with directing water away from the walls of a building towards the drains and gutters. Moreover, the roof and insulation must have a minimum drop of 1/4th inch per foot.
  3. A Working Platform: Commercial roofing systems must be strong enough to serve as a working platform for the workers maintaining the building. You will find the following protection strategies commonly in use:
    • Cover boards over roofing insulation.
    • Choosing an insulation that is strong enough so that workers walk on it safely.
    • Installing walkways over the insulation.

It is also important to monitor the traffic on the roof or the insulation and limit it to authorized workers only.

The Type You Install Matters

There are 7 common types of insulation from which you may select. Chose them to meet the building’s thermal needs, the local building codes, and the building insurer’s specifications. Remember, the insulation is a vital part of the roof assembly. So, you want it to perform positively with the roof membrane and the structural deck. The best roofing companies will help the building owner choose the correct combination of roofing materials and insulation.

Rigid Insulation for Commercial Building Systems.

  1. Wood fiber organic insulation board contains wood, vegetable, and cane fibers in combination with binders and fillers. It also comes with a coat of asphalt for moisture resistance.
  2. Perlite insulation board contains inorganic and expansive silicaceous volcanic glass or perlite. It also contains organic fibers and binders with an asphalt coat.
  3. Polystyrene insulation comes in expanded or extruded forms.
    • The expanded form contains polystyrene polymer that includes foaming agents for expansion into a uniform mold shape.
    • Extruded polystyrene contains a blend of polystyrene polymer that heats and runs through the extrusion process where it expands into a closed-cell structure of several densities from 1.3 to 2.2 pcf.
  4. Cellular glass insulation contains a combination of crushed glass and a foaming agent that pours in a mold, and heats to expand into a uniform insulating material.
  5. Gypsum board is a treated gypsum core panel that is not structural, combustible, or water penetrable. This board is often in use in the following instances:
    • Over foam-plastic insulation.
    • As a thermal barrier over steel roofing deck.
    • As a substrate vaper barrier.

Choose the Right Commercial Roofer

The quality and longevity of any roofing or insulation project depends on proper installation and use of the right materials for the building requirements. Also, take care with the installation and do it according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Additionally, there must be no gaps to let in air or cold. Moreover, their must be a proper roof installation so there will be no moisture leaks to damage the insulation. Finally, the roof area on the inside of the building must have proper venting to avoid condensation and buildup of moisture or hot air.

Once the roof and insulation system are in place and up to the local building codes, it is important to perform regular inspections to catch any damage or other problems while they are small and have the situations rectified. Also, rodents can damage the best of systems and elimination must take place immediately. Moreover, if there is storm damage to a roof, repairs and removal of the underlying wet insulation must happen as soon as possible. Please, don’t rely on the insulation drying out on its own.

Your Roofing Insulation is Important

A roofing and insulation system with proper ventilation and maintenance can last for decades which saves money on heating and cooling while keeping the building comfortable for those working in it. Moreover, a good roof and insulation system are the first line of defense from the weather for commercial buildings and contribute to the building lasting longer and without costly mistakes

Images Courtesy of Canva.

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