Commercial Roofing Insulation 101

Commercial Roofing Insulation 101

As you may have already assumed, commercial roofing insulation refers to a particular material type that is installed beneath the roof membrane. Doing so creates a nice extra thermal layer that assists in moderating the temperatures of your building. Since the insulation layer is a crucial element of regulation, this means that it helps maintain pleasant levels of heating and cooling — and of course, the costs that go along with them. 

In a nutshell, that’s the primary purpose of roofing insulation: understanding and limiting the thermal transfers of your building. So when considering the right roofing insulation type for you, it’s important to understand the basics of what you’re looking at. Just as important is knowing what climate and weather your area experiences; this will have a lot to do with what material you choose to go with. Really, if you regularly experience high energy bills – either from too much heat, too much AC, or both over the course of the year – it might be time to start considering a roofing insulation.

Primary Insulation Types

When it comes to the choices of insulation types, there’s a decent sized list to choose from. Of course, each of these materials is unique, offering a different array of qualities. Some of them are more useful in certain regions, some are more affordable, and so on. Regardless of what you need, a talented contractor should be able to offer you the best options. A small glance at roofing insulation types is…

  • Polyisocyanurate (Polyiso)
  • Extruded Polystyrene (XPS)
  • Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)
  • Mineral Wool
  • Spray Foam
  • Fiberglass

Insulation Performance Qualities

When looking at performance qualities, it’s important to take a few things into consideration. A lot can depend on your current roofing system or (as mentioned before) your weather and climate proclivities. Knowing that all of these materials differ in multiple ways (such as one being a liquid foam and another being pretty much concrete) there’s definitely more that you need to take into account, like…

  • Thermal Resistance (R-Value

The term in construction used for the overall insulative qualities of one or more materials is called the R-Value. The R-value looks at the thermal qualities of your roofing materials, most of which is contributed by the insulation. When doing a comparison of materials while shopping, it’s important to know that a higher R-value means a better insulator.

This value, of course, is subject to the wear and tear of time and the elements. Alongside that, insulative materials follow the Law of Diminishing returns. In Layman’s, this implies that too little will do nothing and too much can cause more damage over time to the other roofing materials.

  • Durability and Resistance

Durability is such an important factor when it comes to roofing. Too often, the elements can take us by surprise and wreck shop. So when it comes to defending against the elements, the roof and membrane will take the lead. Following that, your insulation is the next line of defense. Without strong materials, your building is in some danger over time. 

Another quality to pay attention to is impact resistance. Constantly improving due to necessity, impact resistance is just as the name implies. It’s the protective qualities against things like hail storms, debris, large branches from trees, and so on.

  • Fire Resistance

Now, no one wants to experience how this quality might come in use, but it is important to always know that a fire is a possibility. This means that looking at the fire resistant properties of an insulation material is extremely important. Some things to consider are whether or not there’s been extensive fire testing and whether or not there’s an official fire safety rating (look for a UL Class A or an FM Class 1 rating).

Of course, this is just a basic rundown of commercial roofing insulation. Have any more questions? Contact us today.

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