Home Improvement: Roof Insulation

What exactly is Roof Insulation?

Insulation helps to maintain the correct temperature inside the structure. It acts like a barrier against gain and loss.

There are many kinds of insulation:

Cavity Wall Insulation is usually installed over a concrete slab. This is a good choice for homes that have a single level of the roof. Cavity wall insulation is good at reducing heat loss through the slab, which improves comfort and keeps energy bills down. The most effective parts of a cavity wall are the rafters. Some other forms of heat barriers are: Heat tape, heat cables, foam board, rigid foam boards, wool insulation, spray foam, and wood framing.

Foam Board Roof insulation is a relatively new form of roof insulation that uses expanded polystyrene pellets. It is similar to cavity wall insulation, but is applied to a different roofing material. A foam board roof provides excellent thermal and sound insulation, because of its excellent airtight seal. However, some of these roofs do not perform well in high wind speeds. They may also rot due to lack of air flow.

Heat Cable Roof insulation works best in the warmer months. It is made of expanded polystyrene foam that is wrapped around metal coil insulation. Because of its superior flexibility, heat cables are able to conform to roof profiles for added strength. This roof insulation decreases heat transfer from the summer heat to the wintertime chill, which reduces energy costs for homeowners.

Heat Sealing Roof insulation is very similar to attic insulation, except it is not placed in the attic. Heat sealing roof insulation is often placed over a ridge or other low slope area to provide an effective heat shield against heat exchange. This roof insulation is best for single story homes, as it can reduce attic temperatures by up to 40 degrees during the summer and up to 20 degrees during the winter. Heat sealing roof insulation does not provide a heat reflective shield like attic insulation. However, it can reduce radiant heat transfer from the summertime heat to wintertime cold.

The R-value (R) of the roof insulation is the measure of effectiveness of the insulation. The higher the R-value, the more effective the insulator is at insulating heat. Insulators with a high R-value are most effective at insulating hot air and water. Low R-values are best for insulating cold air. If you are wondering what the R-value is, it is the square footage to the one-inch.

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